It's always interesting to travel around the world and experience new cultures and traditions that may be extremely different from what you believe to be the "norm". And even though most of the time these cultural difference spark nothing more but a delightful surprise, there are some differences that are difficult for people to wrap their heads around.

Have you ever thought that there are things that only your country does but seems that everybody else doesn't really understand it at all? Well, according to this askredit thread, Americans definitely have this problem. After getting asked "What is something you didn't realize was typically American until you went abroad?", people flooded the post with an endless list of customs that nobody else in the world would consider to be normal. From garbage disposals and free public bathrooms to extreme portion sizes, Americans like to do things their own way.

Scroll down to read these answers and don't forget to share your delightful cultural differences in the comments!

#1

The prices abroad don't add tax after the fact. You pay what the price shows. No need to figure the tax. Dumb that we do that here.

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Perry Swift
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah, that's a total pain in the arse when you visit the states.

Michael Riley
Community Member
1 year ago

Totally stupid,, and then have to work out the tip.. just pay the workers a living wage that they don’t rely on tips for God’s sake. Another hidden cost.

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Kaisu Rei
Community Member
1 year ago

This is so incredibly stupid, just show the actual price and if you really want to show the tax, then put below the price "includes a tax of X amount"

Daniel (ShadowDrakken)
Community Member
1 year ago

So here's the thing... the reason we do that goes back to "taxation without representation". Before the digital era, rolling the taxes into the price was considered hiding them, not making them plain and visible to the people. Times have changed though, and our computerized cash registers can now show you the taxes even when they're rolled into the sticker price. The laws just haven't caught up.

Tobias Meiner
Community Member
1 year ago

In most European countries that bother (there is no sales tax there, but there is VAT), shops often show both full price and the bet price without tax. Others usually write 'includes X% tax'. Double prices are most common in wholesale shops, as they are frequented by business owners who buy in bulk and can deduct tax from the expenses.

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Sue Arnold
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

You need a calculator to eat out in the states, price, tax, tip. But then you need to add tax to everything you purchase. In Australia, far simpler, our tax, is already included in the price of all purchases, and tipping not a requirement unless you choose to do so.

Avril Vinessa
Community Member
1 year ago

same here in SA. Cannot believe usa so behind.

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Kelly Hartle
Community Member
1 year ago

We sell rocks, gems and minerals at local shows, and we simply charge the price listed, and when it comes time to pay sales tax to the government, we divide the total by 1.07 to figure out how much is ours and how much is for the government. It makes it very easy to handle change, and it's hardly any extra work.

Jason Doakes
Community Member
1 year ago

One of the many US-tricks to screw the costumer into spending more than planned. Many similar mind-tricks are not allowed in most of the civilized world because "Consumer Protection" really means Consumer Protection, not Corporation Protection as in the US.

varwenea
Community Member
1 year ago

It's a huge surprise for foreign visitors.

Shawn Ruester
Community Member
1 year ago

I suspect it's because people want to know how much of there actual bill is going to government taxes and how much is actually going towards the retailer/restaurant/etc.

Tobias Meiner
Community Member
1 year ago

You can always include this information on the price tag. It's not that taxes changes every week. Outside US you also have to show the tax amount and the most common format is 'Price: X, includes y% tax' (even though tax percentage is common knowledge), on an assumption that average consumer is interested in how much they pay and more curious ones can always calculate it if necessary.

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Jacqueline Balaga
Community Member
1 year ago

Because the tax differs from state to state... That would be super annoying to retailers to have to print 50 different labels per item based on where merchandise is being sent...

Tobias Meiner
Community Member
1 year ago

This does not explain why the shops do not simply show price tags with tax added for customer's convenience. Taxes do not change frequently, so there is no reason not to do it.

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Joannie Goulet
Community Member
1 year ago

I'm Canadian and we have to add taxes too. I got really confused about that my first day visiting the UK.

Michelle Cipriano
Community Member
1 year ago

Except we know how much the government costs us while Europeans often have no idea the true value of anything and no concept of how big a chunk their governments are demanding from them.

Rebecca Cote
Community Member
1 year ago

Well I'm glad that I live in one of the few states left that doesn't have a sales tax, except on already prepared food.

