21 Things in the US That Puzzle Most Foreigners


You may have lived in the US your whole life
without realizing that something totally normal for you seems bizarre to people from other
parts of the world. Who knew that munching on fried pickles in a highly air-conditioned
room was so outlandish? Here are some other funny Americanisms I’ve gathered… #21. Sales tax is a guessing game.
When you go shopping in the US and see a price tag says $14.88, don’t expect to pay 14.88
at the register! Sales tax is NOT included in the price of an item! And since this tax
can vary from state to state, figuring out your total can turn into the ultimate mental
math challenge. In many European countries, the sales tax is already included in the price.
It’s known as a Value Added Tax, or VAT. #20. We’re total workaholics.
A lot of Americans don’t feel the need to take long vacations, so they often let vacation
and sick hours pile up without ever using them. Plus, most employers only give you 2
weeks out of the year! But in a lot of other countries, like Brazil or Finland, workers
are encouraged to take an average of 30 days of vacay! Maybe I should take some time off…or
perhaps I’ll just keep waiting! #19. It’s not a party without red Solo cups.
In the States, this red plastic cup is synonymous with “party on, dude!” But other countries
apparently don’t recognize this cup to mean the same thing. People in the UK, for example,
don’t use red Solo cups at get-togethers. They have to go to a special website to purchase
the cups for American-themed parties! #18. Deep-fried everything!
Whether it’s fried pickles or even fried Oreos, America has it all! Fried fish recipes
first appeared in Spanish and Portuguese cookbooks as far back as the 1200s, and the Greeks were
frying food in olive oil way back in the 5th century BCE! But as America does with many
things, they’ve adopted a tradition from far off lands and took it up a notch – or
five! #17. Get everything you need right at the
pharmacy. If you’re not from the US, it may be puzzling
to walk into a pharmacy and see aisles and aisles of over-the-counter meds, toys, makeup,
clothes, and even groceries! Unlike in other countries where pharmacies sell medicine and
medical supplies exclusively, the ones in the US are like small convenience stores where
you can grab magazines, Tylenol, and a frozen pizza in one fell swoop! #16. Fill ‘er up!
In America, if a restaurant doesn’t offer free refills on fountain drinks, it’s kind
of strange. But in other countries, once you buy one beverage, that’s it! France banned
refills on sugary sodas back in 2017 in order to combat the current obesity epidemic. But
in the US, the idea of free re-fills is still alive and well. #15. If you don’t like it, return it!
Whether it’s an ugly sweater from Grandma or a heinous pair of earrings from an ex,
if you don’t like it, you can just return it! In America, making returns at stores is
pretty normal and super easy. I mean the US even has a National Returns Day in January
conveniently held for you to return holiday gifts you weren’t too fond of! #14. Tips for everyone!
Cab drivers, servers, hairdressers – you gotta tip ‘em! Tips are acceptable for almost
any service in the US and sometimes consist of 25% of the bill! But there are places in
other parts of the world, such as Japan, that consider tipping incredibly rude, like in
restaurants. When you travel to different countries, it’s important to learn their
tipping etiquette so that you don’t offend anyone! #13. I’ll take my coffee to go.
With a Starbucks on every corner, it’s very normal to see people toting around a coffee
as they shop, commute to work, and whatever else at all times of the day. But in many
parts of the world, coffee is meant to be sipped on while seated and enjoying the paper
or chatting with friends. Tugging your coffee along with you through the day might be due
to the fact that the cups are huge and take longer to drink. Who’s got that kind of
time to be sitting in a café for hours? #12. The land of ice-cold drinks
Speaking of drinks, if it’s not a hot coffee or cocoa, then it’s probably got ice in
it. Tea, coffee, lemonade, soda, water – Americans like it on the rocks! If you go elsewhere
