11 Everyday American Habits That Leave Others Scratching Their Heads

Here’s the thing about America – it’s a pretty unique place. What feels totally normal here can look downright weird to folks from other countries. From the way we eat to how we shop, Americans have some habits that leave the rest of the world scratching their heads. It’s not that these habits are bad; they’re just… different.

This list of 11 everyday American quirks might make you laugh or maybe even defend your favorite oddball custom.

Huge Portion Sizes

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American restaurants serve meals that could feed a small family. Plates are often piled high with food. Drinks come in sizes that look like buckets to others. This super-sizing leaves visitors amazed and sometimes a bit overwhelmed.

Chatting with Strangers

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Often, Americans strike up conversations with people they don’t know. They’ll chat in elevators, stores, or while waiting in line. This friendliness can surprise visitors from more reserved cultures. It’s like everyone’s a potential new friend.

Wearing Shoes Indoors

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Many Americans keep their shoes on inside the house. They walk on carpets and sit on sofas with outdoor shoes. This habit shocks people from countries where shoes always come off at the door. It’s a real head-scratcher for those who see the home as a shoe-free zone.

Advertising Prescription Drugs

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TV commercials for prescription medicines are common in the US. These ads list symptoms and suggest asking doctors for specific drugs. In most countries, advertising prescription meds is not allowed. Visitors find it weird to see serious medicines pitched like snack foods.

Tipping Culture

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Americans tip for many services, often 15-20% at restaurants. Tipping is expected, not just for great service. This custom confuses visitors from places where tipping isn’t common. They’re often unsure how much to give and when it’s expected.

Free Refills

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Many restaurants offer unlimited free refills on soft drinks. People can drink as much soda as they want for one price. This concept is foreign in many countries where each drink costs extra. Visitors are often delighted but puzzled by this generous practice.

Gaps in Bathroom Stalls

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Public bathroom stalls in America often have large gaps around the doors. These openings can make using public toilets feel less private. Many foreigners find this design very uncomfortable. They wonder why Americans seem okay with such exposed stalls.

Ice in Everything

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Cold drinks? Americans love ice and put it in almost every drink. Even in winter, drinks come filled with ice. This habit surprises people from places where drinks are served cool, not icy cold. Some visitors think all that ice waters down the flavor.

Cheese on Everything

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American cuisine often includes cheese in unexpected places. It’s added to salads, sprayed on chips, and squeezed from cans. This cheese obsession amuses and sometimes grosses out visitors. They wonder why Americans need cheese on so many foods.

Grocery Bagging Service

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In many US stores, employees bag groceries for customers. They quickly pack items into bags at the checkout. This service is uncommon in many other countries. Visitors are often unsure whether to help or watch as their groceries are packed.

Drive-Thru Everything

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There are drive-thru banks, pharmacies, and even wedding chapels. Americans have drive-thru services for all sorts of things. This car-centric approach surprises people from walkable cities. They find it odd to do so many errands without leaving the car.

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Mary Apurong

Mary Apurong is an experienced editor and ghostwriter who enjoys writing and reading. She loves researching topics related to life and creating content on quotes, gardening, food, travel, crafts, and DIY. Mary spends her free time doing digital art and watching documentaries.

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