Darryl Kerrigan
Community Member
1 year ago

I remember this from the US on holiday as a kid. Me and my sis chose $20 worth of sweets (or candy as the yanks say), crisps, comics etc. and then the bloke on the till ha to explain that we needed more money. I guess it makes Americans better at maths

Jonny Chevalier
Community Member
1 year ago

I like ti shop and see the price straight up. as I budget it. when there is an add on of 13%. it's a blow to the pocket book.

Stannous Flouride
Community Member
1 year ago

In many states it is actually ILLEGAL to include the tax in the price. Not sure why, but it's true.

Isog Sargent
Community Member
1 year ago

Yes. The US is not a different country. Bad bad bad US.

Melanesian Kumul
Community Member
1 year ago

Wait, ya'll pay tax after buying something? Your country is weird.

Curious Cat
Community Member
1 year ago

They do it in Canada.

Philly Cashion
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

I've seen this brought up a few times... No one ever say why? Is it just fun to do it the most awkward way?

Catherine Spencer-Mills
Community Member
1 year ago

Not in Oregon - no sales tax.

Joe Allen
Community Member
1 year ago

I prefer greater tax visibility. The more visible taxes are, the more to the front of your mind they are, the more pissed off you will be about them and the less able the government will be to take your money.

Caroline Driver
Community Member
1 year ago

But, why? How often do shops get someone who says 'I don't have to pay tax'? Drove me crazy when I was in the States, and this was 35 years ago, yet they still do it?

Radrob311
Community Member
1 year ago

Some states (like Delaware) have no sales tax.

Alfie Alfie
Community Member
1 year ago

Canadians find out the tax later too, dumbarses as you say.

Sharon Ingram
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah, I agree. Damn that government transparency everyone else wants.

Elaine Dodge
Community Member
1 year ago

Incredibly dumb. makes no sense whatsoever.

Valerie Lessard
Community Member
1 year ago

ew, this is awful!

Ana B.
Community Member
1 year ago

We do have tax after the fact in Canada, but that IS pretty close to the states. However, I really hate it.

Laura Ess
Community Member
1 year ago

The one time I visited the USA (from Australia) the LACK of including the sales tax in the price was really annoying and frustrating!

Hobbit Girly
Community Member
1 year ago

This is helpful for us folks that can't do head math to save their own ass.

HoffLensMetalHedLovesAnimalsUK
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah never really thought about this one, it would surely improve the already simple function of working out percents which can be handy in life but yeah we have to be presented with the total inclusive costs, i don't really see an issue either way here, it's just what you're used to i guess.

Ophelia Vandergurgleduffen
Community Member
1 year ago

Not in Oregon. You pay what you see.

John Ashley
Community Member
1 year ago

Not everything in the U.S. is taxed and what is taxed (and how much) varies from state to state. For example, in some states, food is not taxed... unless it is food served in a restaurant... and even then it might only be taxed if it is take-out. Or vice-versa. For a local business it's not too complicated, but a nation-wide business has to deal with 51 tax codes.

John Ashley
Community Member
1 year ago

That said, I do agree that it would be nice to see the final price on price tags.

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Julia Christina Eneroth
Community Member
1 year ago

Remember a few years back when I specifically selected what to eat so I could get rid of a bunch of small coins before going back home. Had to use a bill and ended up with loads of new coins :( .

Sue Prewitt
Community Member
1 year ago

To syke you out to think you are paying less than you are.

ForkNBeans
Community Member
1 year ago

The way tax is added in the U.S. really is stupid.

TC
Community Member
1 year ago

Plus the tip? Palmface

Άρης Παπαδόπουλος
Community Member
1 year ago

In the rest of the world the waiter gets a salary he can actually live off and you only (voluntarily) tip if the service was good

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William Teach
Community Member
1 year ago

Actually, it is a good way to understand what taxes are and what they add on, how much of your money goes to government. And since taxes can be different in different cities right next to each other, much less different states, advertising would be difficult.

Bored Moogle
Community Member
1 year ago

Doesn't explain why they can't add that particular city's tax to the price. I doubt the tax is going to change from store to store in the same town.

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Mike
Community Member
1 year ago

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One of the reasons adding tax afterward is to remind people of the fact that they ARE paying a tax and that the government is collecting it. We had a violent discussion about taxes a few years ago.