in the world, odds are you’ll be sipping your soda at room temperature (or maybe slightly
refrigerated) if you don’t specifically ask for ice. #11. Keeping the AC on at all times
Americans must have an aversion to being hot! In many parts of Europe, people simply don’t
use air conditioning as much as they do in the States. Here, it’s expected to always
have the AC blaring, and a lot of visitors find it pretty strange and quite chilly! But
come on, it makes sense! If you’re cold, you can layer up. If you’re hot, all you
can do is suffer and complain about it! #10. Looking at dollars is a snooze-fest.
I remember going to Europe for the first time and thinking their banknotes look like Monopoly
money! And I guess a lot of countries have bills of different colors and sizes depending
on the value, like Swedish krona, Chinese renminbi, and Russian rubles. But not in the
US! It’s all greenbacks, baby! Sure, 10s look a little yellowy, 50s are kinda pinkish,
and Benjamins seem bluer than the others. But still, US dollars definitely aren’t
as fun and rainbowy as other currencies! #9. Giving a thumbs up
In America, even little kids know a thumbs up means “good job,” “way to go,”
or anything positive like that. But if you travel to Greece or the Middle East and give
this common American gesture, you probably won’t make too many friends. Hey, how about
giving this video a thumbs up for the useful tip! Heh-heh! #8. The date-writing conundrum
So many visitors to the US get really confused by the month-day-year thing because most parts
of the world write the day, then the month, and finally the year. There’s no clear historical
reason why the US insists on writing the date differently, but we just do! #7. Pre-baby baby showers
Many cultures celebrate a new baby coming into the world, but America is one of the
few places that does this before the baby actually gets here. In East Asian countries,
for instance, celebrations for a new baby are held once the child is born as doing otherwise
is seen as bad luck. #6. Where “How are you?” means “Hello!”
Sure, people ask each other how they’re doing in other countries, but Americans often
use this phrase as a replacement for “Hey!” or “Hello!” It doesn’t even require
a real response – people just answer with “Fine, thanks!” …even if they’re in
a horrible mood or had a bad day! #5. Bathroom stalls that aren’t so private
Don’t like doing your business in front of complete strangers? Americans don’t either,
of course, but the fact that bathroom stall doors often reveal as much as your entire
lower leg seems to say otherwise! There’s no clear answer as to why there’s this big
gap in public bathroom stalls here, but many guess it’s for safety reasons. Or ventilation?
Just saying… #4. No one uses their “inside voice”
A lot of my friends who are visiting or moved to the US tell me that locals speak so loud
compared to other countries. Whether it’s talking on your cell phone or chatting with
a friend over lunch, Americans seem to really like projecting their voice. I don’t know,
maybe we just wanna make sure we’re heard? #3. It’s all about choices.
Walk into any grocery store aisle, and you’ll notice at least 10 different options for cookies,
crackers, or cereal. People in the UK don’t have this many options for foods, and you’ll
almost never find anything in grape flavor there. #2. Hopping into the backseat of a cab
When getting into a cab, it’s customary in the States to scoot on into the back seat.
But in countries like New Zealand and Australia, riding anywhere but shotgun can be a little
rude. #1. That classic American smile
In the US, people aren’t afraid to be nice and show their pearly whites…all the time.
And according to a 2015 study at Brown University, because America has always been a very diverse
country, it forced people to smile at each other more since they couldn’t always communicate
with language. That’s just one historical theory as to why Americans tend to smile more
than people in other places do. Whether you’re from the US or not, can you
add any more strange “Americanisms” to the list? Let me know down in the comments!
If you learned something new today, then give this video a like, share it with a friend,
and here are some more cool videos to check out from the Bright Side of life!

