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American Things Americans Didn’t Know Were Exclusively American

Updated June 17, 2021 22.6k votes 2.5k voters 69.7k views22 items

List RulesVote up all the items that you didn't realize were thought of as exclusively American.

America is the land of the free, home of the brave, and occasionally thought of as the center of the universe. People living in the US can sometimes forget there's a whole wide world out there that operates differently from what they're used to. Many inhabitants of the US may be surprised to learn that some of the most basic things that seem universal, from the style of the cups in their hands to the commercials they see on TV, are exclusively American phenomena. 

The people of Reddit came together to share all the stuff they've noticed is exclusively American. What they shared may come as a shock to a few Americans.

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  • 1

    Names For High School Years

    From a former Redditor:

    The use of the words junior, sophomore, and senior in school. I don't think I have ever heard these outside of an American TV show or movie.

    1,232
    197
    Surprisingly American?
  • 2

    Restaurant Servers Taking Credit Cards Away From The Table

    From Redditor u/Broadmin:

    Having the restaurant take your credit card - in most countries it's considered impolite to disappear with the card as they might write the digits down to charge extra later. Therefore they normally bring a portable terminal to your table so you can keep the card in eyesight and have the (optional) tip actually charged when the card is run and not added after the fact. In the US we have to trust it will come back and if the charge doesn't match what you expect, you file a complaint with the CC company for a correction.

    Redditor u/1_art_please added: 

    Im Canadian and was surprised to still be required to use my signature on credit card receipts in the US. Haven't done that here since like 2007ish?

    1,114
    175
    Surprisingly American?
  • 3

    Living Off Of Tips

    From Redditor u/Impossible-Buy-4090:

    Tipping as a wage subsidy. Many countries don’t have tipping and those that do generally tip a small amount for good service.

    A former Redditor added:

    It seems so bizarre for me, I live in a place where minimum means minimum. Our waiters get the same minimum wage as anyone else. Even our Uber drivers are required to be paid the per minute equivalent of minimum wage. And tips are in no way to be considered as part of that minimum if they are given. It's a bonus for a good job.

    1,131
    190
    Surprisingly American?
  • 4

    Excessive Medical Expenses

    From Redditor u/kaden123drake:

    Literally being too poor to go to the doctor, but have too much income for any kind of assistance.

    1,622
    308
    Surprisingly American?