Things Americans Do That Confuse The Rest Of The World

– [Narrator] The United States of America is the land of the free,
the home of the brave, and also the home to a lot of weird stuff that most other countries don’t do. This former British colony has truly grown up to be
its own, quirky person. The following 10 things tend
to confuse non-Americans and you can find
non-natives of the US of A discussing them all across the internet. – Amazing! – [Narrator] Number 10, tipping. America definitely isn’t the
only country in the world where tipping is a common practice. In fact, if you’re curious about what jobs get
tipped in what countries, there’s a website called that breaks down the tipping
customs of the world. But America is certainly the country where tipping is the most prevalent. In most countries and
cultures around the world, tipping is simply an optional charge, should you feel your server deserves to be rewarded for their efforts. However in America, you
should always give a tip of around 10 to 20%,
especially at restaurants. Tipping is a big part of American culture which seems odd to outsiders. People may dislike tipping,
but it’s probably here to stay. In America, the unspoken system is that food prices in restaurants are lower than they should be because tips allow the restaurant to pay the wait staff less. They can then charge you less for food. At least that’s what you
can try telling your friend the next time he doesn’t wanna contribute to the tip at a restaurant because he recently saw Reservoir Dogs. While a lot of people argue
that tipping is a good thing because it increases the
quality of service you receive, this isn’t actually true. Cornell University published a study that revealed the real reason
people tip, more or less, is basically random, and customers who receive great service, tip on average just 1%
more than those who don’t. Lots of people around the
world look at America and ask, why not pay service workers
a normal amount of money and just make the food more expensive? Number nine, have few vacation days. Americans don’t go on vacation as much as the rest of the world does. On average, we’re given only
12 vacation days by our work, as opposed to Europeans,
who get between 25 and 30. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Americans on average only use 10 of their 12 given vacation days, whereas Europeans tend
to use all of theirs. I guess Americans just
can’t bring themselves to leave the office while
there’s still work to be done. And whilst it may suggest
Europeans are lazy, according to a mounting body of research, it’s actually counter-productive
not to take a vacation, as breaks help us rejuvenate, increasing our productivity over time. Not only that, when us
Americans do go on vacation, we also travel less internationally than citizens of most other countries, but that may be related to our limited number of vacation days. 12 days just doesn’t allow
for an international trip as well as 30 does, as the time and cost of travel to international destinations is so great. According to the Department of Commerce, American international
travelers spent 42% of the cost of their entire trip simply on the travel to and from their destination. It’s then not too surprising
that most Americans don’t even have a passport. Only 42% of US citizens own a passport whereas 76% of English citizens do. That means at least 58% of
Americans haven’t left the U.S, as you need a passport to travel. To the rest of the world,
this is an odd characteristic of such a prosperous nation. While it’s partly due to
limited vacation days, it may also be because
Americans lack the desire to travel as much as
the rest of the world. Number eight, food preferences. When you go to a restaurant in America, you’re probably going
to get a lot of food, at least, a lot more than most
other nations would serve. It’s a popular topic of discussion amongst non-Americans online. Many European tourists
admit they would frequently just order one item off the menu and share it with another person. America does it big,
and for non-Americans, the size-options at fast food restaurants perfectly illustrate this. Take a look at this image by
a Japanese citizen in 2011, comparing the sizes of McDonald’s drink in America versus Japan. The medium Japanese cup
is the exact same size as the small American cup
and the American medium cup is larger than the Japanese large. But McDonald’s is on the small size. Here are the small sizes
at a number of vendors, showing just how much larger
a small cup is in America. While many around the world like to joke about how it proves Americans are fat, the truth is a lot of them
take away their leftovers in carry-out boxes to
eat throughout the week. Still, American food is vastly different to food found in the rest of the world. For one, non-Americans are, on the whole, less obsessive about peanut butter. Brian Sternthal, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s
