How to avoid some awkward situations abroad? The US is home to some customs that are very confusing to foreigners. Do you know which habits you should leave in the US before heading out on your travels? Check out this list of things Americans do that confuse the rest of the world.
No metric system 1:04
Customizing restaurant orders 2:30
Vacation time 3:15
Can I get a to-go box, please? 4:42
Alcohol laws 6:35
Variety of goods 7:13
Thumbs up 8:15
Being extremely patriotic 9:06
Sales tax 9:59
#americanfood #americanrules #newyork
- The rest of the world is familiar with meters for measurements, kilograms for weight, liters for volume, and Celsius for temperature. But not the US! Only 3 countries in the world still use the imperial system of measurements: Myanmar, Liberia, and the US.
- In America, it’s customary to request substitutions, additions, or changes to a menu order. But some foreign cultures that take great pride in their cuisine might consider it impolite if an American wanted to make substitutions, order a different sauce, or ask for an item to be left out of a dish.
- Americans have very little time off compared to the rest of the world. 30% of American workers have 5 to 9 days off annually, 38% have 10 to 14 days, and 16% have 15 to 19 days. 8% have less than 5 days, and a lucky 2% have over 24 days. This means that the vast majority of Americans only have 10 to 14 days of vacation. Since there’s no law in the US to say that vacation time is mandatory, one out of every 4 Americans doesn’t get a single day off work.
- A common American custom is to ask for a to-go box for their leftovers. However, if you do this in a foreign country, it might be frowned upon.
- In America, given that waiters earn a small wage, it is customary to leave a 15%–20% tip. In Europe and most Asian countries, the service charge for restaurant dining is already included in the bill. Tipping in countries like China and Japan is practically nonexistent.
- Most countries in the world have a legal drinking age of 18 or 19 years old. The US, along with countries like Sri Lanka, Samoa, and Kuwait, has a legal drinking age of 21.
- Foreigners are amazed by the variety of goods sold in American supermarkets and pharmacies. Foreign supermarkets are mostly designed to offer food and a few home necessities. American superstores like Walmart offer a huge selection of food, furniture, car items, home improvement tools, and clothing.
- Americans might think that giving someone the thumbs up is a universally positive sign, meaning “Well done!” or “Everything’s good!” But don’t use this gesture in Australia, Greece, or the Middle East as it's a rude way of telling someone to get lost. You might think that pointing at something is OK, but not in China! That gesture is considered to be very rude.
- A lot of foreign countries reserve the use of their national flag for official government buildings. But in the US, you see the flag everywhere.
- An aspect that confuses most foreigners visiting the United States is sales tax. They might be confused when they take an item to the register only to find out that it costs more than advertised. In Europe, sales tax is already added to the price displayed on the price tag; in the US, it gets added at the register.
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Whilst the UK has only been metric since 1971 and the younger generation don't know any other way, older folk still often think in Imperial measurements. I was unfortunately part of the last year at school to be taught in imperial measures but also the first year where the maths O-level exam was set in metric. Metric measures are the norm when buying nearly everything in shops and shop assistants look puzzled when I ask for the measures to be translated into English measures, ie imperial.
@Annabelle Stenfield You should be! But, the US is not a saint country! Instead of that it lost it's innocence long before 9/11! I'm not trying to be insulting because me as a European should be gratefull for what the US did in the past and is still doing things well, but it's not a saint country!
I was believing everything you were saying untill you got to the finger horns. Although in Colombia and many Latin countries horn finger do mean your spouse is being unfaithful, in order to comunicate that you need to put the horns on your forhead. Contex is everything. I doubt people will get that message if someone is rocking out doing horn finger up in the air.
5:00 - I like the custom in the US of a to-go-box or "doggy bag". Food is sacred and throwing it away is a sin. period.
