The United States of America is the land of the free and full of opportunities. It is one of the largest economies in the world and it has always amassed people for the life one can create there. But, like every country, it has its own way of functioning and the people living there have their own culture. And if you are also attracted to this country and would like to travel to the United States or you are planning of moving there, you should expect to encounter things you‘ve never seen before or things done differently to what you are used to.

A few days ago, Reddit user Ymij asked people to share some things Americans don‘t realize exist only in the United States. And people had a lot to say. The post got more than 10k answers and Bored Panda gathered a list of some of the most upvoted responses.

More info: Reddit

#1

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America GoFundMe being an acceptable replacement for a health care system

GTrav44 , gofundme Report

Ulrike Sponagel
Community Member
3 months ago

☹️😭

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#2

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Literally being too poor to go to the doctor, but have too much income for any kind of assistance

kaden123drake , Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja Report

Terilee Bruyere
Community Member
3 months ago

THIS! I remember a time that my dad had gotten laid off and my mum was dealing with health issues. They were simply down on their luck and filed for food stamps. Due to their Canadian pension they only qualified for $18 in food stamps a month and made too much to have health insurance, just adding to the health issues.

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#3

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Tipping as a wage subsidy. Many countries don’t have tipping and those that do generally tip a small amount for good service.

Also displayed prices not including taxes or other fees.

Impossible-Buy-4090 , Wikimedia Commons Report

Nikki Hilton
Community Member
3 months ago

This! Pay everyone a living wage and do away with tips!

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#4

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Pronouncing corruption as "lobbying"

GSLaaitie , RJA1988 Report

Lisa Frühauf
Community Member
3 months ago

Oh, we Germans kinda do that, too, actually 😅

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#5

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Assuming that everyone on the internet is American until proven otherwise.

Officer_Cat_Fancy_ , Steven Martin Report

Helena R
Community Member
3 months ago

Everything in American-English too rather than British-English. things that are translated from almost any other language into American-English rather than British-English regardless of the subject matter

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#6

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America The pledge of allegiance. If you tell people here that in America they make kids stand up and recite some prayer to a flag every single morning, they'll look at you like you just grew a third arm.

emissaryofwinds , USAG- Humphreys Report

Karl Baxter
Community Member
3 months ago

We’d call that indoctrination in the UK. I remember speaking with an elderly Italian man who was a child when Mussolini came to power. He told me they were forced to do similar things at school.

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#7

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America I want to say for-profit prison systems.

These things are f***** up. If the state doesn't keep up the prisoner quota they gotta pay a fine to the company they owns the prison.

So this basically makes them try to keep existing prisoners

downtimeredditor , Molly Haggerty Report

Pezor Zass
Community Member
3 months ago

And lobby for laws that put more people in jail

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#8

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Gender reveal parties

jemariebearimy , highlander411 Report

Spork420
Community Member
3 months ago

Most Americans think they're ridiculous too tbh.

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#9

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America People who angrily DO NOT WANT healthcare.

spammmmmmmmy , Presidencia de la República Mexicana Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

It's so much more than that. It's not that they dont want healthcare, they dont want to pay for SOMEONE ELSE'S healthcare.

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#10

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Having the restaurant take your credit card - in most countries it's considered impolite to disappear with the card as they might write the digits down to charge extra later. Therefore they normally bring a portable terminal to your table so you can keep the card in eyesight and have the (optional) tip actually charged when the card is run and not added after the fact.

Broadmin , Unknown Report

Johnny
Community Member
3 months ago

Most places use chip-and-pin where they *have* to take the card at the table since you need to enter your PIN. USA credit card banks decided Americans aren't smart enough for chip-and-pin, so we just have chip and an archaic signature.

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#11

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America The Imperial System, Fahrenheits, massive ad breaks. I swear i watched US Television once and i nearly had time to go take a s*** before the adbreak ended. And i'm one of those people that play on their phone while on the throne

Pyanez11 , ilovebutter Report

𝔹𝕖𝕝𝕝𝕒
Community Member
3 months ago

Yeah, I kinda agree with this one.