Kellogg School of Management, has said that in many parts of the world, peanut butter is regarded as an unpalatable American curiosity. For example, according to Statista, Americans eat a kilogram of it per year, compared to 100 grams eaten
per-person per-year in Europe. That’s 10 times the amount Europeans eat. Other American food anomalies that have confused Europeans include comparatively small
fruit and vegetable aisles full of fruits and vegetables that will cost you a lot more than they would across the Atlantic, as well as an overabundance
of highly processed sweet and salty foods,
and so-called cheese that can be sprayed out of a can. Number seven, college sports. In America, college sports
are almost as popular as professional sports. In some areas, they’re
actually more popular. People will have barbeques
outside of stadiums for hours before the games start, paint their faces and hate on rival academic institutions. College athletics are taken
just as seriously by the fans who don’t care that the players
aren’t as good as the pros and aren’t even getting paid. This may be baffling to our neighbors but there is an explanation
for this American pastime of watching what are
literally amateur games. Unlike most fun-sized European countries, America is massive. There are lots of places that
just aren’t anywhere near a major city where you could go and see a professional team play. Colleges are the next best thing, and there’s bound to be one
of them nearby at least. College football and basketball also actually predate those
sport’s professional leagues so college athletics culture
has been around forever. Number six, prescription drug commercials. Non-Americans who travel to the US are often surprised to find
that there are advertisements for prescription drugs
on regular television. You can’t go and buy them from stores, so the commercials urge viewers to ask their doctor about them. In 2016, Kantar Media, a firm that tracks multimedia advertising, reported that nearly 800,000 prescription drug advertisements were aired on television which was a 65% increase
from just four years prior. Basically, the reason these commercials don’t exist in other countries is because they aren’t
legal in other countries. In fact, the only other country where these kinds of commercials
exist is New Zealand. The US pharmaceutical industry is huge. It generated $425 billion in 2015. If they’re allowed to advertise,
of course they’re going to, and it works. Direct to consumer advertised drugs tend to sell better
than drugs that aren’t. But they’re controversial, and it seems the reason
America allows them comes down to our free speech protections under the First Amendment. Governments of most
countries around the world think they’re dangerous, and the research suggests
they’re not wrong. Even the American Medical association has called for a ban on them as these advertisements
have been proven by studies to broaden the scope of who gets treated with prescription drugs. They also lead to patients
being influenced to take newer, less effective drugs that often cost more. For example, Vioxx which
was later withdrawn as it caused life-threatening side-effects such as increasing the risks
of heart attacks and strokes. Number five, soccer. America, of course, isn’t the only country that plays soccer, but we
are one of the only countries that calls the game you
play with your feet soccer and the one you play
with your hands football. We stand with countries
like Australia, Korea, South Africa and Italy in not
calling the sport football. Understandably, it
confuses most of the world. So, what is the origin of
this counter-intuitive name? Soccer is an abbreviation of association which came from association football, the official name for the game. The suffix er came was added as a common jocular
slang term of the time. The reason the name has stuck
is because American football developed in the mid-19th century, evolving from the British game of rugby. Back then, rugby was
loosely known as football but it was often called rugby
to make the distinction. All these sports were about
moving the ball forward but as the game developed across the pond, Americans developed different rules about how you were allowed to
do it and what you could wear. The most popular rule set in England ended up being the one where
you can only use your feet and the most popular rule set in America ended up being the one where you get to smash into each other. Hence why the two totally different sports have the same names in the two countries. Number four, Not including sales tax Wherever there’s a discussion
of American sales tax on the internet, you
can find non-Americans telling their tales of being
shocked at the final price because they didn’t realize
that sales tax wasn’t included. In most countries, the
price tag on an item includes the part you have
to pay to the government so they can build roads and other things, but not here in the US. This is because sales taxes
in America can vary by county, so something could cost a
slightly different amount just a mile away. There are also very specific laws about what gets sales taxed. For instance, if you order coffee to go, there will not be sales tax in California, but if you sit down in