P.S.: Tipping in Portugal isn´t being done if your having your beverage while standing at the counter of a café. It´s considered like being a shop´s desk where one just has a technical drink and wants to save money. In fact Portugal, especially in the past had a three step varied pricing scale. A coffee at a café´s counter would cost the least. The same beverage at an individual table inside the place had cost respectively more. And outside, like on the terrace or the sidewalk, was the third category. This system has got out of fashion, though it had its logic. Chairs and tables cost money, occupy more space, therefore cost more rent and the way a waiter has to walk in order to serve is longer and more time consuming. Tables outside the place + sunshades need to be put up every day and put in. >>> More work, longer ways.
To address the many comments which take some form similar to "why don't they simply do things in the US as they do in my country"......well, why don't you do things in your country the way they are done in the US?
Every place can and should have their own customs, period. When I travel, I research the etiquette and customs of that country and use that manner of behavior and also I respect the local habits and ways of doing things. I feel that this is behaving in a polite and respectful manner. Why should it be any different for someone originating from outside the US when they travel to the US.
I'm very certain that if a US citizen suggested that another country change their customs to be like the US......that person would immediately be considered an "arrogant American" while at the same time, those suggesting that the US change to be like their own country are being blind to their own behavior.
tl;dr Every culture has their own habits and customs and we all should respect these habits and customs.
AS to your first comment that Americans are more familiar with the non-imperial system, that s false. Americans expect all other regions to understand their skewed way of imperial to a tee. We do NOT. An american gallon is not a gallon, an american cup is not a cup, nor is an american pound a pound. Your system bewilders the world, and unless the US converts to Metric in basic education you will always be pariah's. Apart from your supreme arrogance, which is surprising for a nation which has not won a single war without support from other nations. Net a single one!
I used to work for a major clothing and housewares company in the U.S.A. that gave 10 days off a year after only 2 or 3 years and also about 10 days of unpaid excused days after only 3 years or so. Literally if you could afford it you could take at least one day a month off with pay and one day a month off without pay after only 3 years.
So I eventually got to the point that a few weeks ahead I would always ask for a specific Friday off each month so that I could have a 3 day weekend every month. It worked out for a while.
I'm from Ireland but, i'm completle sure about are we alloued to have the national flag everywhere. Tbh with you guys, a lot (Not all) have the national flag attachet, but its more to be the cars. Failte:)
This video has a mistake regarding the location of Liberia when they are discussing the Metric System. Liberia is not located in the center of Africa as shown in the illustration, it is located in the West coast of Africa, near Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast, That country shown in the illustration looks more like the CAR or Central African Republic, but not Liberia.
Although America appears to be a ONE giant of a Nation, in reality, there are 50 Nations that have chosen to work together delegating some responsibilities to the Federal Government that has no Land of its own.
Maria Varela you are right America is a continent and not a country. Just like Africa is a continent comprising of many many countries. America is a continent that includes Canada 🇨🇦 as well as Mexico 🇲🇽 and drinking ages in Mexico and Canada are not 21. We don’t learn the US pledge of allegiance in school and we use the metric system.
I’m an American who lived in Europe. When I was there I loved that the price you see on the shelf is the same price you pay at the register. Because they include the taxes when they show the price. Being back in America it drives me up the wall that I never really know how much I’ll pay when I reach the check out. In Germany, I wasn’t doing well financially at one point and I had to rely on knowing the exact cent of how much I was going to pay. In America, it’s just one big marketing scheme to make it look like you’re going to pay less.
Yes, they did. I was a kid in elementary school at the time and we were being taught metric. Like the video said, the metric effort was voluntary, so nobody bothered with it and it died out by the end of the 80's. However, lots of things use metric (2-liter soda bottles, 5K races, medical and science fields). I've used both and metric is far easier to use, once you get a feel for it. Most people's problem is that they can't visualize how big each unit is, so they choose to avoid using metric if possible.
