Advertisement

60 Things Basically Every Single Person In America Believes Are Completely Normal But Are Actually Very, Very, Very Strange

60 Things Basically Every Single Person In America Believes Are Completely Normal But Are Actually Very, Very, Very Strange

Here in the good ol' US of A, a lot of Americans think the way THEY do things is the way the rest of the world does things. Obviously, that ain't the case. Over the past few years, people on the popular site Reddit have shared the things they really can't quite understand about Americans, and of course, it's fascinating and often hilarious.

People waving US flags

Here are the absolute best responses:

1."You have a whole aisle in your supermarkets dedicated to just cereal."

Aisle with various food products at a grocery store, including cereal on one side

2."Red Solo cups are not just a Hollywood prop."

Sports fan with face paint and jersey and holding a red cup

3."The TV ads for prescription medication always get me."

Person holding a capsule between fingers close to camera, partially obscuring face
Solidcolours / Getty Images

4."Everything is sweet. The beer was sweet, the bread, the traditional home-cooked meals, and the cheese."

Assorted processed foods including soda, chips, bread, cereal, cookies, and hot dogs displayed on a white background
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

5."Asking 'How are you doing?' without wanting to know how anyone is doing."

Older woman greets visitor at her doorway with a handshake and a smile
Ebstock / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6."Yellow school buses are actually a thing in America. I honestly thought it was just a cartoon thing, but nope!"

Schoolchildren waving from bus windows while adults greet them from the sidewalk
Getty Images

7."Your news. It’s over-sensationalized. I couldn’t believe it when I visited. Every news program seems much less like news and more like reality TV."

A person watching a breaking news broadcast on their smartphone
Getty Images

8."There was a 24-hour pharmacy across the street from our apartment. Nothing shocking there, except that it ALSO sold booze and cigarettes. What the actual fuck, like..."

The entrance to a CVS pharmacy
Sundry Photography / Getty Images

9."The honking...I thought it was a movie stereotype, and then I went to New York."

Man driving a car and gesturing angrily

10."The huge number of flags everywhere."

Quaint street with tree-lined sidewalk and brick townhouses displaying American flags
Grace Cary / Getty Images

11."Aerosol cheese products."

An opened tube of orange spray cheese with a large amount coming out, shaped intricately, against a white background
Getty / Mindspace

12."You guys have air conditioning in your house??? I was astonished."

Woman using a remote to operate an air conditioning unit indoors
M-production / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13."Severely bike-unfriendly roads/urban layouts. Everything is mostly designed for car traffic."

Heavy traffic on a multilane highway with various vehicles

14."That you have extremely violent shows on daytime TV, but you censor nudity. How will a boob harm you, but stabbing and blood splashing are normal?"

Two kids watching an animated bomb scene on the TV

15."The toilet water being so high. Wiping was terrifying!"

Open toilet bowl in a bathroom

16."People actually like and buy pickup trucks as their daily vehicle, even if their job doesn’t require them to haul anything at all."

People sit in a pool in a pickup truck
William West / Staff

17."The Pledge of Allegiance."

Group of children standing with hands over hearts looking upward in a library setting

18."Baby showers. Here in Sweden, it is generally considered bad luck to give baby gifts before the baby is actually born. When the baby is born and the parents have gotten a few weeks alone with their newborn, they usually start inviting people to meet them, but one or a few at a time, and then you bring a gift."

Group of people at a gender reveal party as a couple prepares to announce their baby's gender with a cake
Azmanjaka / Getty Images

19."You can buy milk in gallon-sized containers."

Person shopping, choosing products off grocery store shelf with basket in hand

20."Dessert for breakfast — things like pancakes, syrup, fruit, sweet waffles, etc."

Stack of pancakes with blueberries and a pat of butter, honey on side, on a wooden surface
Arx0nt / Getty Images

21."Attack ads against political opponents, and ads for law firms or lawyers. These kinds of ads are illegal and considered unethical in our country."

Front page of Daily News with headline about Rudy Giuliani's comments on Obama and a teaser for Pacquiao-Mayweather fight
New York Daily News / Contributor

22."In the supermarket, you have like 100,000 different versions of each food. I had never seen so many different types of Oreos in my life."

Aisle in a store with shelves stocked with various Oreo cookie packages

23."Talking really loudly in public places. Default volume of most Americans seems to be about 10 decibels higher than that of every other country's inhabitants."

Guy talking loud
Westend61 / Getty Images

24."Black Friday. You spend Thanksgiving saying how grateful you are for what you have and then have a massive free-for-all over stuff you want."

A person excitedly holds up a shopping cart above the crowd during a public event
Kena Betancur / Getty Images

25."Paying for an ambulance."

Ambulance in motion on the street with blurred background indicating speed

"Seriously, like, WTF?"

u/TakeNoExcuses

Getty / wsfurlan

26."Wearing outdoor shoes inside the house."

Shoes on the couch

27."That you guys don't include taxes in your prices! I went to a convenience store to get a drink and was very confused when the price labeled was different at checkout."

Someone looking at a receipt
Industryview / Getty Images

28."That you can get fired just like that and have no income."

Woman holding a box of office supplies with a plant, indicating she might be leaving her job or relocating desks

29."Identifying as your heritage instead of your nationality. If your great-great-great-grandparents moved from Norway to the USA, started a family, and generations later you were born, you are NOT Norwegian. Your ancestors were and you have a bit of Nordic blood in you, but you are still 100% American. Not Norwegian. Not 25% Irish, 10% Swedish, 3% Finnish, 17% Norwegian, 5% Danish — just plain American."

Person wearing a Viking hat and shamrock glasses celebrating St. Patrick's Day with festive attire
Charles Mcquillan / Getty Images

30."Sending Christmas cards with a professional photo of your family on the front."

