This week, Reddit user lmqr asked: "What do Americans think is normal for everyone, but actually it's not normal for anyone but Americans?"
The thread quickly went viral as people all across the globe started sharing the strangest things they've noticed about American culture — things most US citizens might assume are totally normal. Here are the top-voted responses:
1. "Asking everyone 'What do you do?' when you first meet them. I live outside the US and realized there are some people I’ve known for years, and I still don’t know their job. I think in the US, jobs are a bigger part of a person’s identity than in some other places."
2. "American accents. I mean, everyone thinks their own accent is normal, but I’ve met Americans who think that they have no accent, like theirs is the baseline somehow."
3. "Attack ads against political opponents, and ads for law firms or lawyers. These kinds of ads are illegal and considered unethical in our country."
4. "That the entire traffic has to stop when a school bus stops."
5. "Writing dates as MM/DD/YYYY."
7. "In America, my maternity leave was six weeks unpaid, and I had to fight them on not shorting me because I went past my due date and didn’t keep working until the day I went into labor."
8. "The idea that giving birth to a child is prohibitively expensive to a lot of people. One way or another, most of the world does not have that problem."
9. "Calling a main course an 'entrée.'" (In other parts of the world, "entrée" refers to an appetizer.)
10. "Big glasses of water WITH ICE at restaurants."
11. "Identifying as your heritage instead of your nationality. Americans will say that they’re Italian, German, Polish, etc., when they don’t speak the language and have no real connection to those countries anymore. In other parts of the world, people just identify with the country they were born in or have lived in for a significant amount of time, regardless of their ancestry."
12. "Having only two political parties: Republicans and Democrats. I know there are some smaller parties, but the system is stacked against them."
13. "Pledging allegiance to the flag in class."
14. "Extra-large bottomless cups for cola or soft drinks...you could bathe in those..."
15. "Cash bail. The concept of 'paying bail' has always seemed ludicrous to me. Here in the UK, everyone is bailed automatically unless they are seen as a significant flight risk or a severe danger to others (murderers, etc.). Cash bail is literally making extortion part of the justice system. Not only this, but it gives an unfair edge to the very wealthy, who can afford to be bailed out for even the most heinous of crimes."
16. "Ambulance rides that cost money seem pretty absurd to people from other countries."
17. "Actively avoiding healthcare visits/checkups because if there's something wrong and you don't have the money to pay for treatment, then you'd rather just not know."
18. "Toilet stalls where not only can people peek inside but an adult person could crawl into your cubicle. There is so much space under the 'door.'"
19. "Putting a ton of sugar in products like bread."
20. "Not putting the final price on the tag. I'm not sure whether it's still like this, but a few years ago, one never knew whether the $1 item in McDonald's or Burger King was actually $1 or maybe $1.08."
21. "Prescription drug ads encouraging people to ask their doctor about the drug being advertised."
22. "Naming side effects on medication advertisements. [email protected]#king hilarious to us Brits."
23. "Gratuitous violence in entertainment is normal. But show one boob and people lose their [email protected]#t."
24. "Willingly putting yourself massively in debt for a college degree. I come from a place with free university education (which has its own drawbacks, of course), but the fact that you can make such a huge, life-altering decision at 17 and it's considered normal over there...that seems downright bizarre to me."
25. "Talking about and sharing your life with complete strangers. I have met quite a few Americans, and it seems the norm that you share and engage with strangers in public. The bus, train, parks, etc. And then you go on your way. In Denmark you'd be a 'freak' if you did that."
26. "A flag in every corner of a classroom, and Americans being very patriotic to the Stars and Stripes. Other countries barely give a poop about their flags."
27. "Having police patrol the school."
28. "Not owning kettles and MICROWAVING water for coffee/tea."