the cafe and eat a donut, you will have to pay sales tax. Essentially, with all these rules, it becomes difficult to
put things on a price tag. Number three, not using the metric system. The United States of America has no need for universally accepted and logical measurement systems because Thomas Jefferson said so. In 1790, when the metric
system was being developed, he simply decided not
to bring it to America. So it didn’t happen. America, Liberia, and Myanmar are the only countries in the world that use the imperial system. Liberia uses the same
units that America does and Myanmar is a bit of a mess. They use a combination of
their own totally unique Burmese measuring units,
American imperial units and metric units. So they may have the distinction
of being the only country with a bigger headache when
it comes to this than America. But surely now that Thomas
Jefferson is long dead, we could just switch over, right? Well it isn’t that simple. It would cost a lot of money to switch over the country’s
whole infrastructure to the metric system now that the US already uses their own
unique imperial system. The closest the US has gotten
is that today, in US schools, kids learn about both the
imperial and metric systems, so most of us do have
a basic understanding of how the metric system works even if we never really use it. Even if you buy a
measuring tape in the US, it will have both imperial
and metric units on it. Throughout American history, there have been various
attempts to reform the system and switch over, but none have succeeded. It would seem as though
Thomas Jefferson’s wish for an extra special system shall live on for the foreseeable future. It hasn’t come without
its consequences though as this confusion has
lead to enormous mistakes, like the mars orbiter
that was lost by NASA because of a metric system mixup. Number two, month before the day. The United States is
the only country that, when writing out the date,
puts the month before the day and it seems to extremely
aggravate the rest of the world. Most other countries write
the day, then the month, then the year. The majority of countries, and most of Europe and South
America, do it this way. It seems logical, as the units of time are then in order from
smallest to largest. Also seemingly logical is how the date is written in China and Japan,
which is year, month day or largest to smallest. So, why do we format time like this? Well unfortunately, there’s
no widely accepted answer as to why this is the case. The month day year order was
used in Britain in the 1800s but why we chose to keep it
when Britain ceased to do so is something of a historical mystery. The best guess is likely
that the order reflects how Americans say dates verbally. An American would be more likely to say that it is January 1st more than they would be likely
to say the 1st of January. Our notation, then, could
simply be a way of writing out what would be the most conversational. Number one, having a drinking age of 21. A 20-year-old European
may be in for a shock when they fly to the US and discover that they can no longer
legally drink alcohol. While you may already know about this peculiar American practice, what you may not know
is why it is the case. In 1984, the US passed a law
called the Drinking Age Act. It stated that if a state did not create a minimum
drinking age of 21, they would lose up to 10% of
their federal highway funding. The states all took the hint
and made the drinking age 21. But, why 21? Well, America has a long and
storied past with alcohol, including prohibition. Lawmakers didn’t just pick
the number out of a hat. It dates back centuries
to old English common law, which states a person
becomes a full adult aged 21, at which age a person
could, among other things, vote and become a knight. Still, as shown by this map, the U.S. is one of just a few developed countries to have a minimum legal
drinking age over 18. In fact, in some countries
like Belgium and Germany, 16-year-olds are allowed
to purchase alcohol. Alcoholic or not, if you
order a drink in America, you’re probably going to
get it with a lot of ice. In most other countries, you just won’t see the
sheer quantity of ice that you’ll get in your American beverage. Granted, you’ll often
get ice in your drinks in many European countries, but ice-cold beverages are
the default option in America, whereas lots of people
from other countries don’t have the same preference and drinks aren’t always served with ice. This cultural difference is
frequently debated online. It could be because in some countries, you shouldn’t drink the tapwater which is where that ice came from and in others, it just isn’t common to automatically have ice
with a meal at a restaurant. So, people of the internet, do you agree with the items in this list? Let me know what you think in the comments section down below. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Things Americans Do That Confuse The Rest Of The World

