- Many things that are common in the United States are nearly impossible to find in other countries.
- They include food items like peanut butter or Southern-style biscuits.
- They also include everyday items like mailboxes and red Solo cups.
There are many things that, for better or for worse, you can only find in America.
Common food items like peanut butter or Southern-style biscuits are nearly impossible to find in other countries, for example. The same goes for everyday sights like mailboxes, take-out boxes, and red Solo cups.
At least that’s what I found in my travels to 25 different countries. With each new country I visit, from Costa Rica to the Philippines, I find more and more examples of things that I didn’t realise were distinctly American.
Read on to see 16 things that you won’t find outside the United States.
Peanut butter is a staple of school lunches across America, but you’d be hard pressed to find it outside of the States. It was one of the food products I didn’t realise I would miss until I was deprived of it.
Although you may get lucky and find a jar at an international grocery store, peanut butter is one of those foods that non-Americans don’t know what they’re missing out on.
Cheerleading is almost exclusively an American activity. Thanks to American movies and TV, many people in other countries are aware of cheerleading, but few have actually seen it in person. For now, it’s part of what distinguishes sporting events in the US.
First-time visitors to the US are frequently shocked at the massive portion sizes offered in American restaurants.
While their surprise is justified, they may not realise that in the US, it’s also very common for customers to take home leftover food in a take-out box. The practice isn’t nearly as common in other countries.
Red Solo cups
Just about every US college student is familiar with the ubiquitous red plastic Solo cup. It’s such a staple of American party life that no American-themed party in another country is complete without it.
Tax that isn’t included
One pleasant surprise about shopping in a foreign country is that in many places, all taxes are included in the price you see on the sticker. That means you know right away whether you have enough money to pay for something, and you don’t have to do any mental maths as you approach the cash register.
Surprisingly, mailboxes aren’t very common outside of the United States. It’s much more common in Europe, for example, to have your mail delivered through mail slots on your front door.
Tipping is common in many countries, but not to the degree that Americans are accustomed. It’s especially clear in restaurants – while Americans tip between 15% and 20% for a typical meal, in most other countries the tip never exceeds 10%. There are plenty of countries where tipping is not expected at all.
College sports fandom
In many parts of the US, college sports are more like a religion than a hobby. The same fanaticism doesn’t translate to other countries. In my experience, there’s no country that cares about college sports more than the US, and it would be unheard of for a college sports team to be more popular than a professional team.
Drive-through liquor stores
America is already an outlier for having such a high drinking age – its national limit of 21 is tied for the highest in the world. But what sets the US even further apart is that its restaurants and bars actually enforce the drinking age by checking customers’ IDs.
In other countries, even places where the drinking age is 18 or lower, the legal limit isn’t necessarily enforced.
Here’s another food you simply won’t find outside of the US: biscuits. Although to many Americans, they are buttery, crispy, doughy perfection, you’ll be met with blank stares if you try to describe them outside of the US.
And good luck trying to find them in the United Kingdom or other Commonwealth countries – over there, a biscuit is another type of food altogether.
America’s huge portion sizes aren’t confined to just food. In American restaurants, customers are usually entitled to free refills of their soda, tea, or coffee. But in many places around the world, the drink cups aren’t bottomless. In some places, like Argentina or Malaysia, you even have to pay for a refill on tap water.
National flags on every building
Americans have a reputation for being overly patriotic.
People in the US are probably used to seeing American flags just about every public place they go – schools, office buildings, post offices, churches, and sports stadiums, to name a few. In other countries, even patriotic ones, it simply isn’t common to see national flags everywhere.
Commercials for lawyers …
Advertising for legal services on television may raise a few ethical questions, but it’s perfectly normal in the United States. It’s one thing non-Americans often find unusual when they visit the States.
… and prescription drugs
On that note, advertisements for prescription drugs are another thing you won’t find often outside the United States. But as anyone who’s ever watched a football game can attest, they are unavoidable on US airwaves.
America’s obsession with guns is often a surprise to people visiting the US. Perhaps nothing exemplifies American gun culture than gun shows, where customers can view and purchase a wide array of firearms. As many as 5,200 gun shows take place across the US every year.
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