What’s totally acceptable and completely normal in one country might get you some funny looks elsewhere. Or, in other words, welcome to Planet Earth where there are loads of different countries and cultures that are bound to blow your mind when you travel.

This time, we’re looking at the differences between the United States and the United Kingdom. Even though both countries have a ‘special relationship’ (not to mention a rocky initial history together), far from everything is the same there. Hopping ‘over the pond’ means traveling a large distance both physically and culturally, too. Like you'd expect when going to any new country when you fly abroad.

Redditor TownImmediate9060 went on r/AskReddit and wanted to find out what’s socially acceptable in the US but would be horrifying in the UK. The thread went viral and the responses made us seriously realize the extent of the differences between the two allies. Check out some of the best answers below and remember to upvote your fave ones, dear Pandas.

#1

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Healthcare that bankrupts you

chhurry , Olga Guryanova Report

ZeroHargreaves057
Community Member
1 month ago

Mhm! Exactly!

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#2

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Paying more than the price you see on a price tag in a shop due to taxes. WTF just put how much it costs!

gibsterminator , Akshay Chauhan Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, that also bothered me as well

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#3

Cashiers being forced to stand... give them a chair you masochists

andy_james_78 Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

This weirds me out every time

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Britain continues to use soft power to spread its influence abroad. Its cultural impact is off the charts. Just consider how influential the Harry Potter books, musicians like Ed Sheeran, and football entities like the Premier League really are.

They’re known and respected globally. As such, the UK’s able to draw in plenty of tourists (global pandemic notwithstanding because it’s hit everyone badly) and students from abroad because it remains at the forefront of people’s minds.

#4

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Politicians mentioning religion when campaigning

awbayley97 , wikipedia Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

Religion should have no room in politics anywhere. (But for positive values such as grace of charity.)

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#5

New mothers going back to work almost immediately after giving birth, because they don’t have paid maternity leave

MultipleDinosaurs Report

I I
Community Member
1 month ago

that's just SAD , very , very SAD

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#6

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK An $800, four-block ambulance ride.

jeff_the_nurse , REEET JANK Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

Anything about the so-called American health system is a mystery to the rest of the world.

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However, research shows that the confusion and uncertainty around the long-term effects that Brexit, the UK’s exit from the European Union, will have slightly dampened the country’s influence abroad.

Meanwhile, the British Council found that it’s actually culture, not politics, that deepens the ties between the UK and the US. And it’s culture that’s going to play a vital role in the future of both nations as well.

#7

That whole thing where American kids pledge their allegiance to the flag. That is completely weird and scarily totalitarian to us Brits.

Naugrith Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

Not only to Brits!

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#8

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Overworking. It's rewarded and encouraged in the U.S., but during my time in the U.K. my colleagues were horrified by the long hours and lack of holidays that was the norm in the U.S.

CuriousAboutLife0 , Alex Kotliarskyi Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

What an awful soulless place. And I'm guessing the only reason they give them what looks like expensive chairs is so they don't get sued for workplace injury.

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#9

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Greeters in supermarkets. Just feels fake.

smokingthegateway , Kristina Paparo Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

Are greeters real? I thought the Simpson's was exaggerating. I guess in a country so massive, you gta find a way to stand out? Still seems weird tho

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“Culture and history were the two top rated factors contributing to the UK’s attractiveness among American respondents, with 43% identifying ‘cultural and historic attractions’ as a major draw and 42% identifying ‘history,’” the British Council explains what it discovered in its research.

#10

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Driving everywhere.

In the UK it's perfectly normal to have your kid walk to school and walking to the shops to do your shopping.

X0AN , why kei Report

Something
Community Member
1 month ago

This varies in the US too. In most cities it's normal not to have a car, but not in places where most people don't live within walking distance to anything.

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#11

Offering full-time employees anything less than 28 days of paid holidays per year - it's not only socially unacceptable - it's illegal!

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

not in the US.....

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#12

Bragging about how expensive something was.

In the US "this is a $100 shirt" ...smug face

In the UK "can you believe I got this whole suit for £25!" ...smug face

NCC-2000-A Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago

Americans love a good discount too.

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Despite some of the more superficial cultural differences between the US and the UK, both nations appear to care about pretty much the same issues.