100 thoughts on “21 Things in the US That Puzzle Most Foreigners

  1. Hey there BrightSiders! Do you like deep-fried food or prefer it boiled?

  2. US documentaries spend 30% of the post-ad time recapping what happened pre-ad time. Not all, but most. Makes them almost unwatchable.

  3. in the thumbnail US bathrooms are on the left, michael jacksons bathrooms are on the right

  4. me in the usa wow there r Starbucks on every corner!
    me in canada wow there is Tim Horton’s on every corner!

  5. I forgot where but I think in Asia if u show ur teeth it’s disrespectful and I think they acknowledge u as a Cannibal

  6. Americans think others are weird until they visit another country and get their face smashed for acting inappropriate.

  7. We smile often because our teeth aren't as f*cked up as some others 🀫

  8. Democracy – u have a biparty system
    Brightside – its all about choices

  9. in trinidad we don't drink beverages to room temperature oh and we also hold the baby showers before the baby is born

  10. What I find kind of funny be from the U.S on the day month format. Only time we referred the date then month is 4th of July. Which is basically our nations birthday. The most American day you can possibly have.

  11. I'm from Brazil and i got 28 days off on my last vacation 🀣🀣

  12. amercans cry a lot about almost all things and are exstreme drama queens well guess the viking way is not for them best reg from iceland😜

  13. What surprises me about the US is the inability to use the word Christmas.

  14. #3 is not true! We also have loads of options for everything! And we do actually do have grape flavoured things! (This might not be true in other parts of the uk, I’m just talking about the part that i live in)

  15. The thing that made me full of confusion was the names, they sounded so weird (no hate though, now I understand why it was so different)

  16. You completely forgot Latin America. How American of you πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

  17. You can't learn accurate Christian 1'st century and after history in the U.S. so I had to learn from a professor on YouTube which even talked about the texts and location where discovered and the branch I prefer Which died out in the 2'nd century. And I've realized how much history is lost along with my native American ancestral language too. I only know the translation for white man sadly

  18. /oo yes but 30 days are not sufficent in the Europe we need 60 days /oo after 7 month vacation i am still tired..

  19. /oo yes french frites 🍟 from McDonald /oo useless /oo I cook myself a fresh meal with true potates i dont want to die with cancer at age of 45..

  20. /oo the Restaurants in Italie calculate you 11% service without having a service.. be ready Americans when you go to Rome /oo dont go to Pizza πŸ• Restaurants on tourist routes..

  21. /oo Starbucks is hot and expensive i go to Segafredo /oo io sono Italiano..

  22. /ioo allo the US what is this terrible date 12/24/2019 /ioo you confuse the whole world 24.12.2019

  23. /ioo the German confuse us with the last 30 minutes of the hour halb schrott..

  24. /ioo i dont use β€˜Hello’ that is a nothing meaning word that represent nothing /oo How are you Dr. Mohamd Trump /oo thanks I had a terrible day but thank god all deviles returned home..

  25. Salam-alikom Brother Grimm /ioo i heard that the US are constently freezing /ioo but who buy the electricty bill.. that is not Green thinking..

  26. Here in the Philippines, people get annoyed when someone talks so loud (like americans)

  27. I find it woerd that Americans don't include the tax it's just wired to me

  28. In Asian countries they don’t stare at each other or look into people’s eyes while talking

  29. I’m from the uk and when ever I start talking to people I ask them if they are okay, I was talking to someone from America and the were really confused as of to why I was asking thatπŸ˜‚

  30. The USA is still part of the world. So bright side is comparing the entire world, including the US, to the US.

  31. Americans Bbq party at the sidewalk at summer time πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

  32. We don't deep fry everything the only place you can go to get deep fried anything is a Fair / Carnival

  33. Americans are lazy to use blinker or turn signal. You should be a mind reader for you to figure out where the other car in front of you will turn left or right .

  34. While it is true that Americans take less vacation than Europeans, and Europeans like to give us a hard time about this, what they don't realize is the massive discrepancy in productivity between American workers and American companies to that of Europeans. Take a look at the top 30 companies in the world by market value.

