"The Practice Has Always Given Off Super Strong Indoctrination Vibes": 36 American Things Other Countries Find SO Odd

Recently, Reddit user nurseboyfriends asked, "What things do Americans do that people from other countries find extremely weird or strange?" and you know BuzzFeed just had to round it up.

"Come on."

Things that are different in the US vs. other countries is practically in our DNA at this point.


So, without further ado, here are 36 things we Americans do that the rest of the world apparently finds really, really strange.

1.First of all... "Mandatory tipping culture."


a tip page online
u/AFx9 / Via reddit.com

2."Taxes being added at the checkout. I understand the logic behind why that happens, but at the same time, it seems to be the sort of thing that could be fixed quite easily if the powers that be wanted it to be fixed."


3."WHY do you take my credit card at restaurants? 😂 Here in Canada the machine gets brought to the table to pay."


"The US has always been behind on credit card stuff. I don’t know why! I first paid at the table in Paris and first saw a tap to pay in Australia. It took, like, 5–10 years to start seeing those things here. So weird."


4."So much ice in water."


a cup of iced water
Doucefleur / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5."How patriotic you guys are. When we go watch a football match, the players sign their anthem, and that's it. When I went to this baseball game, they had a special guest to sing the national anthem, flags everywhere, jets, kneeling for the Army, etc."


6."Flags on lawns, flags everywhere."


7."The Pledge of Allegiance, first thing in the morning, in school. It weirds me out. I know it's voluntary in most places now, I believe, but the practice has always given off super strong indoctrination vibes."


Kids doing the Pledge of Allegiance
Jamie Grill / Getty Images

8."Thanking cops and soldiers for their service."


"Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable. I am a veteran. I won't wear a pin or a hat that says I'm a veteran. My wife is much more proud of my service than I am. It was a job. It's done now."


9."Make their government a reality TV show."


"[American] elections are just political Super Bowls."


10."Donate money to the political career of billionaires. 'Please donate to my election.' You're worth $2.5B, and I'm trying to save $0.30 on groceries; donate to it yourself, fuckface."


Closeup of Donald Trump
Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images

11."The evocation of God in politics always seems bizarre to me, especially when the separation of church and state is enshrined in the constitution. I’ll hear a US politician talking about the economy or some such serious thing, and then suddenly, they’re talking about what God wants them to do."


12."Caring about school sports. In Europe, nobody cares about some high school basketball players."


13.Relatedly... "Ridiculously huge elaborate football stadiums for schools and colleges in areas that are otherwise obviously economically depressed. I once read that 8 of the 10 biggest stadiums in the world are at US colleges/universities."


"I was a theatre student at a university with a big football program; the primary theatre building was the old tennis locker rooms. And the school had a comparatively large theatre program!"


a sports stadium
Wirestock / Getty Images

14."As an American who has traveled around Asia, they find it weird that we're always throwing huge high school parties."


15."Identifying with a nationality that's several generations back — i.e. 'I'm Irish, and my husband is German!'"


"Or when they define someone's behavior by their heritage, which is 3/4 times removed. He drinks because he's 'Irish'...or some other stereotypical nonsense."


"I'm 'Italian!' That's why I'm such a loud asshole and over-pronounce food names like pomodoro and stromboli, but I don't know any verbs in Italian."


16."You have to file your taxes. To do that you need to use a private service that costs a lot of money. 'Have the IRS make a free, easy to use service available for the general public?' 'What are we, commies!?' In Denmark, the tax authority calculates most of it, and you only have to go check that everything is correct. I spend maybe two hours in a year on taxes. Also, the US is — as far as I know — the only country in the world that expects its citizens abroad to file and pay taxes."


"You go to prison"
@jordan_stratton / Via Twitter: @jordan_stratton

17."Advertisements for pharmaceutical drugs."


"It’s weird. Those corporations are so desperate for money they’re willing to sell any meds even if people don’t actually need them. Leave that shit to doctors."


18.Relatedly.... "Commercials for a minor medical condition like Athlete’s Foot."

"Voiceover: Side effects may include:

Chronic nob rot


Anal cancer

Testicular cancer

Testicular warts

Pancreatic cancer

Heart palpitations

Athlete’s foot

Complete collapse of the Central Nervous System

Rapid weight gain


Psychotic episodes

Hair loss

Rapid anal hair gain

Your nob will probably fall off

No one will like you

Explosive diarrhea in public spaces

Instant death

Inability to pass to the other side after death, so you may be doomed to roam the Earth as a lost soul for infinity.

