America isn’t short of unique things it does and leaves other countries scratching their heads. In this article, we’ll explore 17 American things that non-Americans are truly fascinated by.
It’s standard practice to leave a tip of 15–20% in America. For example, Business Insider writes, “When someone working in the service industry assists you – such as a hairdresser, waitress, or concierge – in North America, it’s customary to leave them a tip. And not just any amount – a whopping 20%.”
Gapped Bathroom Stalls
Many American public restrooms have gaps between the stalls. This design choice is supposed to prevent misconduct in restrooms. It also means that if someone collapses while in the toilet, they can easily be helped. It’s something that’s not commonly seen in other countries, where they don’t have gaps.
Bright Yellow School Buses
One of the biggest symbols of American culture is the school bus, and according to How Stuff Works, “Every single school bus in the United States is painted the exact same color – a hue officially known as “National School Bus Glossy Yellow” – but it wasn’t always that way.” It’s a huge comparison with other countries, which is why it’s loved so much.
Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising
Americans are allowed to advertise drugs in the U.S., and sometimes this can have an impact on patient-doctor interactions. This isn’t something that other countries do across the globe, even when their healthcare is privatized. The U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries that allow pharmaceutical advertising, which is why it can seem unethical.
Expansive Highway Systems
The American highway system is huge. This makes all parts of the country incredibly accessible to everyone. Infrastructures aren’t known to be as organized in other countries. This means the rest of the world loves how Americans take part in road trips, where they may travel for hours or even days to reach a destination.
In-Sink Garbage Disposals
It’s common for sinks to have garbage disposals in America. This is supported by Spruce, which says, “The garbage disposal has remained fairly consistent in its design but has increased in use to the point of becoming a required appliance in just about every kitchen.” There have been concerns over it’s environmental impact, which has sparked debates in other countries.
It’s unusual to come across grape flavors outside of America. In the U.S., the flavor is used in most candies, with the most popular one being grape-flavored Skittles! It goes to show just how much candy flavors can differ from country to country, as grape isn’t a popular flavor anywhere else.
Non-Inclusive Sales Tax in Prices
The U.S. doesn’t include tax in its retail prices; it’s only added once you get to the checkout. For example, Savvy Olu writes, “Non-Americans are often pleasantly surprised to find that prices in America are quite reasonable before taxes. This transparency makes shopping a more enjoyable experience for visitors.”
‘Grab-and-Go’ Coffee Culture
America is known for its fast service, and this is particularly true when it comes to coffee. You can go into a coffee shop and have a large cup ready for you in no time. It’s great for people who commute; however, it does greatly contrast with Italy’s method of sitting down with an espresso.
Convenient Point-of-Sale Systems in Retail
Point-of-sale systems are conveniently placed in U.S. stores to ensure a customer has a smoother experience when visiting a shop. This system makes it a breeze for customers to purchase their items and greatly compares with not-so-smooth methods in other countries.
High Healthcare Costs
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation writes, “The United States has one of the highest costs of healthcare in the world.” It’s known for its staggering healthcare costs and insurance premiums. There have been plenty of discussions on the affordability of American healthcare, with many international perspectives on the subject.
Diverse Housing and Renting Dynamics
Depending on which state you live in, housing costs are going to vary greatly. For example, an apartment in Texas wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much as an apartment in New York City. There is an appeal to affordable housing prices for visitors, especially as they compare it with their own housing market.
Many states have limited access to public transportation. For example, Climate Nexus writes, “Around 80 percent of drivers feel they have “no choice” but to use cars because of how their community’s transportation infrastructure is designed.” This is unlike other countries, especially those in Europe, where you can just hop onto a train and head where you please.
Generous Portion Sizes
Meal sizes are known for being extremely large in American restaurants. This differs with portion sizes in other countries, where they’re seen to be more reasonable for one person. However, the larger portions can mean it’s a great way to share food and save on restaurant prices.
Openness and Friendliness of American People
American people are known for having warm personalities. They have a willingness to engage in conversation and aren’t afraid to say hello to strangers. This is a cultural norm for Americans who love to interact, differing greatly from other countries that aren’t as well-known for their friendliness.
Eating While Walking
It’s common for Americans to eat while walking, especially in large cities such as New York. It’s a reflection on the fast pace of the American lifestyle, where everything is always on the go. This is different from other countries, where it can be considered rude to eat while walking. For example, in Italy, sit-down dining etiquette is preferred.
Pumpkin spice originated in America, and since then, it’s become loved across the world. This is supported by Phoenix Road Creative, which writes, “The history dates back to early American settlers who blended spices to enhance the flavor of pumpkin-based dishes.” It’s been recognized internationally thanks to the likes of Starbucks flavoring their coffees.
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