    1. Apple (Cupertino, California, USA)
    2. Microsoft (Redmond, Washington, USA)
    3. Amazon (Seattle, Washington, USA)
    4. Alphabet aka Google (Mountain View, California, USA)
    5. Berskhire Hathaway (Omaha, Nebraska, USA)
    6. Facebook (Menlo Park, California, USA)
    7. Alibaba (Hangzhou, China)
    8. Tencent (Shenzhen, China)
    9. JPMorgan Chase (New York, New York, USA)
    10. Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)
    11. Visa (San Francisco, California, USA)
    12. Exxon Mobil (Irving, Texas, USA)
    13. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Beijing, China)
    14. Walmart (Bentonville, Arkansas, USA)
    15. Bank of America (Charlotte, North Carolina, USA)
    16. Nestle (Vevey, Switzerland)
    17. Samsung (Seoul, South Korea)
    18. Proctor & Gamble (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)
    19. Royal Dutch Shell (The Hague, Netherlands)
    20. Intel (Santa Clara, California, USA)
    21. Cisco (San Jose, California, USA)
    22. Mastercard (Purchase Harrison, New York, USA)
    23. Verizon (Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA)
    24. Disney (Burbank, California, USA)
    25. AT&T (Dallas, Texas, USA)
    26. Chevron (San Ramon, California, USA)
    27. Home Depot (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
    28. China Construction Bank (Beijing, China)
    29. Nike (Beaverton, Oregon, USA)
    30. Taiwan Semiconducter (Hsinchu, Taiwan)

    So there you have it, of the top 30 companies in the world four are Chinese, two European, one Korean, one Taiwainese, and 22 are American (or more specifically United States of America as there are zero Latin American companies anywhere near this list). Europe has zero companies in the top fifteen.

    I've had the opportunity to travel all over the world and experience lots of different cultures, i'm not the stereotypical ethnocentric American who only knows about how life is here in the USA, and I don't have any disdain for Europeans. I'm just pointing out the obvious fact that over the past century the USA has contributed way more to the world than people give it credit for and big part of that is because people work a lot.

  35. Im from New Zealand and its not rude to sit in the back of a taxi it's just not alot of people do it. If you sit in the back of a taxi in New Zealand the driver wont care.

  36. Not every state in the USA has taxes, oragon doesn't tax when you buy something from food to clothing, but I have heard they do tax on housing

  37. Another one is EYE CONTACT. In America, eye contact is nice. But, in some other places, it is considered very rude.

  38. So in Britain we can buy those red cups in the shops for around Β£1 we don't have to go online

  39. I can relate to every single point in this video lol, I moved to California 2 years ago from Dubai and I just don't understand why there's groceries in pharmacy πŸ˜…πŸ˜‚

  40. America: So are you gonna buy something or just stand there? Cause there's a standing fee.

  41. Any Scots? 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  42. American's fry everything hence a mager ++++++++ sizes hugh what do you mean about food choices ?

  43. This is so cool funny and awesome!!!:)πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜Šβ˜Ίβ˜Ίβ˜ΊπŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜šπŸ˜šπŸ˜šπŸ˜—πŸ˜—πŸ˜—πŸ˜™πŸ˜™πŸ˜™πŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜œπŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜›πŸ˜›πŸ˜›πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡

  44. Shotgun thing not true for Australia. I mean I personally always ride on the back if I’m alone or with just another female..
    Babyshowers too. – Australia throws party before the baby lolz usually only your first baby tho. But I dunno if that’s a rule lol

  45. America uses miles per hour, the rest of the world use kilometers per hour.

  46. I’m from the UK, you can buy red cups from your local Tesco’s πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈπŸ˜‚

  47. I personally don’t agree with the thumbs up one, I used to live in Greece and they use thumbs up just as much as anyone, and it’s seen in the exact same light, as say the US or the US.

  48. Lol now I realize why my Northern English manager didn't agree with me when I said "A smile IS a greeting so I don't have to say 'Hi Welcome' "

  49. The US hasn't always had free refills on drinks.. I don't know when that started but even in the 80's or 90's if you wanted a refill you paid a smaller refill fee or you had to buy a whole new drink depending on what restaurant it was.

  50. I saw a video from a dialect coach who said Americans are loud because their accent kinda forces greater projection

  51. 8:17 i’m canadian and my dad feels the need to talk to loudly on the phone that i can hear him the farthest possible place in the house. i think it’s because he feels like the microphone won’t hear him if he talks normally even though he talks loud normally

  52. You get red cups anywhere, it’s just a cup, they sell them all over England. Funny video

  53. you mist one (well its the first at least) having a donald trump type person as president (in other counries you are starting to see them but you already have one for a few years)

  54. Watching YouTube, I noticed that drunken idiots in America love doing swan dives onto lightweight foldable tables while the rest of the bunch scream their heads off

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