“The research showed a high degree of shared concern about global issues among young people in both countries with poverty, extremism/terrorism, and climate change as the top factors chosen by young people in both the US and UK,” the British Council found. “The research suggests the relationship between the two countries is at root a cultural as much as a political phenomenon, and viewed in those terms it is indeed special.”

#13

Labelling the winner of a sports tournament that only your country plays as ‘World Champions’

Calling Football ‘Soccer’

DM1994 Report

Paul Davis
Community Member
1 month ago

We're not the only ones doing that. No one seems to blink at the audacity of the Miss Universe beauty contest, where Earth seems to win every time.

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#14

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK A rubber in England is not the same as a rubber in the US.

Butwaip , Annie Spratt Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

In the UK, a durex is (or used to be) a condom. In Australia, it's sticky tape. Best not to get them confused.

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#15

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Gaps in bathroom stalls

8xxx5 , ttarasiuk Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Again, horrifying everywhere in the world

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Ironically, the actual term ‘special relationship’ sees very little use in the US, primarily being a British way of categorizing the tight bonds between the two nations. However, this doesn’t change the fact that both countries are very much skipping along arm-in-arm, primarily admiring each other’s cultural output (leaving politics a secondary concern).

#16

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Making tea in a microwave.

fantsukissa , MoneyBlogNewz Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

This is horrifying for the rest of the world not just the UK!!

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#17

When my Brit friends were visiting, they were horrified when the waiter took their credit card to swipe back at the terminal. This made them REALLY uncomfortable.

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Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

I would have been too!

jamie1707
Community Member
1 month ago

Same here. I hate that. Never let your cards out of your sight. NEVER.

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JennyLaRue
Community Member
1 month ago

Never let your card out of your sight, unless you're happy for it to be cloned!

M K Z
Community Member
1 month ago

I must agree…outside of the US, having the terminal brought to your table is very convenient. And then in the US, to have your card taken from you to parts unknown must make one feel as though they’ve fallen through the looking glass into an Orwellian nightmare.

Pamela Blue
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm in Canada, and, at no time is one's credit card out of one's own possession. All restaurants, all stores and all everything that uses credit, have the machine right at the desk, or, in the case of restaurants, have portable machines that go from table to table. A few years ago, at a seminar in the US, I had to give my credit card to a waiter, and it made me uncomfortable to do so. A month later, I apparently went for cosmetic surgery for $4,000 in a city I've never been to and played pool in a pool hall in the same town. So now, even if a US waiter wants to walk off with my card, I'm walking right along with him.

Paul Davis
Community Member
1 month ago

I've griped about this before and said I refuse to give my business to any restaurant who does this. The managers always act like I'm the crazy one for not wanting to expose myself to their staff duplicating my card. I say, screw those managers and restaurants.

Angela White
Community Member
1 month ago

You have to keep your card in view to avoid cloning.

Angie Ayres
Community Member
1 month ago

I have been giving my card to service workers to swipe for 25 years and never had my info stolen that way. I have also worked in multiple bars and restaurants and have never seen or heard of a fellow employee stealing anyone's CC info.

danielw
Community Member
1 month ago

I've heard of it once. But to be fair, the entire establishment was crooked. the owners scammed free rent for 2 years, it was part of the lease- whenever a restaurant or whatever opens up a lease, it's not uncommon for the landlord to let them have a period where they only paid rent if they were profitable. the bar owners cooked the books and then when the period was up, filed bankruptcy the day before eviction hit. Also, just to point out, there's protections on your card, if somebody does clone it, you're not liable, and the credit company will absolutely go after them. Also, with chips, one-swipe=one transaction, so, yeah.

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A Head
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm from the US and my family and I spent a few months in Ireland and Scotland a couple years back. Took me a while to get used to paying at the table with the little credit card machine. Makes good sense, though. I will say I've never had any problems/fraud in the US where they take your card away.

Karin
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, don't EVER let them do that! Anywhere! No reputable establishment would do it anyway. Don't go back there! And check your credit card statement ASAP!

DogMom
Community Member
1 month ago

Had a waitress do this to me with my debit card at a Ritz of all places. When she brought it back I asked how she managed to take payment without my PIN. She said she used the interac Visa numbers on the card. I was so freaked out by the whole experience I had my bank deactivate that feature the next day.

King Joffrey
Community Member
1 month ago

It's actually illegal in many countries. Whoever handles your card has to do it in your full view.

