In an attempt to start an interesting discussion, Reddit user tycooperaow posted a question on r/AskReddit: "What is clearly a scam but Americans have been conditioned to believe that it is 'normal?'" And they succeeded. Even though the post has received 4.6K upvotes (far fewer than some of the most popular ones on the subreddit), it has accumulated over 5.5K comments. Non-Americans started sharing their take on the US, testing the definition of the word 'scam', and all the replies paint a pretty good picture of the way the rest of the world sees the country.
Tipping restaurant servers so the owners of the restaurant don’t have to pay them a living wage.
Tycooperaow came up with the idea for the question after noticing a similar tweet gain decent notoriety on Twitter. "My sister notified me of this by sending me a link to a video on TikTok in which someone did a react video about the subject matter. My sister and I jokingly started talking about this subject and discussed all the things we Americans interact with on a daily basis that is actually pretty scummy," the told Bored Panda. "As I read through the comments on this TikTok video, many people stated their frustration. I proposed the same question again on Reddit for the sole purpose to ignite a thought-provoking discussion where people can share their opinions and give more personal insight on this matter. I knew this was a perfect place to study this situation more and learn from people who experience certain things that I can be aware of in the future. So that's what sparked me to ask the question!"
Megachurches are literal scams. They make a lot of money, saying it's for the church, then they buy 12 mansions.
Once the first couple hundred post replies came in, tycooperaow started reading and responding to as many as they could, asking people to further expand on their ideas to "get an overarching grasp of just how much stuff is wired into our everyday life that takes advantage of people." At that point, tycooperaow began thinking that there are a lot of fundamental problems that the culture of the US has.
"I am a US resident, and reading through the Redditors' comments I could tell that numerous people made it abundantly clear they felt strongly and passionately about these current issues that we have been conditioned into just accepting as normal. The majority of the responses were politically related issues as there's a strong distaste for the current government, but there were other answers that spoke about businesses socially engineering the public to perpetually buy a product that they ultimately have full control over."
As an example, tycooperaow mentioned De Beers and how they own nearly the entire diamond supply and push forth aggressive advertising, telling people they can't start a marriage without a diamond ring.
Americans thinking that medical procedures are actually that expensive. Fun fact: In a normal country, you don't pay tens of thousands of dollars.
Tycooperaow would answer their own question by saying that a 'scam' that affected them personally the most comes from modern-day universities. "Many people in the post already covered everything there is to say about the barrier of entry of schooling and its relation to the future financial sustainability for the average person. It's very dissatisfying that even at the age of 14 public schools practically brainwash students by stating 'if they don't go to college or the military they end up as bums or delinquents.' Why should students get into thousands of dollars of student debt when [so many] of them do not have the right financial literacy to properly manage even $1,000 if it was gifted to them at 18. This issue itself I feel that places our country more at a financial disadvantage than it claims."
It's a chain reaction, the op said. "If you get into debt at 18 and get out of college at 21-22 then you have to put off buying a home, buying a car, and establishing assets. This slows down the economy. Heaven forbids if you have medical problems. If you can't pay, then you to go bankrupt. I can't tell you how many people resort to crowdfunding options just to pay for medical expenses. I don't think people should need to result to use GoFundMe as a health coverage option, nor use lottery tickets as a retirement plan. This is why we see such a transformative push for financial literacy among teens and young adults. It's the reason why eCommerce, Cryptocurrency, Forex, Social Media Marketing, Content Creation, etc.. are so idolized in our generation because the traditional methods essentially disbar proper progression. Sometimes it's not because people do it out of luxury, but do it out of necessity."
Somehow, a person who works 65 hours a week at a minimum-wage job just to pay the rent "isn't working hard enough". At the same time, an executive whose "work" boils down to signing a few forms, making a couple of phone calls, collecting investment payouts, and playing golf is considered "a hardworking American".
"Lastly, the thing I would like to leave off with is that there are a lot of people who face challenges with our (if you live in the US) country and it will take some fixing," tycooperaow added. "I wish and motivate everyone to do not be afraid to speak on troubling topics. We have the power to change the narrative of how things are running regardless of how prominent they may seem. For example, once I started to learn about blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, this fundamentally shifted my view on governance and how something that seems so insignificant can have a huge impact. People have the power to do what is best, it all starts with just asking the right questions."
Healthcare, all the way. All those heartfelt stories on people who raised 100,000 for their neighbors surgery, and it's great, but no one seems to question why that was necessary in the first place. The person in question has insurance and they're still struggling to pay for this procedure?