  1. Just so you know, there is no such thing as an "English citizen." Whilst people from the four sub-countries of the UK might refer to themselves as English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh, when it comes to citizenship – for the time being anyway – we're all British citizens with British passports. (And not for nothing, but should you ever visit the UK, I dare you to stand in the middle of Cardiff, Glasgow or Belfast and tell the people they're "English." Just make sure you can run fast.)

  2. I was born and raised in the u.s. my entire family is American yet I find peanut butter disgusting.

    And I’m not allergic to and food that I’m aware of

  3. HATE PEANUT BUTTER!! I keep telling Americans that this country is NOT the best… Their taught arrogance so they think in their mind it is…. Americans are too damn lazy to actually banch out and actually see how SCREWED we are because they pay our politicians so that's why we pay do much and die 14yrs before the rest of the world…

  4. I eat more than 1kg of peanut butter per month, let alone per year (and I'm in Europe), what's the big deal about 1kg???

  5. In the UK we use imperial for distance still but metric for measurements … I still use imperial for measurements though as it makes more sense to me.

  6. I would have added the "obsession" for sunglasses. I live in Rome, and every time I see a group of more than 5 persons and ALL of them are wearing sunglasses, I know they are from the US. It may be a cultural thing, maybe linked to another truly American thing: the emphasis on the use of sunscreen. I don't think I have ever met an American Citizen here in Italy who wasn't using sunscreen even for having a walk outside. And sunglasses almost seem to be as important as pants and shoes. I rarely see American tourists not wearing them in the summer months. Is there a specific reason for that or is it just about fashion and aesthetics?

  7. The not traveling outside the US thing is also kind of symptom of the fact that out of the cultivateable land of North America the United States takes up an easy majority of it despite sharing the continent with two other countries. There's just so much of our own country and Heritage and the Heritage of the native people who came before us to study that many Americans don't feel the need to travel internationally.
    And especially since 9/11 with a literal Target painted on our heads and backs most Americans are like No I'd rather deal with the crazy people in my own country there seem to be fewer of them. Rather than travel to somewhere where the media makes it seem like a disproportionate amount of that population doesn't like my country and may actively desire to hurt me simply for being from the country I am from, so why would I go there?

    Liberia was literally founded buy a bunch of abolitionists who thought that Africans would be happier to go back to Africa. But after discovering that the local tribes didn't want these former Africans to come back they simply bought up some land call that Liberia after Liberty and put out advertisements in the United States for any black person who wanted to return to Africa to have free passage and food on the trip to go live in Liberia.

    And if it weren't for some busy body saying that well that's technically mail fraud because you sent these things only the black people and to the places where black people gathered like the African Anglican Methodist Church. And other organizations associated with the Abolitionist Movement. Who Express the widely held belief at the time that it was wrong for blacks to be brought to America and so those that wish to leave should be allowed the opportunity to do so but abolitionists should pay for it because the newly freed slaves would not have the resources to do it themselves. There were actually hundreds of families stuck at the Docks who had left their homes and sold everything on the promise of getting on a boat to Liberia. that upon arriving at the ports found that the captain of their boat and the person who was paying for their trip had been arrested and they got stranded in a city they didn't want to be in. Local abolitionist in these ports would often spring for money to get the captain out of jail and hotels to put up the stranded black person's for the night. but the generosity of local abolitionist did not allow everyone who wanted to leave the ability to leave the way the original promise and pool of funds would have.

  8. how about one of these lists for odd things europeans do? why always hating on the u.s.?

    texas alone is the size of most of europe, we don't NEED passports to travel like europeans do so of course we don't have them. we have every environment here but no language barrier or currency exchanges to deal with…plus europeans have a dim view of us so screw 'em.

  9. I bet in other countries prescription commercial are illegal because of cartel. & I might be wrong. 😐

  10. Because of your stubborn craps have stuck with the imperial system, us Canadians have to know it as well. Little craps need to switch to metric damnit.

