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Foreign Policy Analysis
American Things Other Countries Find Weird

American Things Other Countries Find Weird

The word “weird” has come a long way since
its origins in Old English. It was first related to destiny, or the “power
to control one’s fate”, and later was tied up with the supernatural. From there it started meaning odd or uncanny. And odd and uncanny is what we’ll talk about
today when looking at folks in the good old USA. Every nation has some kind of collective idiosyncrasy,
such as those Brits that certainly talk about the weather a lot, or those Japanese that
created cuddle cafes where lonely businessmen can repose in the warm embrace of a stranger
by the hour or for the whole night. Male friends in some countries kiss when they
say hello, women in other countries hide their faces, and this can seem weird for those who
don’t understand it. Today let’s look at just one country in
particular, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Weird Things Americans Do. A Bucket of Coffee please
Ok, so maybe it’s not only Americans that do this, but we reckon Americans excel at
it. In a story by British author Julian Barnes
in the book “Lemon Table”, one elderly British woman points out how waiters in some
restaurants habitually keep filling up her coffee. It’s quite nice in fact, but in Britain
such service would cost you a small fortune. And Americans seem to drink coffee by the
gallon. Go to France or Italy, and in many cafes you’ll
find your cup of coffee isn’t cheap and comes in a tiny cup or glass. Americans are mass consumers of coffee, and
we doubt any country can match it. U.S. comedian Bill Hicks made a joke about
Americans and their coffee habit before he died. The joke goes, he asked for a coffee in one
restaurant and the waiter said, “You want the 32-ounce or the large?” How big is the large asked Hicks, and the
waiter replied, “You’ll wanna pull your car around back. I’ll start the pump.” The Beast of the Feast
So, you probably already know this, and you don’t need to have visited the USA to have
heard about it, but visitors often remark on how damned big portions are there. We’ve talked about this before, but not
the real beast eaters. You see, in the states, all over the place,
you’ve got those ‘eat this ridiculously large, heart-stopping, gut-busting meal in
30 minutes and you get it for free’. Godzilla would struggle to walk out of that
deal without begrudgingly pulling out his wallet- yet there are names on the plaque
on the wall. But why would anyone literally make themselves
sick and pay for it? Only an American could explain. The question was asked on Quora about this,
and most people said food is cheap, and big portions sell to the majority of people in
everyday restaurants. But we like this answer, which kind of flips
it: “Your question might well be turned around to ask why are portions in the rest
of the world so small? The United States has a good food supply and
people expect value for their money.” Knights everywhere
You won’t find this happening all over the place in the states, but you will likely be
called Sir or for a woman ma’am at some point in your trip. It’s very polite and visitors will have
nothing against it, but being called Sir will feel strange for most. Perhaps if you are in the armed forces, it
might work. Even calling cops sir seems weird to outsiders. For most people, you have to be knighted to
be called Sir, although admittedly some school kids in the UK might call their teacher Sir. For Americans, it’s a sign of respect, for
anyone else, it’s over the top. You’ll find it’s more common in the south
of the U.S. Smokes and Drugs
This is weird to just about anyone outside of the USA- the fact that at some pharmacies
or drugs stores, you can buy cigarettes. While many pharmacies in the U.S. stopped
doing this, you can still find it. It does seem rather odd that the place selling
you things to improve your health would be selling you those cancerous sticks of tobacco. In 2014, CVS Pharmacies in the U.S. stopped
doing this, stating, “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care
just don’t go together in the same setting.” Hmm, took a while to figure that out. Beer everywhere
While you must be 21 to buy beer in the United States, you can get it in some surprising
places. One such place is the aforementioned pharmacy,
but you can add to find beer sold in vending machines, at some clothing stores,
some coffee shops, at some Drive Throughs, and even some special hospitals will have
beer for sale. These admittedly are rare. Accident Lawyers
If you’ve watched the show Breaking Bad, you’ll know there’s a lawyer who will
make sure you get paid for an accident you had, or even didn’t quite have. In the U.S., you can see signs for these sometimes-sleazy
guys on TV, or even see their shiny white teeth on giant advertising boards. This used to be weird in the UK, but over
the last few years, the Brits are also getting in on accident claims, and their TVs are also
full of nice people saying, “Did you have an accident? Do you know you could get compensated for
that…call this number…?” Drug dealers on TV
The last thing you need when all you really need is some exercise and clean living is
someone on TV telling you can buy a possibly addictive, happy drug that can solve all your
problems. These commercials might have calming music,
birds flying over rainbows, people skipping and dancing through the park, and then someone
saying a wonder drug made that happen. The original Zoloft (anti-depression drug)
ad, told you, “You just shouldn’t have to feel this way.” Maybe not, but to many Europeans, pushing
it on TV seems a bit too much.. Drinking Games
Now for something a bit more fun, but still related to drugs. If you visit America, and certainly if you
are young, you might get caught up in any number of drinking games they have over there. Beer Pong, that’s got to be American. Or what about Truth or Dare – works better
when alcohol has oiled the inhibitions. Or Quarters – no cursing, no first names,
no right hand accepting…no chance of staying sober. There’s even Drink-A-Palooza, an actual
board game for drinking. In most other countries drinking isn’t always
that much fun. What happens in America, stays in America
Ok, so many of those videos out there on YouTube showing the glaring ignorance of some Americans
about the rest of the world were made by Americans, so we don’t feel like we are picking on
Americans too much here. But it’s not only just world history that
some folks from the USA might not have read up on. We heard a story about a guy that asked an
American friend when travelling in Europe what accent she thought she had. She replied, “I don’t have one.” She thought she spoke pure English. Another tale we heard was of a young man from
West Virginia who met some Brits while travelling in Israel. He asked the Brits how the highways were in
England. The Brits, jokingly, replied that they didn’t
have cars and still used the horse and cart. The guy replied, “Wow.” When the question was asked on Quora why some,
and we say some, Americans don’t know much about the world, the answers were mostly related
to the education system focusing only on the U.S., and the country already being so big
and diverse. The American writer and intellectual Noam
Chomsky wrote that the reason why Americans know so much about sports but so little about
world affairs is because that’s just the way the system was set up for most people. Is it weird? You’ll find it everywhere, but those videos
we see do seem to make some Americans seem quite ignorant of the world outside America. Let’s just say if you can’t get close
to pointing where North Korea is on a map but hate the country, there is a problem. Peeping Tom
Ok, let’s stop being so harsh now. We’ll turn to something amusing and ask
why in the USA, some toilet stalls have such big gaps between the doors and the outer piece
of the stall, so people can virtually watch you do your private business. Many Americans have asked this online. Foreigners ask this a lot, too. One guy on Twitter writes, “When ur sitting
on the toilet and u make eye contact with someone through the little crack in the door.” A woman asks, “What’s the point of a toilet
stall door when there is a 2-inch gap on each side?” Most answers we can find were related to safety,
to know someone is in there, to get you out quickly, and making it easier to clean. There’s a huge debate on TripAdvisor about
the topic, but no one seems to know the answer. How Are You
This could be said to be similar in other countries, but when an American asks “How
are you?” they are not usually looking for an answer. It’s just a way of saying hello. An extensive reply about your ingrown toenail,
your setback with Bitcoin, and the fact your father didn’t give you enough attention
as a kid, is probably not what your interlocutor was wanting or expecting. You can just answer with, “Hey.” The Real Home of Football
Ok, as we’ve just had the World Cup of a game called football, we might as well go
ahead and say that the rest of the world thinks America is weird for calling its strange stop-and-start
game, football. But we should tell you that it was the Brits
that first called the game soccer, which is a diminutive of the words “Association Football.” The word ‘soc’ came from association and
the Guardian tells us Brits back then loved to put an -er at the end of words. Later the Americans naturally called it soccer
just as the Brits did. Then the Brits decided the word soccer sounded
too American and let it go. Now, the Brits and Europeans had been playing
this football thing since medieval times, and it was called football back then too. But there were many types of football, including
rugby. That’s why the word soccer became a thing. Americans just took the word football for
their own game just as Europeans had done. But to be honest, American football is much
closer to rugby, so it’s still a bit weird. But just let’s finish with saying, if any
Brit or European gives you a hard time about calling the game soccer just tell them what
we told you. They started it. You have no defense though for calling a game
played mostly with the hands, football. So, can you add to this list? Have you visited America and found some things
weird? Are you American and disagree with what we
said? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called American Things Europeans Find Weird. Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 comments on “American Things Other Countries Find Weird