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#12

I am from Europe and I have never seen in supermarkets scooters for people that are so obese they can't walk by themselves.

indigo-wolf Report

Kanishka Patel
Community Member
3 months ago

This is sad

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#13

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Medical debt

CIA_grade_LSD , Grant Source Report

Winx
Community Member
3 months ago

Add "who is paying their debt while also stopping treatment because they can't continue accruing more debt"

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#14

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Waiting like 8 weeks after your elections till the new guy comes in to power is pretty f****** weird

Snoo61123 , GPA Photo Archive Report

Kanishka Patel
Community Member
3 months ago

yeah...

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#15

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Massive gaps on all sides of toilet cubicle doors, like why even bother with a door at all when people can see through so easily

digitalelise , Victoria_Borodinova Report

Biana Vacker
Community Member
3 months ago

i know- you can literally stare someone in the face while they are going to the bathroom

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#16

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Flags. Everywhere

psyk738178 , WTF Colorado Report

Pezor Zass
Community Member
3 months ago

How else can they keep up the illusion that they live in a country worth celebrating?

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#17

This may be a shot in the dark but product prices not including tax when they’re displayed? Like if something says it’s $10 and you only have $10, what’s with the surprise tax at the till?

ninjapotatoprd Report

Nikki Hilton
Community Member
3 months ago

Different taxes in different states. But yeah.

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#18

Your toxic grind working culture. I find that Americans define their entire personality around their profession. It all feels so shallow and hollow way of living. Like I work so I can do the things I enjoy ( pre covid) I don't work because it defines me as a person.

vietcong420 Report

I am not an addict
Community Member
3 months ago

Work to live, don't live to work.

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#19

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Absurdly long election campaigns. In most countries I've been to election campaigns last a month or two, in the US they seem to go for a full year.

BerserkBoulderer , Unknown Report

Biana Vacker
Community Member
3 months ago

we get sooo many ads too; they're literally everywhere and most of them are attack ads with questionable information

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#20

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America College sports, people do not care about nor have college sports like we do here.

UnusualLight0 , Unknown Report

Pezor Zass
Community Member
3 months ago

it's disgusting the amount of money my school spends on sports, and we're not even remotely a sporty school

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#21

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Food portion sizes... In EU you get food portions you can finish and are generally calculated to be pretty much fill/satisfy you over the entire meal.

When I go to the US I can fill myself up with half of the appetizer

Drumah , Wikimedia Commons Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
3 months ago

the meal in the picture is not an American one.

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#22

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Unused vacation days

Banana_Gorilla , Unknown Report

Aroha
Community Member
3 months ago

Yeah in my country, if you don't take your minimum of 5 weeks of holiday per year, it will be scheduled for you. Literally your manager will force you to relax :D.

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#23

The use of the words junior, sophomore and senior in school. I don't think I have ever heard these outside of an American TV show or movie.

No-Soft-3703 Report

Kanishka Patel
Community Member
3 months ago

Yeah it is pretty weird. Why not just say 9th, 10th , 11th, and 12 grade? Seems much more simple. I am going to be in high school next year and I am Indian but I live in America. I am used to saying junior, sophomore, etc. but my mom finds it really confusing. This seems so unnecessary.

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#24

I can't speak for the whole world, but having elections on a weekday seems crazy to me. We do it in the weekend so that people are off work anyway.

frosty_hotboy Report

Pezor Zass
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm good with it being a weekday, but it should be a national holiday

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#25

A single pool of paid time off that you use for both vacation and sick leave. Therefore having to forego vacation to keep a bank of leave just in case you get ill.

littleloucc Report

Winx
Community Member
3 months ago

This is a bad policy because everyone comes to work sick so they can still take vacation days.

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#26

People constantly thanking god for every day occurrences

toshredsyousay6502 Report

Suzy the observer
Community Member
3 months ago

Way too much religion everywhere and about everything.

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#27

Those commercials featuring some sort of drug or medication. With the typical closing where the narrator states "Side effects includes blah blah blah...Discuss with your doctor about blah blah blah"

Noor_awsome Report

BookCrazyTeen
Community Member
3 months ago

It’s very annoying

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#28

Tipping, most other places actually pay their waiters/waitresses and tippings just for extremely good service or rounding up.

Undisclosed-Fruit Report

Nikki Hilton
Community Member
3 months ago

Already noted. Pay everyone a living working wage (NOT $7.50/hr). Do away with tipping.

