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
- 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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In Mexico it's actually rude not to leave a tip, and not just restaurants, you tip the grocery store baggers (usually teens or the elderly), the guy "helping you park" (if you go to Mexico and drive you'll notice them at supermarket parking lots), sometimes (though not necessary) you can even leave a tip to the cleaning staff at the hotels.
The reason is that with the salaries so low for very basic positions these workers depend on tips for a considerable portion of their income.
As an American a lot of the things we do in this video are true but our pledge of allegiance is over exaggerated in this video. Yes, we learn it at a young age but we only learn so if we choose to pledge our allegiance, we know what to say. Also our patriotism was over exaggerated. Yes, many Americans have flags hanging from our houses, and you can find the flag on a pole near police stations, fire stations, or where the state flag is, even on clothes but people are not as patriotic as this video makes you believe. When an American flag is on clothing it’s usually only worn on our Independence Day which is July 4th that’s the only time you see a lot of American flags to the extent that the video makes it seem. There are people who burn the flag and it’s completely legal because of freedom of speech. We aren’t as free and brave as people think. And a huge majority of citizens are usually against what the government does and are against the person who is playing our presidential role.
Here's something the rest of the world finds mysterious: "The land of the free and the home of the brave" when America has 1 in 10 people in jail. Land of the free??? How free were Americans to choose the political ideology of their choice during the McCarthy era? Or how about the rate of gun ownership because half the population is trembling in their boots and are only gonna feel safe if they own a gun. Brave?? Are you kidding? The government frightened the population in to giving the OK to invading Iraq because they were so frightened by the WTC attacks, which had nothing to do with Iraq. Doesn't matter. "Sure, go ahead Mr Bush!" came the quavering voice from under the bed. Brave??? Police who are so scared they cap anyone who looks at them funny. Hah! The land of the incarcerated and the home of the coward.
The American attitude to metrication is not much different to the the British. The metric system has been taught system has been taught in UK schools since the 1970s and shop keepers in recent years have been prosecuted for selling goods in imperial measurements. But the average person, if told their weight in kilos, will ask 'What's that in stones or even 'What's that in English?'
Well... If i'm not completely wrong Switzerland is one of the few (or the onliest?) contries where the service charge is included on the bill. E.g. in UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy tipping is absolutely common. It varies from country to country between 5 and 20%
Why do all americans always protect everything about their counrty when a non-american says something negative
I mean there are many things that are just bad in the US
Or about the US
Just accept it and do something against it
Why is the thumbs up bad in Australia? Maybe only if you point the other way to tell someone to get lost, but otherwise it's the same meaning.
Also Americans who expect other countries to accept the USD, or worse, if such a service is given, to receive change in USD. And then question why the latter isn't happening.
Must say it´s strange that why Sweden is not on the list of highest amount vacation days? We have had 25 days paid vacation since the seventies. The highest number was, according to this list, 22 days. We acctually had 30 days of paid vacation for a few years at the end of the eghties, but that was unfortunatly changed. Plus that we have 5 extra days unpaid vacation according to the law. Just say´in..
6:13 - Are you serious?? Lose the racist images, please!
And while you're at it, please get someone else to narrate these videos. The guy sounds like he was born doing commercials on US TV. Can't stand his voice.
i live in Australia and we don't get a mandatory 20 day vacation that's a flat out lie i only have 2 days a year that are what you would call a vacation day, Christmas day and Boxing day, get your facts right before to tell fake information
One thing they didn't mention is that people in other countries often have an unspoken expectation that we'll haggle over the price of an item, whereas Americans will pay whatever the stated price is. It caused some awkward moments when I visited Paris. I almost ended up paying a hundred and twenty francs for a sketch a local artist did of me. Thankfully my tour guide stepped in and talked him down to eighty.
You DO understand that America comprises 35 countries starting with Canada and ending in Cape Horn to the South in Chile, do you? Why do people in the US insist on calling themselves "America"? First confusing thing that gringos do is having such a high level of ignorance and stupidity that goes beyond belief. Wow.
No, they are not "horn fingers". A horn sign is done with the thumb in. The sign Americans use is with the thumb out. It is a combination of the deaf sign letters for "I", "L" and "U". It means I Love U.
Americans leave their shoes on in the house, in many countries, including Canada (where I live), that’s considered rude. Also, everyone has to drive because there’s almost no transportation. America doesn’t sell milk in bags either. Some kids get the day off of school on Halloween to trick or treat, we go to school during the day and trick or treat at night.
if I know... mmm let me see: while you say America is a country we say America is a continent; what you call football we call t rubgy; what you think is one billion, we know mathematically and economically speaking is only one thousand millions; what you call oil, we call it petroleum; while you think there are 7 continents, we know there are only 6; what you call Australia we call Oceania; what you call ENGLAND, we call it GREAT BRITAIN or UNITED KINGDOM;while you believe the countries south of the U.S. only speak spanish, we are very sure there are a lot of countries that are NOT LATINOS like in Caribean, Central, and South America are many states and countries and even colonies that speak English and Dutch. While you think Canada is a non latino country, we know Canada is a half latino/half non latino country, yeah cuz I am talking the French region; what you believe Spain is a latino country, we know IS NOT, for Spain is an EUROPEAN KINGDOM AND THEY ARE NOT LATINOS, and speaking of... don't call us SPANISH, we are not SPANISH we are either Hispanics or Latinos but not Spanish unless we were born in Spain.
One thing that always irked me with US movies is that the US = "the world". Especially in super hero movies.
A city in the US is under attack by something = "it's the end of the world!!"
The lead character (hero) saves the city = "you saved the world!"
We don't tip in New Zealand. Instead we pay a bit more for the food but we know the wait staff are being paid, regardless of a bad tempered customer. I've always wondered does the US have a minimum wage that applies to everyone? If not why is that?
The video subjects us to "like and subscribe" pleading right off, and then the very first item on the list is incorrect-- the U.S. uses the U.S. customary system of measurements, not the Imperial system (which is very similar). In addition, they don't even show the correct location for Liberia. Three strikes right off means a thumbs down.
This information is wrong about Austria getting the most in Europe. In Germany (where I live) people get 25 days of paid vacation plus national and religious holidays, and in Luxembourg (where my wife and I work) we get a minimum of 30 days of paid vacation a year, plus 10 days of holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.). Not to mention the fact that paid sick leave is unlimited. You just don't want to abuse it because your co-workers will eventually get fed up with you or you can get fired if it is proven that you are taking advantage of the system.
at 1:25 your Liberia is actually a picture of The Central African Republic. You should know, not only because of your huge audience, but also because Liberia was an american protectorate... Good on you
I don’t know what this world would be like without America. A lot of people surviving there. I don’t care who thinks it belongs to them we are all here temporarily and this world belongs to whoever lives that day. God bless America ❤️ ✌️
Weird what you said about thumbs up being rude in Australia. Wrong. The only time a thumbs up could be considered rude if you swing it from low to high pointing over your shoulder; basically saying get lost. A steady outward thumbs up gesture is a sign of approval. How anyone could confuse the two is just plain weird. 👍
yes in schools there are terms and so there are 4 terms a year each term is 10 weeks of school and in between each term there i a 2 week holiday and starting at december 15th there is a 6 week holiday (today is the last day of the term 3-4 holidays)
Meters (01:10) are used the whole world over for measurement but of things like water flow, gas use, electricity consumption etc. When measuring something the rest of the world - apart from Liberia and Myanmar, use METRES. If you're going to use what is an essentially foreign word then at least spell it correctly.
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