Talk to your family doctor about Footoxicil today!"


19."Large gaps above, below, and between the bathroom stalls."


Someone in a bathroom stall
Sarah Palmer/Lawrence Manning / Getty Images

20."From what I've heard from folks from out of country...small talk. Apparently, it's not really normal in other places for strangers to just say hi to each other or engage in small talk while doing things like standing in line, after accidentally bumping into each other at the store, noticing that someone is interested in the same thing you are, things like that. Apparently, a lot of people compare Americans to golden retrievers and say they're 'ridiculously friendly' because Americans will just...talk to anyone, without any formal introduction."


"I realized this wasn’t a global thing when I was in Japan and I’d start conversations with fellow visiting Americans. My Japanese friend was very surprised that I’d do that. Then there’s the ones that have been there a while and actively avoid you because they know what you’re gonna do, LOL."


21.Although on the other hand... "My neighbor is Russian, and she told me she was sad that we don’t ask people over to have tea and talk. She asked me over one day, and it was really nice."


22."I’m American and worked closely with folks from England for a while. The biggest difference was they thought Americans way overshare. When we were discussing self-image once, another American mentioned she’d had an ED [eating disorder] when she was younger (that was it, no other details). I thought nothing of it. When she wasn’t around, they told me how uncomfortable it made them, and they were shocked at how personal that was. I was floored. They should hear my friend groups talk about gynecologist visits, LOL."


"why do I seem to bring this out in you?"

23."Forcing you to use vacation days when you're ill. Some countries make employers change paid vacation days to paid sick days when you're ill on vacation."


24."[Being] very nervous and unwilling to go to the hospital."


From an American: "Because when we go to the ER, we wait four hours to be seen…for someone to treat us like drug-seekers…and then get charged thousands of dollars for it."


25.Relatedly, "Go bankrupt paying medical bills" and "Tying healthcare to employment," and "GoFundMes for basic healthcare costs."

u/fairygodmotherfckru/Grummm_Didley, and u/feetofire

"This system is completely broken."
@GavelInstitute / Via reddit.com

26."Leaving newborn babies in daycare all day to go back to working full time a few weeks after giving birth," and "Unpaid maternity leave."

u/ohdearitsrichardiii and u/mergelefthere

From an American: "Working in retail a few years ago, I had a coworker who couldn’t afford to wait even a single week after giving birth to go back to work. She had a medical emergency on her first day back, left in an ambulance, and we didn’t see her again."




"This country in general is too fucking obsessed about what's going between people's legs."


28."Coffee drinks large enough to caffeinate a herd of elephants. With enough sugar to trigger a diabetic coma, all on the way to work." And also just "American portion sizes" in general.

u/Impossible-Cattle504 and u/naidhinn

Screenshots from "Parks and Recreation"

29."Getting served plastic plates in a cafeteria. ... I have never seen any place serve one use plastic dishes in Germany. When we explained that we use dishwashers to clean the used dishes in cafeterias, the clerk was like, 'Huh, that doesn't sound like a bad idea.' In general, the amount of plastics used in the USA is just so wild to me."


30."Becoming a pilot and buying a plane. Easy access to personal aviation — there really is no other country like the US when it comes to that. While it's not cheap, it's cheaper than anywhere else in the world, and the government doesn't gate-keep it into the ground."


31."Eating in our cars. Driving or just sitting in the car eating. Several European visitors have commented on this, so it must be very strange to them."


Screenshot from "King of Queens"
TV Land

32."Wearing their shoes inside the house. Even on their couch and bed. Absolutely disgusting."


33."Answering a city/state/two-letter code as if everyone knows where it is when someone asks 'where are you from' in an international setting."


34."Why do your kitchen sinks have that terrifying swirling thing that eats fingers?"


"As a Brit, I had nightmares about this from that episode of The Simpsons. I grew out of it by telling myself 'at least they don't really exist.' Oh dear."


Arrow pointing to a garbage disposal
Susan Vineyard / Getty Images/iStockphoto

35."MM-DD-YY. It's the least useful date format ever."


36.And finally... "Feet, pounds, Fahrenheit, etc...wtf, mate?!"


What do you find strange about America? Let us know in the comments!

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.