19 Things That Surprise Tourists in the US

19 Things That Surprise Tourists in the US


For most of the world, Americans seem to be
exporting just about everything, from movies to McDonald’s. But if you think you can see everything American
without visiting America, think again. There’s stuff that the U.S. seems to reserve
just for itself. So let’s experiment. Let’s all pretend that we’re a first time
visitor to the US, and check out what’s really worth giving a try! 1. Spray cheese
Ah, the famous Philly cheesesteak… Getting hungry just thinking about it. But did you know they make it without even
using actual cheese? Things like Cheez Whiz or Squeeze Cheese have
a strong flavor and add delicious notes to any dish that goes well with cheese, but flavor
is basically all they have: cheese isn’t the main ingredient there. Still, they love it anyway, don’t they? 2. Doggy bags
Pets are treated very much like family members in the US, and it’s a really serious thing. You’ll hardly find a restaurant where you
won’t be offered a doggy bag at the end of your meal if you come with your pooch. And even when your furry buddy stayed at home,
if you ask your waiter for it, they’ll bring you one without a question. So here, you’ll always be able to share
the deliciousness of the moment with your four-legged friend. But in really, very few pets actually get
to eat this stuff. Their owners normally get to it first. 3. Black Friday
Although this tradition is slowly but steadily being adopted by other countries, the American
Black Friday is still a thing to behold. Most shops throw incredible discounts on almost
everything they have, and every year, people start waiting in lines long before the stores
are opened. Even more, dozens of tents are put out on
the parking lot of every Walmart on the night before Black Friday. If you want to see one, though, be careful:
the crowds are so huge, you can get yourself in a stampede. 4. Supersize
Lots of things can be said about the USA, but one thing is certain: they love a hearty
meal. Wherever you go to have a snack, be prepared
to see supersized helpings. This is mostly a fast food feature, but even
in restaurants, compared to other countries, you’ll more often than not get a dish that’s
enough to make you full halfway through. Americans seem to know about it themselves,
though: almost any restaurant will allow you to take the leftovers with you. So considerate! 5. Tipping everyone
In many countries of the world, leaving a tip to your waiter or taxi driver is a customary
thing. In the US, however, you tip basically everyone
in the service industry, be it a hairdresser or a valet. And it’s not just any amount, mind you:
the tip should always be around 15- 20% of the bill. No one will say anything to you if you leave
less, of course, but you’re sure to get a few looks from the staff. 6. Yellow school buses
Of all things American, these vehicles have become pretty much a hallmark of the United
States. No movie featuring school kids goes without
a yellow bus taking them to school. Remember Forest Gump? This color can only be seen in North America,
so it’s like a school version of the famous red London double-decker. 7. Medical advertising
A question to those who don’t live in the US: have you ever seen an ad of any medical
drug on TV or on the streets? Let me know down in the comments! Anyway, you probably haven’t because the
United States is the only country, apart from New Zealand, where drugs are freely advertised
just about anywhere. Also, drug stores have long since become much
more than just pharmacies: they sell all kinds of things there, even food. 8. Unused vacations
This is something nobody from other countries understands — at least from those with healthier
attitudes towards work. For some reason, Americans voluntarily work
more than they are required to. According to Business Insider, 169 million
days off were left unspent in the USA in 2013. That’s about half the working population
without vacation whatsoever. Yikes. 9. Surprise prices
When you’re going to a grocery store and look at price tags, you expect to pay for
exactly what it says, right? Well, not in the US. All items in stores are tagged with prices
that don’t include VAT, or value-added tax. So when you’re shopping big, make sure you
have some extra cash to spend above the price tag of your goodies, because a sales tax will
be added at checkout. 10. Imperial units
The United States is literally the only country that still hasn’t switched to the metric
system of units. While the rest of the world has 100 centimeters
in a meter and 1,000 meters in a kilometer, the US has 12 inches in a foot and 5,280 feet
in a mile. Oh, and there’s also a yard, which is 3
feet. They tried changing to metric some years ago,
but it somehow just didn’t catch on. 11. A question instead of a greeting
What do you say when you meet someone? Usually it’s some form of greeting, like
“hello” or “hi.” Well, in the US, you ask a rhetorical question
first. Really, They say “How are you?” and think
it’s perfectly okay not to receive an answer to that: they use it as a polite way to greet
someone. So when somebody in the USA asks how you’re
