"The First Time I Visited The US I Thought This Was A Restaurant Scam": Non-Americans Are Sharing The Things That Are Totally Common In The US But Bizarre In Other Countries

Whenever I travel abroad, I'm fascinated by common customs and cultural norms that feel so different compared to how things are done in the US. But I don't usually think about all of the things I consider "normal" at home that non-Americans must find totally bizarre. So Redditor u/CapitalBread6959 asked, "Fellow Non-Americans, what is something quite common in the US that is completely unheard of in your own country?" Here's what people said.

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

A dog in the passenger seat of a pick up truck.
Susanhsmith / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2."I was in the US the first time ever a couple of weeks ago and wow, BLUE CHEESE DRESSING! It sounds disgusting but it is amazing! I wish I could have brought some back home with me."

A wedge salad with blue cheese dressing.
Sbossert / Getty Images

3."My German friend visited me in college. At the party he shouted 'THEY DO EXIST!!' as he held up our pack of red solo cups."

A table with red party cups on it.
Marc Sader / Getty Images/EyeEm

4."Tipping pretty much anyone who provides a service. I'm talking not only waiters, but also hairdressers and taxi drivers. And tipping at least 15%. Where I live, tipping is only in restaurants for good service, and usually, we just round up the bill. So for example if the bill is €46,40 we give €50."

A waiter discussing his tips.

5."Free refills. The first time I was in the US, the waitress kept refilling my glass without asking. I thought that was a rude scam to make more money. Turns out, they only charged me for one drink on the bill."

A mug of coffee on a table.
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

6."Health care workers going home after work still in scrubs. And washing them at home. Here it's literally forbidden to leave hospital grounds in your work clothes. I would hate having to bring them home and possibly carry some resistant hospital bacteria there with me. Plus you never know how well other people wash theirs. I like it done professionally at the hospital."

Sandra Oh wearing scrubs.

7."Homeowners associations. From what I have heard, it seems to be some kind of club you pay into and they enforce a certain aesthetic in a neighborhood."

A suburban neighborhood shot from above.
Richard Newstead / Getty Images

8."The tax system in general. Having to file a tax return every year is odd. Our taxes are done for us unless you run your own business or are a contractor. Also, having to pay US taxes when you live overseas is strange as well."

A woman talking about tax forms.
Comedy Central

9."This common contraption that gives the kitchen sink teeth."

A cartoon putting a chair through the garbage disposal.

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

A high school boy talking about senior year.
The CW

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

A pitcher of water and glasses on a table.
Mint Images / Getty Images/Mint Images RF

12."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."

A woman holding a credit card.
The Good Brigade / Getty Images

13."Driving a car and turning right on a red light. That messed with my head. If you do that here in the Netherlands you are gonna hit at least five cyclists."

A red traffic light.
Gynane / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14."How stores in the US display prices without taxes. It threw me off when I first went to buy a bottle of Coke upon arriving in the states."

Scanning a price tag on clothing.
Kali9 / Getty Images

15."Jaywalking. Where I'm from, crossing the street at a place without a designated pedestrian crossing is looked upon negatively, but people do it often in the US."

People walking a busy crosswalk in NYC.
Peter Adams / Getty Images

16."Long commutes to work. Here in the Netherlands a lot of companies only hire people who live within a 30 minute radius (maybe an hour if they really need you). I once applied to a job around an hour and a half away from my home and was rejected purely because of travel time."

A man clapping at his desk.

17."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."

Basketball players getting ready for a game.
The Walt Disney Company

18."Houses with small fences and little to no extra security. I'm from Latin America, and our houses have either big gates and fences with spikes or concrete walls with barbed wire on top in order to stop burglars from entering. It was quite a shock to me when I first visited the US and saw suburban houses with cars parked on the street and small wooden fences that anyone could jump over."

A house with a white picket fence.
Patrik Giardino / Getty Images

19."Good Mexican food. In my experience, it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world except for Mexico itself."

Three tacos.
Grandriver / Getty Images

20."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."

A drive thru bank.
Fullvalue / Getty Images

21."Being able to order a milkshake that contains your entire recommended calorie intake for the day."

Chocolate donut milkshake with lots of toppings.
Carolin Voelker / Getty Images

22."A car culture that is so intense, you can't really live without one. My parents didn't even know how to drive. We use public transport (subway, bus, etc) to get pretty much anywhere."

A couple exiting a car.

23."The entire concept of someone going into bankruptcy because of a medical emergency."

A man in a hospital bed giving a thumbs up sign.

24."Apparently most of American men are circumcised, which sounds bizarre to me."

A man saying "whoa!"
Morgan Creek Productions

25."The American 'college experience.' You show that you are responsible by paying $800 a month to live in a dorm on campus, sharing a bedroom with a stranger, and a bathroom with 11 strangers. Meanwhile, if you continue to live at home with your parents, people assume that you make bad decisions."

A man chugging alcohol from the bottle.
Universal Pictures

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

People at the beach.
Jihyun Seo / Getty Images/EyeEm

27."Talking about work or asking what a person does for a living in great detail at a social function. This is very unusual where I'm from. I think it's normal in the US because it's such a work-obsessed country. Work tends to be ingrained in the brain. When I'm out or at a party to unwind, the last thing I want to talk about is anything related to work. Ask me about what movies I've seen recently or where I traveled to, not what my daily work routine entails."

A man in a suit and tie at the office.
Apple TV+

28."That 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."

Cars driving toward downtown L.A.
Chris Sattlberger / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

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

A man showing a woman a holiday card.

30."The fact that in some states you can buy guns at the very same store you buy your groceries."

A shopper leaving a walmart.
Samuel Corum / AFP via Getty Images

Non-Americans, what's something you've seen or experienced in the US that is totally normal here but uncommon where you live?