  1. I’m american and i work/live at the beach and we have students from Romania here in the summer and one guy extensively asked why people say “how are you” and then just walk away bc that’s like an invitation to an intimate conversation in their perspective and i was basically like “you know… idk, it’s just something we do. it is weird. i just don’t think about it” and i guess wanting to blend in, they started doing it too 😂
    however, most of them think we’re really nice. i think they’re nicer, and that americans in the restaurant industry are a really bad example because that’s like 35% meaner than the general american population lol

  2. German speaking here: US beer is watered down hops tea. Try some real beer across your northern border or in continental Europe.

  3. I have been to half the states in the US in my life and have never ever seen a beer vending machine

  4. Not all Americans are Moby obese some are healthy to the extreme and some and some nice and there's someone who's ignorant

  5. He forgot one thing to mention
    Killing innocent black people in the US is also strange to other countries

  6. People inside the US call their country America when there is an entire continent named that way.

    I do live in America… North America… But just to clarify, not in the US.

  7. When you walk pass someone in the street and you both go ‘oright’ and none of you answer skskskksksksks

  8. Ridiculous, not accurate at all, you short sighted egocentric former british colony, you are simply as bad as russia

  9. I'm American and find most of these things odd. I prefer the metric system and don't like being asked "How are you?" by every person I encounter.