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#29

Having to drive everywhere. I'm 27-years-old, not from the US and never learnt to drive. I've also never felt like I needed it.

FreshNebula Report

Pezor Zass
Community Member
3 months ago

This, bigtime.

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#30

It's pretty funny watching Americans moan over their super-cheap petrol prices. "But we drive everywhere, cars are fundamental to our society". Yep, same here in Australia, too. Your fuel is still incredibly cheap.

vacri Report

Viviane
Community Member
3 months ago

I live in Canada and one of my friends did a cross-country drive via the USA to take advantage of cheaper gas.

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#31

Garbage disposal units in sinks. I've been to nearly 20 countries, and I've never seen one.

TypingLobster Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
3 months ago

One of the primary concerns of using garbage disposals is that it puts excess strain on local wastewater treatment centers. All of the food solids in the wastewater must be filtered out. Those solids are used to create fertilizer or are sent to landfills.

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#32

Longer ad breaks in the Muppet Show.

The UK version had two minutes of extra content in every episode due to restrictions on the amount of ads you could play on British TV.

That's 240 minutes of extra Muppet content that most Americans never saw.

JeremiahSpankMouth Report

Fred and George Weasley
Community Member
3 months ago

the UK has limited ad amounts. theyre regulated, so you can only have 12 minutes of ads per hour. obviously in the US im guessing its not the same

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#33

Playing the national anthem before sporting events. There may be a handful of other countries that do, but in much of the world it's only played for international matches.

SkippyNordquist Report

Alexis draskinis
Community Member
3 months ago

I still dont understand why its played. Its a sporting event, a game, nothing more. Im a baseball fan & i can care less about it being played. I want to watch the game.

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#34

Your identity politics used to be just in America, then it spilled out like a burst sewage pipe.

Consistscent Report

Tammy Hawkins
Community Member
3 months ago

Can not disagree with that statement

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#35

Red solo cups. My european cousins asked me if parties in the us really had those red cups.

Belgianwafflz Report

angie but who cares
Community Member
3 months ago

yuppp they taste better for some reason just like a grilled cheese tastes better cut

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#36

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Bumper stickers. They’re a lot less common in Europe anyway, not sure about the rest of the world.

Random_Machiavelli , dalliedee Report

Deborah Clarke
Community Member
3 months ago

But, but, but! Don't you want to know what I think?!

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#37

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Nearly everything about their high schools

Unfair-Act-4499 , Wikimedia Commons Report

N G
Community Member
3 months ago

That's a bit vague. High schools have lessons across the world, are populated with hormonal teens across the world, have school meals across the world - there's certainly a difference in quality here, but it's not a weird American thing. So, everything else...?

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#38

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Free refills at restaurants

milwaukeeminnesota , James Petts Report

SimplySarcastic40
Community Member
3 months ago

one of the things i missed living 9 years abroad was this right here...i drink a lot of water. only water, but a lot of it and having to ask for refills of water and getting side-eye was something i never got used to.

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#39

Stores like Wal-Mart where you can buy everything that are open all the time. Groceries, alcohol, plants, medicine, tires, toys...

The first time I went to Germany on a work trip it was a bank holiday and everything was closed.

I live in Jerusalem now and there is a separate store for everything.

windwalker28 Report

Terilee Bruyere
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm in the bible belt. Alcohol can be bought 24/6 here (no sales on Sunday) at Walmart but the actual pharmacy is not open at night.

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#40

Girl Scout cookies?

iamnotdoctordoom Report

Biana Vacker
Community Member
3 months ago

THIN MINTS

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#41

Graham Crackers.

Remember when I picked up a friend's mother and her friend at the airport, fresh from the US. One of them was like 'They don't have Graham crackers here?' I'm like nah mate we have crackers for everyone.

EdwardCosmos Report

Diddlybop
Community Member
3 months ago

It's discrimination to only give crackers to ppl called Graham ):

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#42

Weird-American-Things-Just-In-America Parking lot size. I’ve been to about 20 different countries, all over the place, and I have never seen a standard Walmart sized parking lot anywhere out of America.

Upstairs_Cow , Walmart Report

Theoretical Empiricist
Community Member
3 months ago

You can also thank our tragic shadow of a public transportation system and how far we're spread out. In may instances, driving (and therefore parking) is the only option.

