Not Everyone’s American Dream: 18 USA Habits that Leave Foreigners Bewildered

Guess what? Americans have quirks that make the rest of the world tilt their heads and go, “Huh?” We’re about to unpack 18 of the good, the baffling, and the utterly perplexing habits that leave foreigners scratching their heads!

Tipping Culture

how they tip
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Tipping can feel like a national sport in the U.S. Workers in service industries often rely on tips to boost their income, and foreigners can find this practice puzzling. Why not just pay workers a living wage, right? It’s a mystery wrapped in dollar bills.

Ice Ice Baby

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Americans’ love for ice-cold drinks, even in the dead of winter, baffles many from other countries. Why are beverages served in a mini Arctic ocean of ice? It’s one of those cold, hard facts of American life that remains elusive to outsiders.

Drive-Thrus for Everything

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Banking, pharmacies, fast food – you name it, there’s a drive-thru for it. Convenience is king in the U.S., and sitting in your car while doing, well, everything, is a habit that has foreigners raising their eyebrows and asking, “But, why?”

Portion Sizes

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Walk into an American restaurant, and the portion sizes might make you think you’ve stepped into a giant’s lair. Meals are often supersized, leaving visitors not only full but also absolutely bewildered by the mountain of food on their plates.

Gargantuan Vehicles

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Pickup trucks and SUVs rule the American roads like oversized metal beasts. To foreigners, the American love affair with huge cars is as enigmatic as crop circles. Smaller, efficient vehicles are the norm elsewhere, making U.S. car choices a puzzling spectacle.

Air Conditioning Overload

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Summer means the A/C units in the U.S. are cranked up to “Arctic.” For visitors from milder climes, the indoor chill can be a shock to the system. People often wonder why escaping the heat means bracing for an indoor cold front.

Bathroom Gaps

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Privacy can seem to take a backseat in U.S. public restrooms. Doors with sizable gaps can leave foreigners feeling exposed and longing for the sanctuary of their home country’s fully enclosed stalls. It’s a peek-a-boo game no one signed up for.

Price Tags Without Tax

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Shopping in the U.S. comes with a mathematical challenge – the listed price isn’t the final price. The tax-added-at-checkout system is a puzzle that leaves foreigners doing mental gymnastics in the shopping aisle, calculator app in hand.

Yellow School Buses

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Those iconic yellow school buses aren’t just a Hollywood invention – they’re real and they’re everywhere. To visitors, this uniquely American transport system is a curious, sunshiny spectacle among the everyday hustle and bustle.

Flag Fervor

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Old Glory flutters in the wind everywhere you look. Patriotism takes a colorful spin in the U.S., with the stars and stripes displayed in every corner. Foreigners often marvel at this star-spangled banner display, unmatched in its ubiquity.

Tailgating Parties

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Mix sports with grilling meat in stadium parking lots, and voila, it’s a tailgating party. This pre-game ritual is as American as apple pie, leaving foreigners both perplexed and intrigued by the blend of sports fanaticism and culinary celebration.

Deep-Fried Delights

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Deep frying is akin to a culinary art form in America. Whether it’s chicken or Oreos, if it exists, it can be deep-fried. Visitors often find this cooking technique a greasy mystery that both attracts and baffles the taste buds.

Red Plastic Cups

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Every American party scene in movies features the iconic red plastic cup. To foreigners, this cup is as mysterious as it is renowned, signifying an American rite of passage that transcends its simple, plastic form.

College Sports Hysteria

Sports Obsession
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University athletes are celebrated like professional stars, with college sports a phenomenon that bewilders many international visitors. The passion, the merchandise, the packed stadiums – it’s a campus craze that turns academia into a sporting arena.

Overzealous Customer Service

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Walking into a store, a chorus of “How can I help you?” rings out. American customer service is a mix of enthusiasm and attentiveness that can leave foreigners feeling like celebrities, or sometimes, just longing for anonymity.

The Imperial System

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Metrics rule the world, but the U.S. marches to the beat of its own drum with the imperial system. Inches, feet, pounds, and gallons can make foreigners feel like they’ve stepped into an alternate universe of measurements.

Lawn Obsession

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Manicured lawns are a staple of the American landscape. For visitors, the national dedication to perfect grass is both a visual delight and a quirky mystery. Who knew that green carpets in front of houses were an American pastime?

Excessive Commercial Breaks

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A parade of commercials punctuates TV shows in the U.S. To foreign viewers, the frequency and length of these advertising interruptions are a curiosity that transforms TV watching into a choppy sea of storytelling and product pitches.

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