The 2016 Christmas card from the Obama White House
Picture Alliance / Contributor

31."Tipping. I had zero clue about tipping/how to tip, and I got a lot of dirty looks during my first solo trip there. I felt like shit after finding out."

A tip of several dollar bills and coins left on a table

32."When traveling to another part of the world, an American will ALWAYS say the city and/or state they’re from, not the country. We’ll be at a hostel and someone will ask where everyone’s from: 'Denmark, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Canada...Sacramento, California.'”

Two piece in suits shaking hands
Nitat Termmee / Getty Images

33."That our police cars are black and white. I dated a British guy, and he was in awe seeing the real-life black-and-whites. He thought they were only in movies."

Police car in motion with flashing lights, likely responding to an emergency
Mattgush / Getty Images/iStockphoto

34."American kids eat straight sugar."

Child smiling while holding three soda bottles, standing against a yellow backdrop

35."That the waiter takes your credit card when you pay in an American restaurant. Here in Europe, you always keep the card with you when you pay."

One person hands a credit card to another person's outstretched hand
Getty / Westend61

36."Seeing guns just hanging there like casual groceries in Walmart."

Gun display case in a sporting goods section of a store with various rifles and shotguns
Getty Images

37."On Halloween, masked people come to your house and knock on your door asking for candy. Mostly it's just packs of kids, but sometimes whole families."

Kids on halloween

38."The idolization of politicians."

Illustration of Abraham Lincoln being embraced by George Washington with an angelic figure overhead

39."Root beer. I was not prepared to sip on carbonated mouthwash. Why on earth is it called beer?"

Mug of beer with frothy head on table, background with dark bottle and glass
Bhofack2 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

40."Drive-thru banks and even pharmacies. This is astonishing to me, as we simply do not have enough space for that sort of thing in the UK."

Centennial Bank building facade with drive-thru and a car present
Education Images / Contributor

41."The fact that you can drive for five hours in the United States and still be in the same place, more or less. If you drive for five hours in Europe, suddenly everyone’s talking funny and the cheese is different."

Traffic on a highway with multiple lanes and various cars heading in the same direction
David McNew / Staff

42."There are security guards in the school halls, and some schools even have metal detectors at the entrance like the Transportation Security Administration at airports."

Security personnel walking through metal detectors at a school entrance with welcome sign overhead
Getty

43."You have those angry sinks* that chop shit."

A sink garbage disposal

44."The concept of getting into university because you're good at a sport. I was chatting with an American guy online, and he told me he went to college on a 'lacrosse scholarship.' This was mind-boggling to me."

Lacrosse team celebrates with American flag on the field; one player is lifted by teammates
The Washington Post / Contributor

45."Higher education can cost upward of $50,000 per year."

US bills of varying denominations scattered on a surface
Zimmytws / Getty Images

46."The lack of annual paid time off from work. My uncle recently moved to the UK from the US and nearly passed out when he realized I get around 35 days of holiday every year."

Two people relaxing in beach chairs by the sea, under palm trees
Getty / Viktor_Gladkov

47."Just how empty parts of the nation are. Sure, we have dense cities, but we also have massive swaths of country with zero development, no roads, no structures, nothing."

Bare agricultural field with skyline of leafless trees and clouds
Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

48."Huge gaps in the sides and bottoms of toilet stalls that people can see through."

The gaps in a toilet stall door
Sarah Palmer / Getty Images

49."The drinking age being 21."

People toasting with beer cans

50."The school sequence of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. I have to translate this in my head every time I hear it."

Graduates in caps and gowns smiling during a ceremony, American flag in the background
Getty

51."The obsession with high school. I have friends who say their best years were spent in high school, and I think that's really, really sad."

A smiling cheerleader

52."The coupons. I was visiting a friend of mine who is from the States, and she bought a book of coupons. The discounts you could get were ridiculously fantastic!"

A woman taking coupons out of a fanny pack in a store
Cat Gwynn / Getty Images

53."Iced tap water that arrives at your table immediately when you sit down at a restaurant. It's such an amazing thing!"

Person pouring water from a bottle into a clear glass on a table
Getty Images

54."The fear of clowns. This is pretty much anecdotal, but the fear of clowns seems to be a VERY American thing, yet with other countries, the reaction goes from 'Meh' to 'I guess they're scary?'"

A scary clown gesturing "Shhh"
Artmarie / Getty Images

55."What the hell is a pep rally?"

Young athletes and spectators at a pep rally
Fuse / Getty Images

56."Everything is loud. All the time. The TV ads, the billboards, the radio, the air conditioning. Everyone is trying to get heard in a country where being number one is the only acceptable goal. It's a loudness war to get to your brain, and it's exhausting."

Bearded man with several pairs of hands, including his own, pressed on either side of his face
Alma Haser / Getty Images

57."I'm from the UK, and I'd never seen refillable drinks before. I couldn't believe you could just have as much soda as you wanted and no one was going to think you were stealing."

A Pepsi fountain drink machine with multiple soda options available

58."How much laws vary from state to state. It was really fun explaining to a British kid in high school that Massachusetts and New Hampshire have opposite laws on a lot of things despite the fact that their capitals are only 70 miles apart."

Person signs documents near a gavel, symbolizing legal activity or judiciary concept
Boonchai Wedmakawand / Getty Images

59."The importance of high school sports. My high school built an entire complex for our soccer and football teams. But our choir department didn't have enough funding to have a single concert."

Teen basketball players in action during a game on an indoor court
Fatcamera / Getty Images

60."Chanting 'USA!' for no apparent reason."

People, some waving the US flag, cheering
William87 / Getty Images

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.