Even worst if it's life-threatening. People have to make GoFundMe's, petition, all kinds of stuff. To have the basic right to not have to go broke when you see a doctor.
The idea that you need to work endless hours and never have time off.
There are plenty of countries where people work reasonable hours, have five-week summer vacations and the economies don't fall apart.
You are not lazy if you don't eat at your desk or while driving.
College Tuition. Being in debt for thousands of dollars as a young adult just starting their life
Getting limited days worth of annual leave per year and then being encouraged not to use it.
Millionaires/Billionaires are just like you and me, who just worked harder than everybody else.
"If you're not 15 minutes early, you're late."
B*tch, that adds up to 65 hours a year you should have paid me for. That is 8 full days of work.
Working 50+ hours a week to barely make ends meet, no health care, and no future but you're 'free' so it's worth it.
Really expensive funerals. People are charged astronomically high prices at a time when grief means they’re not prepared to make sound decisions.
College text books, you pay $400 for a book because you have to have the newest version that’s rarely changed much, and the school might offer you $40 and sell it for $150 used
The price for healthcare in America. For the love of God just travel overseas and compare, like, to any country in the world... And then realize how big of a rip-off it is in America. And it's all insurance companies fault.
Your cellphone plans. In my country, I pay €20 for unlimited calls, SMS, and data. I work in phone sales, and whenever I speak to an American, they cannot believe how cheap our plans are compared to what they pay
The pledge of allegiance was actually an advertisement to sell flags.
For the majority of wage earners, the IRS can easily determine how much you owe and tell you, or tell you what you're owed in a refund. It's simple.
That they don't do so is only because tax preparation companies lobby lawmakers to keep the system as it is. Tax preparation companies only exist because they are legally allowed, middle men. They are slow, complicated, costly, and the opposite of free market efficiency.
Health insurance. Studied abroad in France for a year. When I went to the hospital for urinary retention due to an infection and had to spend the night. The only thing I had to pay for was the antibiotics they gave me to take home for a week which was about $10 for 7 pills. Ours is a joke.
Politicians talk about the need for healthcare, but create legislation for healthcare insurance.
Those are not the same things. In fact, the latter actually is a barrier to the former.
'Overdraft protection,' which actually allows the bank to charge you when you use a debit card, instead of just declining the transaction.
The push that 'college is for everyone!' Also, you aren’t able to default on your student loans, so banks will give them to anyone. Coincidentally, society started telling people that they should all go to college, no matter their situation, right after passing the bill that made student loans impossible to hide from.
Rent To Own products. (Rent-A-Center, Aarons, Conns, etc..) You end up paying triple or quadruple the value of the product for virtually no other benefit than you'd get if you just saved a little money and bought the product out-right.
Identity theft. The bank fails to properly vet someone they gave money to, and now it's your problem.
You did nothing, the bank made a mistake. How is that your problem?
And look at credit monitoring companies, they claim they can detect fraud on your credit report. Yet, credit monitoring companies and credit reporting companies are one and the same -- literally the same company. So the real message is "pay us and we will not make false reports about you in our credit reports, we have the ability to detect falsehoods, but will only do so if you pay us". There should be a clear case of libel here. The credit reporting companies often report things that they reasonably know to be false.
The war on drugs. Cheap informal pharmacopeia is what's left for anyone who can't afford or access doctors, psychiatric help, or prescription meds. Rehab for the privileged, prison for the rest. Political talking points, to get us riled up. A gray market with selective enforcement, like gambling and prostitution. Employment in the Informal Sector. Employment, asset seizure, bribery, and extortion opportunity for cynical Enforcers. Prohibition 2.0.
For profit health insurance. We still pay for other people's healthcare, we just do it in a much more bloated and expensive way than universal healthcare.
90% of ads you see in social media. Hair fruit gummies do not help your hair.
Prescription eye glasses. They should be maybe $100 tops but we pay multiple times that for them.
Insurance. Sure it works as intended, but it could be non-profit so rates are cheaper and rebates are given, not so someone can get filthy rich. All the unused money at the end of the year should go back to the insured, not the insurer less a fair wage.
Car dealerships. They're literally just middle-man functions that do nothing more than raise the cost of the 'good' and produce taxation for the government on multiple levels of the transactions involved in purchasing a car through the third party.
Greeting cards cost like $5!