Non-Americans Describe Their Biggest Culture Shocks In The US

List Rules
Vote up the American customs that would make foreign visitors scratch their heads.

Whether living in another country or merely taking a vacation, the differences in day-to-day life abroad can often cause homesickness and culture shock. Maybe it's how you order a coffee, or something as simple as the layout of a grocery store, but each country and culture tends to do things in their own unique way. In a larger country like the US, there may even be major cultural differences between individual states.

For those visiting from countries near and far, these distinctly American characteristics came as quite the shock, whether positive or negative. Vote up the uniquely American ways of life that you won't find in the rest of the world.


  • 1
    3,048 VOTES

    Tipping And Tax

    From Redditor u/AizenByakuya:

    Tipping and tax not included in a price.

    From Redditor u/0_1314_1:

    [It's] actually a crime... where I live... not showing you the total price you need to pay.

    From Redditor u/wristconstraint:

    Tipping. And not just tipping, but tipping so much that the entire thing I bought (e.g., a meal) is now in an entirely higher price bracket.

    3,048 votes
  • 2
    2,519 VOTES

    Advertisements For Lawyers

    From Redditor u/RegnumRico:

    Lawyer commercials and "If this happened to you, you can sue them" commercials.

    From Redditor u/martijnpr:

    ...Adverts for legal advice and lawyers everywhere. Sue the world!

    From Redditor u/mountain-man-86:

    When I did a road trip and noticed the number of lawyer advertisements on the billboards. I swear it was every 3rd or 4th billboard.

    From Redditor u/121PB4Y2:

    How much life revolves around getting a mesothelioma settlement and then cashing it out with JG Wentworth.

    2,519 votes
  • 3
    3,396 VOTES

    Gun Ownership

    From Redditor u/HDUdo361:

    Guns. A friend of mine worked in Houston, Texas for 6 [months]. He invited me and I used the opportunity to travel to the US without paying for hotel and a rental car. His neighbour invited us to a small company "party" in the front yard of the company boss. We ate crawfish (very good) and after some "beers" I asked them if they own guns. [Ten] seconds later everyone pulled out their handgun and wanted to show it to us.

    For someone who was always into FPS [first-person shooter] games, this evening was really interesting but also really scary. In Germany I never saw a gun in real life. That day I learned also that they don't like to discuss gun laws.

    3,396 votes
  • 4
    2,088 VOTES

    The Size Of Everything

    From Redditor u/salderosan99:

    Everything being f*cking huge. Literally. Road lanes, groceries, soda sizes. Especially distances: Where I come from, 3 hours of driving are enough to cross half of the country, in the US it's just a small drive to go to see a relative or something.

    From Redditor u/Kiyohara:

    An old adage: "Europeans think a hundred miles is a long distance, Americans think a hundred years is a long time."

    From Redditor u/pillemille:

    The huge packaging units in the supermarket. Everything [is] just biiig.

    From Redditor u/ScotchSirin:

    There was an insane amount of space just... everywhere. As a European used to being crammed into every available nook, even in rural areas, the way that towns and cities just stretched out was unimaginable.

    2,088 votes
  • 5
    2,076 VOTES

    The Toilets

    From Redditor u/litsto:

    The toilet doors (or lack thereof). Not enough door!

    Seriously, you're a wealthy enough country you don't need to leave an inch gap at the sides and a foot and a half at the top and bottom.

    From Redditor u/Chamallow19:

    Why did you decide that toilets' doors had to hide absolutely nothing?

    2,076 votes
  • 6
    2,137 VOTES

    Spray Cheese

    From Redditor u/ItsACaragor:

    Spray cheese. I was not ready.

    2,137 votes