Internet compares unusual American standards in Europe
It’s no secret that cultural norms differ depending on where you are in the world. In the United States, everyday activities like driving or dining out may seem like subtle happenings, but certain cultural norms can be seen as major lifestyle changes in other parts of the world.
While it can be hard to understand how different American culture can be from European culture, one Reddit user has reminded the internet that there are seemingly minor American standards that are taboo in Europe.
Last week, a Reddit thread on the popular r/AskReddit forum went viral when user u/Raphael_Olbert asked the internet, “What’s usual in America, but not in Europe?” The thread has already garnered over 6,000 comments from people sharing their experiences of visiting both parts of the world.
“Driving long distances for things unrelated to leisure travel,” u/namehimgeorge wrote. Another person replied, “Yup. I walked over 100 miles running errands for me and my mom last Thursday.
While Europe and the United States are almost equal in size – 10.2 million square kilometers and 9.8 million square kilometers, respectively – it takes about 2,800 miles to travel from east to west in the United States. United. In some states like New York, a six-hour drive north can still end in the same state.
“I live in Europe and for me if it’s a 30 minute drive it’s considered a long distance trip,” one person said.
Another cultural difference highlighted by internet users is the size of car parks in the United States compared to Europe. “Parking lots larger than the building they serve,” said u/Ferna_89. One person jokingly replied, “And there’s still not enough parking somehow.”
Similarly, many Europeans were surprised by the youthfulness of American teenagers when they first received their driver’s license. The minimum age to drive in the United States varies by state. In some states, the youngest a student can be to receive their license is 14 years old. But for the vast majority of Europe, most people don’t get their driving license until they turn 18.
“I remember a few years ago a friend who turned 16 talked about learning to drive and buying a car and the idea was so foreign to my poor British mind,” said u/Lunarrio . “It still sounds weird, but I guess cars are much more essential in America, whereas a bus or train can get you to most places in the UK.”
One of the biggest cultural differences posed by netizens was the difference between dining at an American restaurant and dining at a European restaurant. In many European countries, tipping waiters is not common because service is often included in the total cost of a meal. But tipping is an important part of restaurant etiquette in the United States, and tipping less than 15% would be considered an insult.
One person remarked on the ‘incredibly large portions of food in restaurants’ in America, while someone else said: ‘Waiters are constantly watching you, even if it means interrupting the conversation. In Europe, they leave you alone unless you obviously need something.
Additionally, sales tax is often not included in the total cost of an item in the United States, but is added later. “My roommate moved from Australia six months ago and he’s STILL complaining about it, he’s not used to it yet,” u/emthejedichic said.
“’If you go to a store with $5, you can’t buy $5 worth of items because when you get to the checkout you have to pay more! How do you support it? they added, mimicking their Aussie housemate’s disbelief. “I just shrugged and said we were used to it.”
Other shocking cultural differences between Europe and the United States include the amount of water in toilets, Americans having trash cans in their kitchen sinks, and the American craving for lots of ice in drinks.