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.

#1

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Tipping restaurant servers so the owners of the restaurant don’t have to pay them a living wage.

Mean_Increase_ , Jinx! Report

Brandy Grote
Community Member
6 months ago

Decades ago, restaurant workers were paid "regular" wages, and got tips. A single mother could feed 3 kids AND buy a small house with those tips. Greedy restaurant owners hated the idea of their workers getting "money for nothing" (except busting their butts!) and changed the laws so the workers are paid obscenely low wages and then have to share their tips with EVERYONE employed at the restaurant whether they bust tail or not. It's disgusting. Especially because "tipping is optional", but those workers don't get their wages supplemented if diners don't tip!

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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!"

#2

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Megachurches are literal scams. They make a lot of money, saying it's for the church, then they buy 12 mansions.

SteelWarrior- , Jennifer Morrow Report

Mike Ieva
Community Member
6 months ago

Did you hear about Vatican???

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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.

#3

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Americans thinking that medical procedures are actually that expensive. Fun fact: In a normal country, you don't pay tens of thousands of dollars.

punsexual_disaster , Navy Medicine Report

Mike Crow
Community Member
6 months ago

Two things. 1) Citizens in most other developed countries don’t have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket as Universal Healthcare provides. 2) Americans hospitals are businesses so they will try to charge more if they can.

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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."

#4

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal "America is the greatest country in the world."

Forimdema19 , cloudbuilding Report

Guinny
Community Member
6 months ago

yeah i feel like their country pride with the flag and everything is a bit over the top.

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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."

#5

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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".

demo1318 , Dan McWeeney Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

Right name, connections, or education and you can get through life with good money and almost no actual work.

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"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."

#6

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

Sexcalator , Presidencia de la Repúblic of Mexica Report

Bacony Cakes
Community Member
6 months ago

It's working how it's supposed to, it just isn't designed to benefit the patient.

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#7

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

Pontus_Pilates , Luke Jones Report

Julie C Rose
Community Member
6 months ago

I love using the “...other countries manage it though?” argument on businesses. New Zealand has a terrible sick leave allowance so our progressive party poked Jacinda with a stick about it and she agreed to up it. She’s coddling the effing HELL out of the businesses but a bunch of them are still like “How are we supposed to survive if we give our employees a less pitiful amount of sick leave?!?!” And I’m like “the same way companies in other countries do it?”

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#8

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal College Tuition. Being in debt for thousands of dollars as a young adult just starting their life

Naweezy , 401(K) 2012 Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

Any job over minimum wage now requires a college degree. Even for an interview. The exceptions are few.

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#9

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Getting limited days worth of annual leave per year and then being encouraged not to use it.

vietcong420 , RichardBH Report

Ceredwyn Ealanta
Community Member
6 months ago

Employers like this fail with diminishing returns. Their employees are too exhausted to work efficiently, and unable to come up with good policies to increase efficiency. You end up with people doing four hours worth of work in a twelve hour day because they're just too broken for more.

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#10

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Millionaires/Billionaires are just like you and me, who just worked harder than everybody else.

JasperDyne , Keith Cooper Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

Most harmful american myth.

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#11

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Lawmakers allowed to invest in the stock market.

tripster72 , Andreas Poike Report

Tabitha L
Community Member
6 months ago

Totally f****d up. Should be a blind trust. The way lawmakers sold off stocks and bought others after coronavirus briefings in February is disgusting. Looking at you Kelly Loeffler. Gross.

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#12

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal "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.

StanePantsen , kenkwsiu Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

Right? Our obsession with exact time is just so weird.

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#13

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal The two party system

hoosyourdaddyo , Hillary Report

Nicolas Pilot
Community Member
6 months ago

Its literally only one party at the top of the heirachy, devided in two, to give you the illusion of having a choice

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#14

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.

That_Trapper_guy Report

Liz Tynne
Community Member
6 months ago

This is America in a nutshell. People who think hard work matters aren't being objective. The hardest workers make the fewest dollars, and they're desperately praying for the day when their "American Dream" finally begins. It's incredibly demoralizing.

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#15

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Trickle-down economics.

Frigguggi , wikipedia Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

Reagan messed up so many things, long term.

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#16

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Really expensive funerals. People are charged astronomically high prices at a time when grief means they’re not prepared to make sound decisions.

Altrano , Eugene Peretz Report

Potatogamers2
Community Member
6 months ago

Indeed it's horrible and the family are left with debt even. Put me in a white sheet in the ground and pray for me and I'm fine.

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#17

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Advertising medicine. Seriously what the hell?

ShwingMAN13 , Open Grid Scheduler Report

Julie C Rose
Community Member
6 months ago

For some reason, New Zealand is the only other country that does it. Even though we have effing public healthcare. For what it’s worth, I always just kind of assumed that everyone finds those ads as boring and annoying as I do.

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#18

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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

ArtyParty0848 , wohnai Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

When they could all be elecronic and updated for minimal fee.

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#19

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

MakubeXGold , Mads Bødker Report

Bacony Cakes
Community Member
6 months ago

'murica

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#20

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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

deccytag , Jacqui Brown Report

Full of Giggles
Community Member
6 months ago

It depends on your provider. I pay $35 for unlimited everything on two devices.

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#21

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal The pledge of allegiance was actually an advertisement to sell flags.

Gremlin0011 , E Photos Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

That just says 'merica all over.