Broken Bay
Community Member
1 year ago

Then why not have both prices listed?

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A panda-gineer
Community Member
1 year ago

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If it were up to the store, none would include the tax because that way they can look more competitive. This is what we have in US. The reason this doesn’t happen in Europe is not because there is a law saying they have to include tax, but because there is a law that the tax is “value added”. If stores added the tax later (like in US), customers could figure how the markup that the stores place on the products. They don’t want people to know, so they include the tax upfront.

Peko
Community Member
1 year ago

That's not how VAT works

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Shari H
Community Member
1 year ago

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The reason we add tax after the fact here is that the sales tax is different not only from one state to the next but from one county to the next in some places. I live in an area with 7% sales tax, 15 miles down the road there is no sales tax at all.

earringnut
Community Member
1 year ago

The reason we do this is because it feels like you're paying the lower price. It is 100% a lobbyist thing.

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Ryo Bakura
Community Member
1 year ago

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Not the only dumb thing you do. The Simpsons should have ended 20 years ago! What's wrong with you people?

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#2

Being "friendly" to an extent. I checked in at a hostel and walked into the lounge area where people from all over the world were just chilling. I kinda introduced myself to the whole room, and someone goes, "you're from the states, yeah?" And I'm like, "yeah howd you know?" They said, "only an American will walk into a room of strangers and introduce themselves to everybody."

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

I don't see how that's a bad thing....?

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#3

When I went to Australia I found out very quickly that no one down there "roots" for a team - they "go for" a team. So when I said I root for the Red Sox I got a lot of weird looks

(Rooting means fucking in Australian)

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Schrödinger's Dog
Community Member
1 year ago

Oops...

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#4

Sugar. When I visited Japan, even some of their sweetest desserts pale in comparison to how much sugar is in American food.

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M O'Connell
Community Member
1 year ago

I absolutely hate how sweet things are here. EVERYTHING could do with at least 50% less.

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#5

How fat we are. Like, I know we are when compared to the rest of the world. But it made me realize what I think is fat in the US, is grossly obese in Europe. And what's not-fit, but not-fat in the US, is fat is Europe.

There are some hamhogs over there but my god, returning home was an eye opener.

At least we don't smoke as much, I guess.

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TC
Community Member
1 year ago

Sorry to agree with you.

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#6

The stereotype about us being loud is true. I never thought of myself as being loud until I went abroad and would hang up the phone after speaking in what I thought was appropriate volume to find everyone around me was staring at me, and realized how much more quiet they were lol whoops

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María Hermida
Community Member
1 year ago

Everything is relative. Come to Spain and you will start to think that, in comparison, you are as quiet as a mouse. It doesn't matter how loud you are, the average Spaniard is even louder. The level of tolerance to noise here is unbelievable.

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#7

Measuring walking/driving distance in blocks.



It's the unit of measure I use most frequently when giving directions - the restaurant is 3 blocks away, go south one block and then two blocks west, I live six blocks from the grocery store...



It wasn't until I studied abroad in England and got a complete blank look when I asked someone how many blocks away the library was that I realized using "block" as a measurement only makes sense in cities that were largely pre-planned and built on grid system. AKA: not many places outside the US.

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Eunice Probert
Community Member
1 year ago

You have to remember that many town in Europe are actually quite ancient, far older than the USA.

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#8

Red plastic cups for parties. So much so that people outside US use them as an accessory to American themed parties.

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M O'Connell
Community Member
1 year ago

I would be so uncomfortable at an "American-Themed" party. I'm American, but I have absolutely no idea what the expectations would be.

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#9

Ok, so, this one is probably pretty obvious, and looking back on it it’s really embarrassing. My family took a European vacation when I was 17. For some reason, we decided to get KFC in the UK. (Because ‘Murica.)

My friend who came with us went with me to order and pick up our order. We ordered a family size bucket of chicken, and they asked us what kinds of side dishes we wanted. We said “Biscuits.” And the employees looked at us with the strangest look.

UK KFC: “You want . . . biscuits with your chicken?” Me: “Yes. Biscuits.” UK KFC: “We don’t sell those.” Me: “What do you mean you don’t sell biscuits. What are your sides?” UK KFC: “Chips?” Me: “You mean French fries? Ok fine. That’ll do.”