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#43

Buscuits and gravy. This conjures up images of having a plate of cookies smothered in a sauce made from the the meat juices of a roast.

plasmadrive Report

angie but who cares
Community Member
3 months ago

thats cause we call it somthing else

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#44

I wanna say jaywalking. Like, in Europe, you can pretty much cross a road wherever you want but when I visited America there seemed to be this weird sense you were being judged if you walked out into an empty road. Maybe just me idk.

Caughtinjail1 Report

Ulrike Sponagel
Community Member
3 months ago

There is some sort of debate whether jaywalking is or isn’t frowned upon in Germany - many people believe that the Germans are sticklers for traffic etiquette when it comes to walking across a street on a red light, and, indeed, Germans will stand even when it would be safe to cross - for the sake of setting the right example for any nearby children. So, it might be the same everywhere.

François Carré
Community Member
3 months ago

I read this in a book about Berlin years ago : "Berlin might be the only city in the world where you can see a drunk punk guy waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green before crossing an empty street at midnight".

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Sloopi
Community Member
3 months ago

The concept of Jaywalking as an offence was initiated by the US car industry to shift the blame for pedestrian casualties from drivers to walkers.

Anxiety
Community Member
3 months ago

Jaywalking is against the law, but people don’t really care that much, or at least where I live. If the roads empty you run across the highway to get to your job.

Elaine Dodge
Community Member
3 months ago

Trying to stop jaywalking in Africa would be like trying to stop the sun from shinning.

Jane Alexander
Community Member
3 months ago

Depends on where you are. New York City it's a ticket!

WillemPenn
Community Member
3 months ago

LA takes it very seriously too. When I lived in Philly we did it all the time. Spent a fair bit of time in DC as well and never had a problem

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Yugan Talovich
Community Member
3 months ago

Taipei tried to enforce a law against jaywalking. The police gave up after a week. Usually now they don't bother you unless you're obstructing traffic.

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

You mean like the video game Frogger? You just dart out into oncoming traffic to get across? I’ve seen European driving. What’s the fatality rate for jaywalking?

brukernavn340
Community Member
3 months ago

In Norway, there's no law against jaywalking.

Ashley Conover
Community Member
3 months ago

It's mainly so people can be safe and not have a great risk of being hit by a vehicle or motorcycle. Crosswalks are there so that vehicles, motorcycles, etc know when to stop if there is a stop sign or if there are people walking across the street.

Robert T
Community Member
3 months ago

Yes, but there can be half a mile between crosswalks on some roads. Do you really expect people to walk half a mile down the road, use the crosswalk and then walk half a mile back again?

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Helen Haley
Community Member
3 months ago

A) we don't want anyone to get run over. B) you mess up someones car because you couldn't be bothered to walk to the corner. C) you just made someone a potential killer because you couldn't bother walking to the corner.

Liam Walsh
Community Member
3 months ago

They mean when the road is empty though and people still aren't supposed to cross. Europeans aren't charging headlong into traffic.

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Aeon Flux
Community Member
3 months ago

Depends on where you are. Perfectly fine in New York.

Okay Dokey
Community Member
3 months ago

Sorry but you are wrong about that. It is actually in most european laws, people just don't give a f**k and mostly don't know about it.

Lindiwe Ngwevela
Community Member
3 months ago

The American system has created ways to criminalise just about everything as a way to generate finances from fines and bail money. In South Africa, Venezuela, and Trinidad I jaywalk WITH the cops cause nobody cares.

rgr8
Community Member
3 months ago

I think it is illegal technically.

markthomasc
Community Member
3 months ago

I read that when people first started driving cars that the automakers panicked when so many pedestrians were hit by cars so they found a way to market it as the pedestrians fault. A jay walker was an insulting term similar to a dunce. Up until then the roads were shared space for people, wagons, and horses.

Ji
Community Member
3 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

Sill Marien
Community Member
3 months ago

It's because you WALK, what are you doing with your legs maaan?

CatWoman312
Community Member
3 months ago

Well people don’t want to get hit by a car so it’s safer to mind the crosswalks

Jarrod Nichols
Community Member
3 months ago

If the road is empty, who is judging you? I call shenanigans on this post.