  11. I was eating white bread with Jiff peanut butter while watching this, I say white bread, because it wasn't a sandwich, it was 3 pieces of bread that was left in a loaf that I put the peanut butter on, I ate it with a ice cold cup of A&W Root Beer with ice,lol!

  12. #3 actually drives me crazy… when doing laser engraving work, metric is easier to use by far. Adding inches together is so much more painful, luckily Corel Draw has a button to switch units.

    EDIT: American tape measures absolutely do NOT have both metric and imperial! Only some do.

  13. SCREEEEEW this outlandish tip culture that has grown in America. If they open a cooler and hand you a pre-made sandwich they want a 20% tip. Even worse are buffets!!! They drop off a glass of water and pick up 2 dirty plates from your table. That's not service and that doesn't warrant a tip.

  14. as an american i absolutely hate tipping. i rarely tip but when i do you know the server was superb. i feel as though its not my job to pay a companies employees for them. id rather pay more for food than pay for someone else's wages especially when they don't care, try, or have pride for their job. and on top of that i feel that the system is broken. i have always done everything to be the best employee i could be. i go above and beyond to do what is most beneficial for the company without dropping quality standards. i have never recieved a tip no matter what job i have had but ive watched the other employees get tipped and complain about it yet they're pulling in more money than me and im in the kitchen getting grease burns while they are in the front conversating with customers and making ice cream and having what looks like a good fun safe time. and they get extra shit ?

  15. I am from India and one thing that I observed about Americans are that they are normally more generous than others in terms of sharing their wealth and shy away from being called a miser. Thats why corporations are also able to make huge amounts of profits from Americans. I guess this generosity that Americans have in their culture also brought them wealth coz its a natural phenomenon that the more of something you share, the more of it you get back.

  16. "Sales tax are not included in the price, because they can vary by county…" that's BS. Tag prices vary as well from one store to another, so including sales tax would be absolutely no problem from that standpoint. There would be a problem from a different standpoint though: when the merchant puts $19.99 on the price tag, if the tax was included, the merchant would have to give a cut of that to the government. So, the merchants "lobbied" (should be read "bribed") the government, to pass laws that allows them to keep the entire $19.99 and make the consumer pay extra "for tax". It would be a lot better if such videos actually told people the truth.

  17. Tipping is not "a big part of American culture", it is one major flaw of the American legal system. We are probably the only country in the world that has a "minimal wage" set by law… and then another, even lower "minimal wage", for "people who get tips". Go figure… If this is not laying the foundation for an underground economy, I don't know what it is.

  18. Americans call football "soccer" and a sport that is played mostly with the hands "football", based on the same principle that makes them park on the driveway and drive on the parkway.

  19. The ISO international Standards Organization
    Uses YYYYMMDD. ASME American Society of Mechanical Engineers standard ASME Y14.100
    uses YYYY-MM-DD.

  20. In the United States, we just don't make enough money to travel. What most outside of the US don't understand is, our finance structure is only prospering the rich. We the people work hard but are not paid for our hard work, the rich have found a way to pit poor against poor. This works because most of the people think they are a part of the middle class even when they are not. The "American dream" was imposed on us and is not a statement most Americans like to think about. It was a tool to get more work out of us, "If you just work hard and play by the rules, you too will have the American Dream". All tools to control and no laws to protect the lower or middle classes. The CPA "Consumers Protection Agency" Was disbanded by Reagan, brought back by Obama, and underfunded with no leader under Asshole in chief. I'm sorry Britain, I'm sorry you now have to feel the pain we do with your very own Trump. I hope you fair better than we have.

  21. Many US vacations are spent at home because we normally work way more hours in a day than what is healthy. Our idea of a vacation is to relax at home, it is cheaper and less stressful than traveling. For me, my parents always told me vacations are a waste of money and that is how I was raised.