I was worldly enough to know that “chips” meant “French fries”, but “biscuits” in the UK are cookies. My fat ass tried to order fried chicken and cookies. I am positive someone over in the UK is still telling this story at parties as an example of how disgusting Americans are.

Also on this same trip my father asked why our waitress kept saying “cheese”, when she was saying “cheers”. We really left a good impression across the pond.

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Dani
Community Member
1 year ago

Haha! This reminds me of a time when my family was visiting relatives in Japan and because we were from America, my great-aunt decided to take us to an "American restaurant." I loved it because their interpretation of American food was about equivalent in accuracy to our interpretation of Japanese and Chinese cuisine.

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#10

Small avocados.

Went to puerto rico. Was like, ‘yo ill have like 6 of those stuffed avocados’. Buddy was like, ‘yo gringo, i think you underestimate the size of our avocados here. Just have one and ill being you more if you want after’.

I had half of one. It was like a football.

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Bored Fox
Community Member
1 year ago

Small avocados are available in most European countries too.

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#11

Here in the States, pregnancy announcements/reveals/baby showers are mainstream but it's generally a BIG no-no to bring it up in Kenya. My mom found out the hard way. Essentially, asking someone when the baby is due is the equivalent of asking the person "when did you and your husband fuck?" which is considered EXTREMELY rude. The lady my mom asked was gracious about it but said "If we were not such good friends I would have slapped you!"

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Crouching_Penn_Hidden_Teller@yahoo.com
Community Member
1 year ago

A guy from Pakistan I had just met asked me why I wasn't married. I told him in the US that's a rude question. His immediate response was to ask me again!

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#12

Garbage disposals in sinks.

When I moved to the UK, my flatmates asked how in movies people would stick their hands in the sink drain and it be ripped apart. I told them about garbage disposals and they were very weirded out.

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Blakkur Sverrir
Community Member
1 year ago

In most parts of Germany they are forbidden. The reason is that the scraps would feed the rat population under ground

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#13

Having your drink constantly refilled at restaurants. I just wanna drink a ton of water alright?

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Julia Christina Eneroth
Community Member
1 year ago

Here in Sweden many restaurants let customers get a bottle of water to the table. Then we can chose ourselves when we want to refill.

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#14

Buying stuff and the cashier putting your items in a plastic or paper bag. Went to Germany, and found it strange they don't bag your items. Everyone just brings their own bag or dumps their stuff in a back pack.

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Eunice Probert
Community Member
1 year ago

That's because we're trying to save the planet, one unused plastic bag at a time. Having to pay 10p for plastic bags in supermarkets cut bag use by 80% in Wales in one year.

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#15

Root beer is apparently disgusting and an offense to most of the worlds palate.

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diane a
Community Member
1 year ago

Yep - tastes like Germolene ointment smells

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#16

I moved to England from Texas about six years ago. One of the major things that I noticed was that smiling and being friendly towards strangers was considered bizarre. This is a bit true in any metropolitan area, but especially in the UK. In Texas I was used to smiling at people, asking for directions if I needed them, and being friendly towards strangers. I learned very quickly that smiling at someone on the tube, or asking someone for directions on the street immediately makes someone think you’re trying to scam/rob them or you’re crazy.

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Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
1 year ago

Smiles and friendly talk is one thing Americans should share with others.

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#17

Ranch flavor Doritos in the Netherlands are called "Cool American" flavor.

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Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
1 year ago

Hahaha.. the only time 'muricans are cool overseas.

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#18

Keeping AC on 100% of the time in the summer.

Visited Madrid for about a month to see the exchange student we housed, and found that they typically only turn on AC at Night to sleep or when it reaches a damned 105 deg F.

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anisub
Community Member
1 year ago

in Switzerland no one has an ac in their house but our houses are also better built than your wood houses haha^^ that's something i don't get, you have these hurricanes and storms and everything but your houses are so poorly built..

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#19

Massively wide roads/lanes. The whole of Ireland made me feel claustrophobic, but when I got back home the roads felt like way too much wasted space.

