20 Things That Are Normal In The US But Weird In Europe


With travel returning to the world (I hope) as COVID-19 fades (I… hope?), it’s important to remember that your country’s way is not the ONLY way of doing everything. Americans in particular have a reputation for bungling into another culture and demanding the world bend to our cultural norms. But why? When you have this list handy, why would you ever?!

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Let’s take a perusal of u/Raphael_Olbert‘s question, “What is usual in America, but isn’t in Europe?

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1. The drives

“Driving long distances for things not related to leisure travel.”

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2. Huge parking lots

“Parking lots larger than the building they serve.”


3. Toilets

“Amount of water in toilets.”


4. Garbage disposals

“Garbage disposals in the sink.”

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5. Ice!

“Lots of ice in beverages.”


6. Driving age

“Children older than 15 years old can drive a car.”


7. They don’t leave

“Well, while I was in New York, the waiter took my credit card and left, and I was instantly angry. I thought, ‘WTF?’ It’s strange when someone accepts your card and then turns around in Europe because typically all card operations are performed in front of the cardholder.”

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8. Sit down!

“Standing cashiers. For God’s sake, let those poor people sit down.”


9. Tax

“Not including tax in listed prices—it’s added at the end.”


10. Bathrooms

“Public bathrooms that have an inch gap on either side of the door so everyone can see you taking a shit.”

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11. Leave us alone

“Waitstaff constantly checking on you, even if it means interrupting a conversation. In Europe, they leave you in peace unless you obviously need something.”


12. Small talk

“Making small talk. The first time I went to London, I asked a Starbucks barista how her day was going, and she looked at me like I had a third arm coming out of my neck.”


13. Food size

“Insanely large portions of food at restaurants.”

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14. Good ol’ ADA

“Handicap accessibility: curb cuts, ramps, elevators.”


15. You’re creepy

“Smiling at people/people watching. In the US, it’s a way to pass time, but in some European cities, you look like a creep (in my experience).”


16. Dates

“The date, putting the day after the month. Why is that? It’s the 4th of July, right? So why is it written 7/4?”

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17. This isn’t actually normal

“The cutlery juggling. US Americans cut their food with the knife in the right hand and fork in the left hand, but then put the knife down and switch the fork to the right hand to eat only with the fork. When they need the knife again, they switch the fork back to their left hand and pick up the knife with their right. They do this several times throughout the meal. Why? And is this done everywhere in the USA?”


18. Staycationing



19. Water bottles

“Honestly, reusable water bottles. One of my biggest issues with visiting/living in Europe is I can’t fill up my water jug anywhere. I’m constantly buying plastic bottles, and I hate it.”

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20. Refills

“Free soda refills.”


Written by Kate Hackett

Actor. Writer. Producer. Human bean. See more at