Brad Fuzztone
Community Member
1 month ago

This will stop soon in the US when they catch up with the rest of us and the way modern money works. They still have cheques FFS. Haven't seen one of those for 20 years

danielw
Community Member
1 month ago

what's a cheque?? (and no, I know we call them checks here. But I haven't ever actually used one.)

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Aksa
Community Member
1 month ago

However a few my friends were scammed during US trip. Luckly they were already back home across the ocean so bank canceled the transactions

Delboy
Community Member
1 month ago

I wouldn't let it out of my sight...

Id row
Community Member
1 month ago

What do servers in the UK do? Memorize the number to key in manually?

Paul O'Connor
Community Member
1 month ago

They bring a small handheld card reader to your table.

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Mike Loux
Community Member
1 month ago

One thing I hope that stays after COVID is the ability at (most) restaurants to pay online - just scan the QR code on your receipt and roll with it. This way we're also not waiting for the server if we want to leave.

Covid Pan Demic
Community Member
1 month ago

Excuse me while i swipe your credit card

CatWoman312
Community Member
1 month ago

A lot of restaurants are slowly moving away from that

James016
Community Member
1 month ago

I can understand that. My dad has his card cloned in this way once.

I I
Community Member
1 month ago

would me , swipe it in front of me or you're not getting it

Isabel Care
Community Member
1 month ago

Lots of places in UK bring the terminal to the table now

backatya
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

The waiter obviously asked for it and the Brits actually surrendered it. So... Or the Brits could have let the waiter know they'd pay at the cashier instead.

Damon Hill
Community Member
1 month ago

It makes any educated person nervous. In fact, it's been advised for years to look at the card you receive back. Happens way too often that it's the right bank and color but the name is wrong and often the card is expired.

ERIN W.
Community Member
1 month ago

It all the restaurants I've been in they've always brought me back a receipt to sign I would know what's going on and what they did do with my credit card!

Mari Bryant
Community Member
1 month ago

Must be lots of dishonest, thieving types in the UK. Shame.

J Sauires
Community Member
1 month ago

Lots of thieving types in all countries. Shame.

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CSunny
Community Member
1 month ago

I just got paranoid

Hollysmom
Community Member
1 month ago

Makes most of us uncomfortable

Carol Emory
Community Member
1 month ago

Our Brit friends were astounded at the portion sizes of food. We took them out for seafood. They ate just a little bit. I said "You don't like it?" They said "No..we're stuffed. It's so much food!"

Analyn Lahr
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, I don't like that practice.

Susan Widomski
Community Member
1 month ago

Before Covid hit, there were many places that had your card machine right on the table. It seemed a bit safer, but was always a little puzzling to operate.

Pamda Panda
Community Member
1 month ago

The only time my info was stolen was actually at an Urgent Care-- someone went through my wallet while I was getting x-rays after being hit by a car.

John C
Community Member
1 month ago

This is still absolutely common in restaurants - wait staff don't carry wireless transaction terminals, especially in nicer places (those with cloth tablecloths).

Sarah Grape
Community Member
1 month ago

I just pay in cash LOL

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

I dislike this. Am American.

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

This should be illegal and now with the virus they shouldn't touch your belongings for no reason anyway!

Jacqui Dunn
Community Member
1 month ago

I'd have followed it and made sure he didn't take an impression. Easy scam.

Edward Shaw
Community Member
1 month ago

We don't trust waiters in the UK, it's similar to seeing the norm in the US of leaving your credit card behind the bar??

Tabernus
Community Member
1 month ago

is there a correlation between paying waiters less than a living wage and them having an untrustworthy reputation?

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Sawdust
Community Member
1 month ago

It's OK to let them take your credit card as long as it's partially tucked into a folding leatherette folio. :-)

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Believe it or not, most people are honest, and would never even think of stealing anything from you. Besides, they’d just end up getting caught and either losing their job (and would be mentioned in the bad reference given to any place they apply afterward) or going to jail, so it’s generally the kind of risk the majority decide is just not worth taking.

W Bruce Jaworski
Community Member
1 month ago

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Trust breeds a free market, a free market breeds trust.

Jim Day
Community Member
1 month ago

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Most things make Britts uncomfortable. It is how they are raised.

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#18

Cutting lines for things, I’ve seen some people when going to Disney world trying to cut lines for random reasons. Queueing in the uk is like our national sport

CMDR_omnicognate Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Respect the queue! This should be everywhere!