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Pollypocket81
Community Member
1 year ago

But... its a beautiful country :)

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#20

Going out to a restaurant. In America, you are seated ASAP, and then they bring you drinks, appetizers, entree, desert and then check as quick as they possibly can (if it's good service) for a total time of 45 minutes to an hour and a halfish. Staying past this time is seen as a bit rude. In Europe, going out to eat seemed to be more of an event that you slowly enjoyed for a longer period of time. First, they you bring you drinks and an appetizer for the first hour. Then the second hour is the entree and desert. Then it's more drinks for another half hour or so. I don't know if it's because we were American but it seemed like the wait staff everywhere we went was annoyed that we were rushing them, when we just thought it was bad service and didn't understand the routine.

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...
Community Member
1 year ago

Who has 5 hours to spend at a restaurant?

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#21

Road trips...at least just jumping in the car and driving a few hours without giving it much thought. I live in a large western state and it seems at least every other weekend my family and I were in the car traveling for a few hours to see some site, go into Mexico or another state.

I have relatives in Switzerland and they were going to drive us to the Frankfurt airport and I was blown away how big of a deal it was to them. My uncle had the car inspected, shopped around for gas, and printed off travel and weather reports. All for a trip my dad would have said "hey lets do this this weekend, in the car kids!"

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Bruce Robb
Community Member
1 year ago

In the US, 100 years is a long time. In Europe, 100 miles is a long distance.

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#22

Having plenty of *FREE* bathrooms around for the public to use.

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Eunice Probert
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

Oh good lord yes. If a county council tries to close one, there is a heck of a protest. We demand plenty of public loos.

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#23

I doubt this is restricted to America in any way, but when I studied abroad in the UK, the lack of public drinking laws was a bit of a culture shock. Being able to walk outside with a bottle of beer was very freeing

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Bored Fox
Community Member
1 year ago

If anyone visits Finland the alcohol laws here are very confusing - also for us Finns. You can visit a store that is open 24hours but you can't buy alcohol drinks between 9 pm and 9 am. If you want alcohol drinks that have over 5,5% volume of alcohol (like vodka that often has 40%) then you have to buy them from a separate store called Alko that is not open 24/7 and is often closed on sundays and holidays. It is also not a good idea to drink alcohol on a public place because police may confiscate your drinks. Also alcohol is really expensive here so many Finnish people buy alcohol from Estonia or Russia. But at least you can buy alcohol and visit bars when you are 18 years old.

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#24

I was struck by the extent to which nobody talks to strangers in northern Europe ... Even in big cities in the US, people will talk to each other sometimes in line, on the subway, etc. Not deep conversations, but it isn't weird to make casual conversation.

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C Bragg
Community Member
1 year ago

Maybe I was born in the wrong country, I hate small talk and I don't smile at strangers.

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#25

How large grocery stores are here. My wife is not american and we lived in China and were in HK all the time... they had large international stores that were great and she didnt really grasp the size of american grocery stores till our first week in the USA and there's 150 feet of cereals on one aisle

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Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
1 year ago

You could house, clothe and feed a small village in some American superstores.

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#26

S’mores. I was in New Zealand having a bonfire on the beach and someone went and grabbed a bag of marshmallows and then everyone just ate them??! By themselves?! And someone from Sweden asked me if s’mores were a real thing or only on tv. I was flabbergasted.

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

I hope you introduce it to them and changed their lives.

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#27

My British friend makes fun of me for how much cheese I use in my cooking.

Doesn't stop her from inhaling my potato casseroles, but there you go.

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KarmaQueen
Community Member
1 year ago

My husband would be in heaven. He always says "the more cheese the better."

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#28

I am not American but visit the U.S alot and I tell you,almost all Americans has this habit of giving the 'half smile look' to anyone,that is not just normal anywhere else

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KarmaQueen
Community Member
1 year ago

Not sure what this means? Half smile look when confronting someone as they walk past you, to be nice?

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#29

24 hour stores.

It's weird not being able to buy random sh*t at 4am...

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Noez 🇸🇪
Community Member
1 year ago

Makes no sense... We have lots of 24 hour stores over here?

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#30

At a buffet in Germany, I had to pay for ketchup

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Bored Fox
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

That's strange. Here in Finland ketchup and mustard are usually free part of the buffet food.

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