There is a nomad in all of us, and Americans are no exception. In their wanderlust, they go to many sparsely populated places and run into local rural communities ... I am yet to run into an american who even knows about your channel, but just like people of any other country the ratio of the ignorant to knowledgeable is about 50-50. Which means that regardless of what americans think, they too are a part of the planet. They too were born after swimming in the amniotic fluid in their mother's wombs like other humans.
Expecting to eat with forks and spoons for example ... is unheard of in many areas in the sub-continent.
And then there is the issue of immunity. Even though the U.S. government requires her citizens to get shots before embarking on journeys into tropical countries, invariably they fall sick when they arrive, say, in a city like Nowgaon, Brahmagiri, or Trashigang .... that is simply because the people in those places do not live under the near-sterile conditions that exist in the U.S. where just about *everything* is regulated to an obnoxious maximum, caused by the morbid fear on the part of the corporations of getting sued out of their existence.
Every now and then I tun into your "lists" which border on being totally absurd and useless. The universe does not revolve around the USA. Personally, I have nothing against the US. I live in it. The particular joy of living in the U.S. is the ability to have my opinions without fear of persecution. The only other place I can be as I am is India.
It would make a lot more sense if the focus is on how best an american can belong to the rest of the planet rather than expecting the rest of the planet to adjust to suit american demands. This may actually apply more to China as well .... so even there, the U.S. is not unique.
I dont think i have ever seen that here in switzerland. Sure there are to go restaurants, that specifically sell this. But if you go to a normal sitdown restaurant with waiters and all, it would be highly unusual to ask for the left overs to go. So the waiter probably wouldnt be offended or anything but most likely the restaurant just wouldnt have adequate containers or so.
If I’m paying for a meal, the chef is working for me...I should get what I want. If the chef invites me to his/her home, then It may be rude to ask for substitutions or special order, so I would happily eat what was served to me....lol
I've a friend he's from India . He told me this same thing . i couldn't believe it when he told me that interns do not get paid and must work long hours as real professionals w/o pay as they're learning and working out in the field of medicine.
It's very unfortunate cause Hindu medical field is very high education .
Well, now I know not to order a salad abroad. I like them with iceberg lettuce and plain as paper; dressing and croutons and romaine are no-nos for me (I'll take the shaved carrots and onions, though). It's very hard to come by here in the U.S. If I can't make substitutions to make the salad the way I like it, forget it. But, I wouldn't mind trying other foods without substitutions, just hopefully they're light on sauces. Yes, I'm a picky eater, but at least I've learned to broaden my horizons a little bit.
The supermarket one is true. It was some south Africans who came to the US and I used to work at Walmart and they were amazed you could get a TV and groceries in the same place. Lol. I mean like they filmed it all, genuinely amazed. 😂😂
I think the reasoning for not including sales tax is because there are different orgs and companies that do not pay those taxes. Then you have to factor in different states have different items that don’t have sales tax and some items that are extra taxed. Yes they could always calculate that at the register, but it’s nice to automatically know what the price is before sales tax, so that when you buy a mix of produce and prepared foods and you don’t pay taxes or taxes on certain items, you can easily budget as that company or individual. Since the U.S. doesn’t have as many social programs, the gaps are made to be made up by non profits and such. So there are much more non profits in the U.S. than most countries. Also another thing the U.S. does different, which is also harmful, is that it’s the only country that advertises pharmaceutical prescriptions to the public and doctors in the U.S. prescribe the meds. In almost any other country it is illegal to advertise to the general public any pharmaceutical prescriptions and it’s the job for the Pharmacist to prescribe the drug once the doctor has diagnosed you. This causes Prescription drug addiction in the U.S. to be dramatically higher than other countries. It doesn’t help that the U.S. government is bought out by pharmaceutical companies and GMO companies. Many other countries also have higher quality standards of food than the U.S. including Mexico. Even Whole Foods orders their produce that they can’t receive locally from Mexico if they can.
Yeah that makes no sense.. Why Liberia be in the center of the continent if this is where most slaves in the US come from.. I mean even if you don't know geography, at least know it should be in the West Coast of Africa somewhere..
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