  10. "if you're in America speak english"
    Okay first off to everyone who are uneducated: Canada, Mexico, USA, Peru, Brazil, Puerto Rico is in THE AMERICAS. USA does not Equal "America" 😂

  11. 1 us coffee is nasty 2 usa is full of fat people and tips no I dont when I go there cant live on one job get two

  12. I recall Canada had normal sized portions in fast food restraunts. Nowadays things are just…bigger

  13. Finland has highest usage of coffe per person in The world but not by bigger amount coffe used by country because our population is 5,5 million

  14. This is just what Europeans think about Americans. What do Latins, Africans, Pacific Islanders or Asians think of Americans? I think about 7 billion people in the world were left out of this conversation.

  15. Haha the weirdest thing of course. America is the whole continent As America is NorthAmerica or United States nd americanas are northamericans

    And anyone born un Brasil Argentina Canadá or Mexico are americanas!

  16. stop
    Ima american.
    Oh say can you see, in the dawn's early light, how proudly we stare, in the twilights last gleaming, oh reckets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave prouf through the night that the flag was still there. Verse 2 is too long. Ima not sing it.

  17. Australians call football soccer too. But that’s because we already have our own version of football. And yes, In Aussie football you do use your foot.

  18. Tipping for EVERYTHING that involves a service, sales tax that's not already added to the price in shops and unable to make their own decisions in bars and restaurants.
    Sorry to say but Americans seem to want to know everything about the menu and are very indecisive in what they want especially in bars.

  19. Why is Americans just advertising "eat this 5000 calories meal in 30 minutes and don't pay" when they can give that to Africa!

  20. I've met a few American s in Ireland when their on vacation, some of them asked me do I know their distant relation, they'd say things like "Do you know of the Murphy clan from Ballygobackwards" . Sure I'd wind them up and say yes they were banished from the village for practicing witchcraft.
    They ask this alot, as if I should know their relations that live on the other side of Ireland.
    I find that strange about Americas.

  21. To confuse things even more, Rugby is the name of a place where they played a version of football (similar to American football) that became known simply as Rugby.

  22. Ok first thing first the term Americans is used wrong America is the continent not the country we a United states of America an American is any one living one the American continent like bolivians or Mexicans or canadians I think tanks would be a better moniker for the U.S.A.

  23. US is the largest consumer of coffee really? Have they been to Vietnam? Per capita Vietnam literally has a coffee shop on every block.

  24. 1:16 Yeah if the Infographics show had done any research whatsoever before making this video, they would have found that USA is actually only the 25:th largest per capita coffee consumer.

  25. Let's stereotype america.

    Big fat hamburgers.
    XXXL Cola's.
    2001/9/11 ( instead of 11/9/2001 )
    School shootings.
    Brainwashed america lovers.
    biggest army.
    An orange as president.
    Only understand american english.
    fat people.
    OH!. MY. GOSH!, you also are DRAMA QUEENS!!!!

    but hey,
    at least it works out for you guys.
    America aka the weird fat kid in class. ( be carefully! america could have an weapon )

  26. Im American and I find some of it stereo typical but it has some truth to it and often we find things other Americans do as weird hey but if America is weird all the other countries are weird too

  27. In England you greet by saying ‘you alright?’ And the reply is ‘you alright?’ Often shortened to just ‘alright?’

  28. In Australia in 7 elevens there is always a cabinet with an anti smoking message and behind it is a ton of cigarettes and I know this cuz I’ve seen people buy them, I don’t smoke, it’s basically paying for death or really bad health problems that could be worse than death. EDIT I saw a joke book and this is how it goes (I may get a bit wrong but the context is the same and I don’t mean anything in his comment to be offensive):

    What do u call someone that speaks multiple languages? Multilingual
    What do u call someone that speaks 2 languages? Bilingual
    What do u call someone that speaks 1 language? American

  29. 2:49 soldier:Sir,yes,sir three bags wool
    One for the master one for the wolf
    Commander: wait wolf?
    Wolf- !?!??!!
    (Akward silence)
    Commander-RUN! Dundundundundundun

  30. Nope, US is number 25 in the coffee consumption (4.2 kg/person/year). Finland is the number one, 12 kg per capita.

  31. 6:41 The gap in the toilet door is there because here in America there is an inordinate amount of people who REFUSE to lock the stall door EVER!!!

  32. 1) american coffee is pisswater.
    2) american food is very low quality.. esp. the meat.
    3) calling people Sir is pretty insulting.
    4) Cheap Drugs. No healthcare in america.
    5) American beer is pisswater
    6) every 5 minutes Advertising in american TV
    7) Drinking beer only with age 21+
    8) American Education is very low compared to the rest of the world. they dont seem ignorant.. THEY ARE ignorant.
    9) Sports superbowl (nobody cares in the rest of the world, its a "national" thing, its a pure american thing .. not international)

  33. You forgot to say that the American coffee bucket is actually just a normal cup of coffee in a hot water bucket.

  34. Mass consumers of coffee ey? Take one second and google coffee per capita. In scandinavia people practicaly lives on coffee.

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