Culture shock is real. Just ask someone who has spent his life on American roads and then finds himself on the nightmare highway that is Egypt's streets. Paths and traffic lights are just suggestions, and drivers use their car horns more than their turn signals. It's wild, wild stuff.
And strange as some foreign practices seem to us, our neighbors around the globe are just as stunned by some of the things that are going down in the U-S-of-A.
I can still remember how confused a friend of mine from Bulgaria was when he saw commercials on cable TV. She just looked at me blankly and said, "But … you pay for it." I mean, it has one point: if the advertisers finance our airtime on network television, what will our cable subscription dollars be?
There are many experiences that Europeans, like my friend, have when they first come to the USA. and interact with a practice that seems crazy for them. This AskReddit thread has some pretty good ones.
Credit card etiquette.
I went to a restaurant with a card and the waiter just took it and walked away.
When I ordered a cappuccino from IHOP, it came in a bowl-sized cup with cream and was filled with sugar and vanilla.
"Sorry, I ordered a small one."
Casual alligator holder.
In 2015, I went to Florida. We passed a crazy golf course and a guy held an alligator in his arms, he also told me that he had an 8 foot alligator in his back.
I'm from England, so I do not think I'll ever get over how casually he had a flying alligator in his arms.
Price not as stated.
Cups on cups on cups.
I was very surprised to find unlimited soft drinks (like a refill cup) in fast food outlets from time to time. People are still paying extra for a larger cup. So you do not have to walk often, I think?
Churches and morning commutes.
Europeans have gone to Texas, the difference in religion is amazing. It's so much more common in people's lives here. There are some beautiful churches in Europe, but they do not seem to have the same spirit as [in] Texas.
Also sacred f – k, the driving distances are immense. One hour in the morning is normal for people.
Her advertising on television for prescription drugs. We found the disclaimer for the funny side effects.
Boston is basically Europe.
Boston: I did not realize that I left Europe.
Houston: The people were as friendly as they were huge. And loud. Very loud. And loud, I think.
Nashville and other places I've visited have mixed in my mind, except for the delicious food.
Oh, and the person who asked if my country had coins and traffic lights. I .. what .. yes? I mean .. what?
There are flags everywhere. The American flag density per square kilometer is so much higher than any other place I've been to. It's like every other house has a flag.
I was not ready for the size of the cars! I'm used to getting into cars by opening the door and sitting down, not climbing up. And we had a car rental, a kind of Dodge, that was pretty much a tank, with tiny windows so you could barely see where you were going.
Texas is yuge.
I left my Texas hotel at 7:00 am – stopped at McDonalds and got enough breakfast sandwiches to get over lunch. I stopped at a gas station to get gas and cigs and 2 cokes. I shot it through Texas, sometimes over 90 miles an hour. I stopped again to go to the bathroom and get gas and snacks. At 7.30pm I stopped at the hotel to spend the night. I was still in Texas.
Florida does not understand English-English.
While we were in Florida, we made a passage and the lady could not understand what I wanted to order, no matter how slowly and carefully I spoke, so instead I decided to go in, where the lady behind the counter could not understand me either. I'm a North Brit, but not too wide an accent.
My little sister had to put on her Florida accent to order for us, the manager who finally accepted the order said she was sorry because the staff were only used to "normal" English lol.
Chips are not fries.
In 1987 I asked for a burger and fries and then asked me why the hotel waitress saw me funny. Then my food turned up …
Lots of water in the toilet.
So much water in your toilet bowls! It's like taking your shit out to swim.
Casual "hellos" of strangers.
As I walked around in Austin, indiscriminate people simply gave me a "Hey, how are you" as they passed by. If someone in the UK looks your way, it probably means he's trying to sell you something. I probably offended a couple of them with how defensive I seemed …
Walmart is very much Walmart.
Not European (but Australian) but went to Walmart in Arkansas. It was like stepping onto the People of Walmart side.