doing, there’s no need to go into detail about your current affairs — just say “fine. how are you?” and move on. 12. Date writing order
On the topic of unusual things in the US, Americans also have their own particular way
to indicate dates. In most countries, you go from the smallest
to the biggest, meaning from day to month to year. In some others, like Japan, it’s the exact
opposite, but still there’s clear logic. So, for example, if you’re in Europe, the
date written as 11.12.2018 will mean it’s the eleventh of December, 2018. Cross the Atlantic, however, and you’ll
have the twelfth of November, 2018. No wonder many tourists feel confused when
seeing American dates for the first time. And even for the second. 13. Patriotism
Okay, everyone loves their countries, granted. But how some Americans celebrate their homeland
could be viewed as a little over the top. Yes, you can see people with faces painted
with stars and stripes at sports events, hear some of them loudly brag about being American
in conversations, and of course, you’ll see flags. Lots of flags. But it also says something about their government’s
protection of their right to Freedom of Expression, which does not exist in many other parts of
the world. 14. Road trips
The most stereotypical American dream is a vacation on the road. While in many other places in the world, people
tend to fly or at least travel by train, Americans’ preferred type of travel is driving. It’s not unusual for a person to drive across
the whole country, East Coast to West Coast or vice versa, just for the freedom of it. No wonder 5 of the world’s longest highways
are located in the US. 15. Garbage disposal in the sink
You’ve probably seen it in the movies how kitchen scraps are disposed of right in the
sink. In fact, this thing is only typical for the
US, and no other country uses it. What’s more, most European countries have
had it banned for being, well, not exactly environmentally friendly. 16. Prom night
Prom is one of the biggest occasions in any American student’s life. Their parents can spend hundreds and even
thousands of bucks for their kids to have a prom they’d remember for the rest of their
lives. While most countries certainly have their
own dance parties for students, prom beats them all at every turn. It’s flashy, it’s posh, it’s beastly
expensive. 17. Peanut shells on the floor
No one knows why, but throwing the shell on the floor after eating a peanut is a sort
of a tradition in the US. Like anywhere else, littering is an offence,
yet peanut shells seem to be exempt from this law. You can throw them almost wherever you please
in many restaurants, or at a public event, like a baseball game. Rest assured, nobody will say anything. It’s just what people do. 18. Red Solo cups
Almost every movie featuring parties, especially those with lots of young people gathering
together, would have those red plastic cups on screen. Red Solos have become a staple in the US pop
culture, and they’re more strongly associated with American parties than pretty much anything
else. 19. Free refills
Adding to the supersized portions I mentioned earlier, the US is famous for its free drink
refills at any fast food joint. If you didn’t manage to quench your thirst
with that huge Coke, please be my guest and have another one, free of charge. By the way, Americans typically add lots of
ice in their soda cups and prefer their drinks chilly. It’s not unusual to order a Coke at a restaurant
and receive 70% ice. That’s why Americans traveling to Europe
find it surprising when waiters there bring them lukewarm drinks without any of those
refreshing cubes in the glass. Yeah, what’s up with that? Well, Bright Sider, what are things that can
only be seen in your country? Let me know down in the comments! Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give this video a like and share it with a friend. But don’t go get your free drink refill
just yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to
check out. Just click on this left or right video and
enjoy! Stay on the Bright Side of life!

8 Comments

  • BRIGHT SIDE

    August 28, 2019

    Hey there, BrightSiders! Which of these things associates with the US for you?

    Reply
  • Brooke Groves

    October 8, 2019

    In New Zealand we have garbage disposal too..

    Reply
  • edgier 91

    October 8, 2019

    Hey in my country there is no halloween or easter either

    Reply
  • Kelly Halidone

    October 8, 2019

    Australia does advertise medicine/ drugs too not all but some

    Reply
  • Kelly Halidone

    October 8, 2019

    No wonder they have so many homeless people paying tips to go out paying tax on food whattt

    Reply
  • problemchild1187

    October 8, 2019

    The doggy bag thing – I’m pretty sure most restaurants here do not allow pets inside so idk what that is about unless they are just referring “doggy bag” to “can I get a box” at the end of your meal. Nothing to do with your dog tho

    Reply
  • Mary Jijo

    October 8, 2019

    Umm the U.A.E also has yellow buses.

    Reply
  • Per Erik Grønvik

    October 8, 2019

    What? Prom does not beat russefeiring.

    Reply

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