Di Carr
Community Member
3 months ago

We were in America on holiday a couple of years and a police man told us off for jay walking - we had no idea that you couldn't just walk across a road. In NZ we cross roads wherever we want.

Yvonne Blau
Community Member
3 months ago

I've noticed in this whole post how "Europe" seems to be treated like it it was one country where everything is the same or similar. Doesn't feel right somehow, especially when it comes to sticking to traffic regulations.

Leslie Burleson
Community Member
3 months ago

Lol, nobody cares about jaywalking. We actually use it as a joke

Linda Jansen
Community Member
3 months ago

Here we have a law that if you are close to a designated point fore crossing, you can not cross somewere els. olmost everybody keeps to that rule.

Linda Jansen
Community Member
3 months ago

The netherlands.

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Roxy Eastland
Community Member
3 months ago

Nooo. And not just Germany. A family member had a job in Denmark for five years and she said she never quite worked out what the rules were when you could step in the road and when you couldn't there. There was an unspoken and quite complex code, it seems.

Louloubelle
Community Member
3 months ago

Yes, I guess that's why my neighbor got hit by a car in France.

Pheebs
Community Member
3 months ago

I only judge people who cross in the middle of busy traffic, causing people to slam on their brakes to avoid them. I don’t care where you cross, as long as you’re not running out from behind a car or tree or something.

Music Mania
Community Member
3 months ago

Less being judged more being afraid of being run down by motorists. I can always spot the American's when I visit Europe because they are overly cautions at cross walks.

Valerie S. Mayer
Community Member
3 months ago

And you will not only be judged, but run-over! Welcome to America

Parker Kinsey
Community Member
3 months ago

In some cities in the U.S. people wait until the crosswalk sign tells them to walk, even if no cars are coming.

StnFlwr
Community Member
3 months ago

We frown upon pedestrians running out in front of our moving vehicles.

magnadar
Community Member
3 months ago

In switzerland you have the right of way on a crosswalk (sometimes you brake to nearly stillstanding because someone seems to use it, but doesn't) and its even fined/forbidden to jaywalk within 50m to a crosswalk.

Iusedtobecute
Community Member
3 months ago

Some big cities get lots of ticket money from jaywalkers I guess. But I've never been to any place that cared as long as you were being safe. It makes sense though to not cross wherever. We've had several people killed in my city recently from running out in front of cars.

Tim Haight
Community Member
3 months ago

If the pigs stop you for jaywalking, they can now search you (called probable cause). and if they find drugs or a gun, they will turn you everyway but loose. Its worse if you are black. Many departments call it stop and frisk

lara
Community Member
3 months ago

If you get run over when you jaywalk you are at fault.

B Jones
Community Member
3 months ago

I'm okay with Jay walking, as long as you take responsibility if you just hop into traffic without looking and get hit instead of using a crosswalk

Rhys Cernunnos
Community Member
3 months ago

It is for your own safety, but by all means.. be an idiot.

EQXL
Community Member
3 months ago

My experience with Germans and traffic is that they're really social in it and actually share responsibility. On the other hand for what I've learned walking in North America is pretty much frowned upon in general except for some inner cities.

Dark_flame
Community Member
3 months ago

I Sweden it's frowned upon and people don't really care, but you could legally be charged with it and get a fine... Don't think people care enough to report anyone tho, and even then ai don't see the police wasting time on it

Aunt Messy
Community Member
3 months ago

In Canada, you might get a ticket for jaywalking on a really busy street, but no one really enforces that.... In Toronto, it's a sport. CAN you beat that streetcar?

Tim Haight
Community Member
3 months ago

for the driver that would be 100 points (for reference watch Death Race 2000)

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Jods
Community Member
3 months ago

Driving round the Covent Garden area of London and I stopped at a zebra crossing. Felt to be there for hours watching an endless stream of people using the crossing. Never made that mistake again.

Sawyer Kidder31148
Community Member
3 months ago

Technically jay walking is illegal. I do it anyways though!

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#45

It always surprises me when someone from another country has never heard of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

helplessAteverything Report

Tammy Hawkins
Community Member
3 months ago

We say "peanut butter and jelly" but it really is jam and that has always bothered me. Jam spreads way better than jelly.

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Note: this post originally had 50 images. It’s been shortened to the top 45 images based on user votes.