  22. The 4th of July, see we can do it too… The reason we did not change the date structure when Britan did is We Have Been Told What To Do By The Brits Long ENOUGH! No really, we where founded before 1800 and when Britan changed their date structure we where not really on talking terms, I also think the American people would have shouted down the politician that came up with the idea to follow Britan. We kind of had a love-hate relationship.

  23. I've been to 19 other countries and everyone does some fucked up shit that confuses everyone else.

    The passport thing is because there's quite a lot to do within the country.

    Right on about the vacation time. I was in my 30's before I got a job with great paid time off. I now have 8 weeks every year of PTO.

  24. Americans don't travel internationally because we don't have the choice to drive 2 hours and be in Italy or France etc. I drive 2 hrs and get to Dallas.

  25. Idiot who made the statement that the U.S is larger than Europe.
    The U.S is 3,5 million square miles, while Europe is 10 million.

  26. 3:30 also because America has a lot less options for cheap places to travel. Overseas you have so many other countries surrounding u that you can visit for a better price.

  27. BULL $H!T!! Tipping is only done if your server deserves it. If they do a crap job, they will not get any tip from me.

  28. not all restaurant employers have a nice personality the ones that are friendly polite those I will give out reasonable tips the problem with Rhode Island our state is the public doesn't care there is little decency in this state the streets and sidewalks are full of pot holes they are not getting fixed because it doesn't matter to the state our behavior proves what kind of people we are schools keep having bullies make life extremely difficult especially for new students in schools traffic jams always prevent rescue vehicles from getting to help save lives because life itself is replaced by schedules cell phones and work couples don't spend time with each other like they use to meanwhile Mall Santa's and Stupid Cupid gift companies get fat off money they keep getting eventually we come to realize there is no even Steven good doesn't always win nothing really matters at all America has changed not for the better

  29. i love peanut butter & reeces stuff ,i saw a guy open a tin of Peanut Butter from a vietnam war ration pack.Best hed ever tasted n he ate the lot it was that good …why ? cos it was oil based ,which would today be viewed as bad but that tin that had travelled round the world over 50 years,its contents looked way better than 2days stuff !

  30. The food and drug industries in America were built around Americans being stupid and greedy and designed to keep them that way. That's my own personal native observation. Americans are given larger portions so we get bigger and gain more weight and desire more calories. We are also stabbed in the wallet for prescription drugs because "big pharma" has 0 transparency or accountability.

    Also, any drink with alcoholic content is treated "equally" in the US. 200 proof whisky has the same age restrictions as 10 proof beer. On any American's 21st birthday they could legally buy and consume a bottle of 200 proof vodka in public. In some states minors can still consume alcohol, it's just not legal to sell to them.

  31. No one wants more expensive food and waiters and waitresses that’s the only money they get is from tips or so I think

  32. Medical advertisements aren't because of the first amendment, they're because pharma lobbyist prevent anything from being passed to prevent it.

  33. 3:05 Dude, that’s the U.K. Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, not just England. It literally says it on the passport,

  34. Most foreign countries are a bit smaller. Everyone needs a passport since if they travel in one direction for an hour or so they end up in another country. You can travel around the US for many months (and never see it all) and never find someone that doesn't speak the language or ever have to exchange currency.

  35. Number 10 is total BS. The price of a meal at a restaurant is outrageous anywhere you go in America. And basically the only reason you tip is cuz servers make crap for money .You're better off going grocery shopping

  36. Americans also travel less due to distance. A European can cross several counties in one day in a car. One days drive in the USA often has you still in the USA.
    And while they are less prevalent than in the USA drug commercials are also legal in Canada.

  37. The metric system sucks. We measure distance in miles, not kilometers! Stop trying to get us to accept that crap.

  38. This video is lying about the drinking age changing to 21 in 1984. It changed to 21 in 1994 the same year I made 21. I was able to drink, go in bars and buy alcohol when I was 18 an it changed to 21 the same year I made 21 so I was not affected by the law.

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