There was no lack of commentary on the US in 2021, especially on Reddit. Throughout the year, several threads asked questions, provoked comments, and allowed for opinions on and about all things American.
Many contributions came from individuals living outside of the US, but not all. Some observations from non-Americans echoed what Americans themselves feel and think. Themes emerged in the comments, with thoughts about food, politics, and bathrooms appearing over and over.
Here are some of the things Redditors said about America and Americans in 2021 - vote up the ones that you agree with the most.
- 12,237 VOTES
What's The Deal With Prescription Drug Ads?
From Redditor u/Noor_awsome:
Those commercials featuring some sort of drug or medication. With the typical closing where the narrator states "Side effects includes blah blah blah...Discuss with your doctor about blah blah blah."
To which Redditor u/Secretrider replied:
"Hey, Doc, I need a prescription for this drug I saw a commercial for. Yeah, the one that's meant to treat a cold, but can make you blind, deaf, crippled, anemic, addicted, comatose, and/or dead."
From Redditor u/supertek:
All the pharmaceutical ads all the time.
From Redditor u/effygrant:
“Ask your doctor if it’s right for you.”
Ummmmm, isn’t that her job? To suggest a treatment based off her diagnosis. So crazy.
- 22,570 VOTES
The American Political System Is Too Polarized
From Redditor u/normalguy_AMA:
Perhaps the extreme polarization in politics. I'm used to having many parties, which gives more nuances. In the US, it seems politics became a team sport, and you end up with the "you're either with us or against us" mentality a lot easier. I think that is very detrimental for the country, but I guess there's no realistic way out of that, nor any will from either of your leading parties to do so.
From Redditor u/Migzillion:
The intensity of right and left wing politics and how divisive it is. I get that most democratic countries have a right and left wing, but in the US it's almost a civil cold war between the two sides.
Like is it even possible for an American to be somewhere in the middle, or does that equal immediate social exile?
From Redditor u/zzeddxx:
You guys need more than two major parties. In fact, you need an entire range: left, centre-left, centre-right, and right. Democracy means that you need to give the people a better freedom of choice than just choosing a different side of the same coin.
From Redditor u/Effective_Macaron_23:
Your voting system is unfair, obsolete, and less democratic than most countries.
Your bipartition is the reason why you don't have the quality of life that most First World countries guarantee.
Your media is as brainwashy as [it is] corrupt.
From Redditor u/II7sevenII:
Lobbying is essentially legal bribery.
It baffles me how every elected official is essentially sponsored by a bunch of companies or "movements" that are essentially corporations in disguise.
Also, corporations don't care about you. At all.
- 32,624 VOTES
American Health Care Needs Work
From Redditor u/yongrii:
It’s okay to have health care not tied to your employment with a massive fat middleman in between.
From Redditor u/LorckFrak:
Staying alive isn't something that should cost more than the person's net worth.
From Redditor u/cloudpeak36:
You live in the main global superpower. A country that can wipe a lot of other places off the map. Your country has so much wealth.
Yet people die of easily treatable health problems because they can’t afford to [go] to the doctor.
A lot of the countries most Americans likely consider “underdeveloped” have better access to health care than you.
From Redditor u/kaden123drake:
Literally being too poor to go to the doctor, but have too much income for any kind of assistance.
From Redditor u/CurvePuzzleheaded361:
Being afraid to go to hospital because of the bill. I am a type one diabetic and as a young teen I ODed on insulin because I wasn't well. I was in intensive care for a week and general ward for three. I can't imagine my parents being scared about paying for that.
From a former Redditor:
The health system that's corrupt but people pretend it's normal.
From Redditor u/No-Cheesecake9182:
That calling an ambulance is an expensive thing to do.
- 42,263 VOTES
Sales Tax Makes Shopping Confusing
From Redditor u/Hachkidmd:
That the price on things in your stores are not the actual price but the price without tax and such.
From Redditor u/qb89dragon:
Buying a $20 item and actually paying $20 at the register.
And Redditor u/Arkady2009:
I feel like having the price tag reading $10, and being told at the register that the item costs more due to tax is basically false advertising.
From Redditor u/Sufficient_Vanilla18:
The way you add tax to everything at the till is mental. Just tell me what it costs on the fricking label!
From Redditor u/renderedren:
Yes! In my country, this would be considered false advertising.
From Redditor u/ninjapotatoprd:
Product prices not including tax when they’re displayed? Like if something says it’s $10 and you only have $10, what’s with the surprise tax at the till?
- 51,790 VOTES
American Restrooms Are Kind Of Scary
From Redditor u/CowDeer:
American bathroom stalls are exposed as f*ck. A grown man could crawl under one of 'em, and the vertical gap has a big enough gap to make full-on eye contact with anyone walking by.
From a Redditor:
I still remember the horror of trying to [use a bathroom] at Baltimore [International] Airport. I very much need my privacy, and once I had finally managed to ignore all the people passing by and I had covered the toilet seat with paper and sat down, this f*cking janitor comes and starts cleaning away on the outside of the stall. I mean really wiping it down, the rag and his fingers through those big... gaps, and I even remember his grunting sounds as well.
From Redditor u/fruity_brown_sauce:
The water level in the toilets; I walked into three different cubicles in JFK [airport] that were all seemingly blocked, until I realised that in the states the water level in the toilets is much higher, like half the bowl, whereas here in Europe there's just a bit of water at the bottom.
From Redditor u/Luzi1:
...the gap in the toilet doors. WHY.
- 61,874 VOTES
Tipping Is 'Awkward'
From Redditor u/CrowZer0:
How tipping is expected no matter what. Over in the UK, you tip for exceptional or good service; it's something extra... In American culture it's expected.
From Redditor u/SprinklesWorth791:
Tipping. I do it because "when in Rome" and all that, but I feel so, so awkward doing it.
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.