- A Reddit thread asked Americans about things they didn’t realise were unique to America until they went abroad.
- Cool Ranch Doritos are called “Cool American” in other countries.
- Public bathrooms are free and widely available in the US, while some countries require a small fee.
- Americans say “How are you?” as a greeting, not an actual question about how someone is.
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Americans have a bit of a reputation for doing things that could be considered rude in other countries. But according to this Reddit thread, they just might not know any better.
Not every typically “American” trait is negative, but cultural differences can lead to moments of confusion when Americans go through airport security or ask for ketchup with an order of fries in another country.
Reddit user TJBullz asked Americans of Reddit to share things that they didn’t realise were typically “American” until they went abroad.
Here are 10 things that have surprised Americans outside the US.
The difference between American and British bacon
“In the UK, the word bacon is not the same as the US bacon. You call US bacon ‘streaky bacon.’ This caused me to be very sad the first time I ordered bacon while on holiday.” – Reddit user Maltaltin
Not every country offers free ketchup
“Many fast food places in Europe charge for ketchup, it’s heinous. ‘Ketchup with your fries?’ ‘Of course.’ ‘How many?’ ‘Uh, just load me up son.’ ‘That will be 50 cents.’ Each pack is 10 cents usually.” – Reddit user Hoof_Hearted12
Cool Ranch Doritos have a different name
“Ranch flavour Doritos in the Netherlands are called ‘Cool American’ flavour.” – Reddit user Totally_a_Banana
The US has enormous grocery stores
“How large grocery stores are here. My wife is not American and we lived in China and were in Hong Kong all the time … They had large international stores that were great, and she didn’t really grasp the size of American grocery stores until our first week in the USA and there’s 150 feet of cereals on one aisle” – Reddit user wtjax
The US has massive portion sizes
“Portion sizes. [On] my high school senior trip to London, as a typically [ravenous] 18-year-old, I couldn’t get over how small everything was …” – Reddit user scott60561
Tailgates are very American
“Tailgates. I’ve lived in the states my entire life, but when my Spanish girlfriend came to visit I wasn’t sure what I could show her that really exhibited American culture. There are plenty of American stereotypes you see on TV, but it wasn’t until I took her to a tailgate that I realised how violently American the whole experience is. A huge parking lot full of drunk twenty-year-olds bouncing on trucks bigger than most European apartments, with half the trucks blaring country, and the other half blasting rap. Solo cups and beer cans all over the place, grills, corn hole, etc. I’ve travelled to quite a few different countries, and I can’t really see a tailgate happening most other places.” – Reddit user 11_inches_of_justice
Red plastic cups are considered very American
“Red plastic cups for parties. So much so that people outside the US use them as an accessory to American-themed parties.” – Reddit user thiswasagutpunch
Taking shoes off to go through airport security
“Not an American, but I can always spot Americans at the airport because they take off their shoes at security even if it’s not required.” – Reddit user ronm4c
“How are you?” as a greeting is confusing to foreigners
“‘How are you?’ being used in place of ‘hello’ even with strangers. In the US, ‘How are you?’ needs only to be replied with ‘Good, you?’ almost as a way of saying hi. Elsewhere people don’t really know how to respond when a stranger asks ‘How are you?,’ ‘How you doing?,’ or ‘How’s it going?'” – Reddit user Kilen13
Free public bathrooms don’t exist everywhere
“Free public restrooms. When I visited Europe I thought it was the strangest thing that you had to pay to use a public restroom.” – Reddit user bikeboy3
- Read more:
- 9 annoying things Americans do when they visit the UK – and how to avoid them
- 11 reasons the English language is impossible to learn
- Americans reveal the things they find strangest about travelling in Europe
- Foreign travellers reveal the things they find strangest about travelling in America
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