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Redditor TownImmediate9060’s thread about the differences between the US and the UK was a roaring success. It got more than 67.7k upvotes in just over a week. What’s more, the thread got over 51k comments which just goes to show that the OP hit the nail on the head and chose a niche topic that plenty of folks were interested in.

The thread also got over 300 awards, proving that TownImmediate9060’s fellow Reddit users really appreciated them asking the question in the first place.

#19

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK My (British) partner & I (American) were in London, running late to meet our friends. Just as we get to the tube station, I see our train has just pulled in; we haul ass across platform and I yell, “HOLD THE DOOR.” Someone does, we make the train, I don’t see a problem. My partner, by contrast, is mortified. This was 4-5 years ago & he is still mortified. Apparently we were meant to just...let the train leave? Without us?? & wait for the next one???

Ok-Cryptographer8906 , Chris Yang Report

Linus Nilsson
Community Member
1 month ago

On the tube, there's absolutely no reason to "hold the door". The next one will be in in a few minutes, and you will just be a little late. By holding, everyone on the train will be late, and there is actually a possibility that it travels down the line, delaying several trains.

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#20

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Asking new neighbors, "Have you found a church yet?"

boganvegan , Cosmic Timetraveler Report

JuJu
Community Member
1 month ago

That would be weird.

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#21

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Huge portion sizes. Kids meal in U.S is like a adult meal in U.K.

Revolutionary_Ad5901 , Ashley Green Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

"supersize me"

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What’s your opinion about the relationship between the US and the UK, dear Readers? What, in your opinion, makes this relationship between the two special? What do you think are the main cultural differences between Americans and Brits? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. We’d absolutely love to get your take on this, especially if you’re currently living in the US or the UK.

#22

I was in Japan once and there was a vending machine selling beer outside my hotel room.

So, being British, I bought a can and went to the elevator where I shared an excruciating couple of minutes with two American business men. They were horrified at my early day drinking, and I at their willingness to express this.

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Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

What's particularly wrong with day drinking? I mean, night won't reduce your drunkenness

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#23

As a Brit in the US, this is a fun one!

Pharmaceutical adverts on the TV are still weird af to me

The length and frequency of commercial breaks in general on TV is shocking

Low hanging fruit, but anything relating to child beauty pageants just makes me feel physically sick

Here's a nice one: taking 20+ minutes to help a complete stranger who is struggling with something. The amount of times a total stranger has stopped to assist me or someone I know? Y'all really make my heart melt!

Toxic_Orange_DM Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago

This happens in the UK too. I am a woman and I traveled by train with a suitcase too heavy for me to lift and always some lovely man immediately assisted me with getting on and off.

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#24

Spray on cheese

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Felicor Bongolan
Community Member
1 month ago

That's horrifying!

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#25

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Addressing a stranger as ‘Sir’

UnsaddledZigadenus , Wikipedia Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 month ago

To me, this sounds like a good style. How would you address a stranger in the UK?

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#26

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Responding to work emails while on leave/vacation.

rekharai Report

N G
Community Member
1 month ago

I fear this one may be culturally appropriated - I'm in the UK and have worked for people who have done this, and been "encouraged" to do this myself. I have offered once (but that was because it was a big, serious project, and my time off was looking after the MIL's house for two days and I was BORED!)

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#27

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK high fructose corn syrup

itssteveninnit Report

Gillbella
Community Member
1 month ago

Vile stuff

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#28

Chanting the acronym of your country at any given opportunity.

NeonDave Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

Aussie, aussie, aussie, oi oi oi.

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#29

I don’t know how common it actually is there, but going fucking wild at the cinema during a hugely popular film like Avengers: Endgame or a Star Wars film. There’s a bunch of videos on YouTube of the audience reactions to various big franchise films and I don’t know how anybody lasts more than a few minutes in that room.

When I saw The Force Awakens, like two people half-heartedly cheered when the title screen came up and then someone immediately told them to shut up.

pinksoetko Report

Linus Nilsson
Community Member
1 month ago

While talking about american cinemas, why don't they have seat reservation? In Sweden, we book in advance, choosing our seats by how many we are, where the screen is and availability.

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#30

Refuse a drink to a grown-ass taxpaying 20 year old

Chapelirl Report

Alma Mater
Community Member
1 month ago

driving alone at 16 but having to wait till you're 21 to drink a beer ??? doesn't make sense

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Note: this post originally had 55 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.