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#22

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Tax Filing

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.

johnydeformed , Motaz Altahir Report

Julie C Rose
Community Member
6 months ago

It frustrates the HELL out of me when Americans blame their schools and say “Schools should teach kids how to do taxes!” Or, and hear me out here, the IRS could do what New Zealand does and calculate that stuff themselves. Even as a nonstandard worker who does have to do a tax return, it’s a short process where I just fill in how much money I made that year and set my provisional tax for the following year.

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#23

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

THExBEARxJEW , 1662222 Report

Dave P
Community Member
6 months ago

when you are a foreign student, you pay a fee to your American health provider for overseas care, then the Euro hospitals bill the heck out of it because they love American re-embursments. In fact they jump americans ahead of all the lines and give higher care, especially in places like france, because they want the American Insurance money.

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#24

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

WatchTheBoom , Parentingupstream Report

cybermerlin2000
Community Member
6 months ago

Stop the insurers completely and replace them with Private Healthcare. It's almost the same thing only cheaper, and you're guaranteed to get help paying for your medical costs. Better still, use some of the tax millions being frivolously wasted on falsely overly inflated costs for mundane things, and you could fund a free at access public health service.

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#25

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 'Overdraft protection,' which actually allows the bank to charge you when you use a debit card, instead of just declining the transaction.

rainbowcadillac Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

Never understood overdraft fees or overdraft protection. Money isn't there, just decline. It is all done electronically, not like they're paying someone to look at each and every transaction to approve or deny. Money there? Transaction goes through. No money, no transaction.

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#26

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

jude802 , COD Newsroom Report

natie marie
Community Member
6 months ago

I could have started doing the job I do now, 3 years earlier without debt had I not gone to uni. and I have friends who finished school at 18 and now own houses and are very comfortable. Uni is not the only way to succeed.

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#27

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

bloomfaith , Mr. Blue MauMau Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
6 months ago

Everyone knows this is a scam. If people are resorting to rent to own, it is generally because they don't have a better option. If it takes you 3 years to save up for a bed, that is three years sleeping on the floor. Not really conducive to getting the sleep needed to work the 3 jobs you need.

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#28

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Paying thousands of dollars for basic dental work

ReapeR_ahhh , Aiko, Thomas & Juliette Report

Missy Moo Moo
Community Member
6 months ago

I paid $10000 for a front tooth implant in Australia. $2k to have the broken tooth removed, $800 for the fake tooth, $5k for the metal implant (surgery, hospital, anesthetist), $700 for the new fake tooth plate, $2k for the new tooth

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#29

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Charging $1 to add cheese.

imnotyourbrahhh , Marco Verch Report

Anna Te
Community Member
6 months ago

This is not cheese.

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#30

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.

Buttons840 Report

Brandy Grote
Community Member
6 months ago

Use credit unions. Don't just use the 1st bank you find. Get the best deal for your life. Every credit union we've used has bent over backwards to help us with fraud.

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#31

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.

WanderersEndgame Report

Julie C Rose
Community Member
6 months ago

New Zealand is godawful about drugs too. Our organisation that helps addicts is absolutely furious about it.

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#32

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Commercialized medication.

fklavernl , Paolo Gamba Report

Ceredwyn Ealanta
Community Member
6 months ago

Co-pays were utterly alien to me as an Australian.

See Also on Bored Panda
#33

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.

sprucetrap1987 Report

Eric Law
Community Member
6 months ago

And for-profit hospitals.

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#34

Water bottles

Cost less than a cent to fill.

ItsPronouncedTribe Report

Anne Reid
Community Member
6 months ago

What really needs to be addressed is that not every place in the US has drinkable water. Where I live in Florida, I’m ok. My friends less than a mile away? Their water is so heavily chlorinated that you might as well drink from a swimming pool. No water filter to date has been able to overcome it. Of course, that’s nothing compared to Flint, Michigan.

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#35

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 90% of ads you see in social media. Hair fruit gummies do not help your hair.

ThatGirlNo1Knows , icethim Report

Guinny
Community Member
6 months ago

ok and also what is it with advertising prescription medicine. leave it to your doctors they should know what they are doing they didn't study for six+ years and go to med school to be told that they're giving you the wrong medicine.

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#36

Prescription eye glasses. They should be maybe $100 tops but we pay multiple times that for them.

BaconReceptacle Report

Eric Law
Community Member
6 months ago

Naturally things have changed some since then, but back in the 1980s I worked at a computer store, and an eyeglass-frame wholesaler was one of our customers. At that time, most frames cost $100-$150, but he told me almost all the frames he sold cost the store $6 or less.

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#37

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.

hesitantmaneatingcat Report

Kevin Donegan
Community Member
6 months ago

I have a good friend who works in the insurance industry. Every year their entire work group goes somewhere (Hawaii, Mexico) for a week all paid by the company. I'm guessing for 50 people it probably comes up to $150,000 (airfare, accommodations, etc.). When I explain to her that their trip is paid for on the backs of people/companies paying their insurance coverage premiums. She's adamant that it's paid for out of the her boss' "profit" for the company. There are million examples like this that inflates the cost of health insurance. And, speaking of the boss' profit, he lives in a multi-million dollar home and drives a Maserati. Capitalism is good to point ... until it leads to gross excess and severe income disparity.

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#38

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal 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.

AdultReasoning , Brian Timmermeister Report

Eric Law
Community Member
6 months ago

And in some states, they're mandated by law! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_US_dealership_disputes

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#39

Foreigners-Share-Scams-Americans-Think-Normal Greeting cards cost like $5!

ItsPronouncedTribe , Honou Report

Tabitha L
Community Member
6 months ago

You can get them for $0.99. But you can also find $7.99 cards. Or more. Depends on what you want to spend.

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