7 Things American’s Do Differently

With the 4th of July only a week ago, it would be rude not to post about the USA right? Whilst wracking my brains on what to write, it finally hit me. What do American’s do differently to the rest of us? As an Aussie, whilst in the USA, there were many things that took me a little while to get used to and get the hang of.


My first ever ‘Yard Glass Daiquiri’ at Senor Frogs, Las Vegas. 2014. Photo Credit: A.Pearce

And so here they are, 7 things American’s do differently to us foreigners:- 

  1. Tipping

    This is one that I found incredibly difficult to become accustomed to, even after 7 weeks! The minimum wage in the USA (and Canada for that matter) is very low and so employees rely heavily on the tips from customers to make a living. This is incredibly different to Australia as back home we tip if the service was truly exceptional. Whilst you shouldn’t feel obligated to tip if your service was awful, between 18-25% of the bill is usually a sufficient tip and more often than not your waiter/taxi driver/bartender would have earned it.

  2. Chips, Fries, Wedges, it’s all confusing!

    This one caught me off guard. I went to a KFC in San Diego and ordered ‘a large chips’ (as we would all say in Australia) however, the cashier looked at me oddly and then i realised, it’s not CHIPS in America for hot chips, its FRIES. Chips would be referring to potato crisps which is not served at KFC or what I was wanting. Turns out they gave me hot wedges instead so even I am still a little confused.

  3. Sport is taken very seriously!


    Spectators at Brooklyn Nets VS Cleveland Cavaliers NBA game, New York. 2014. Photo Credit: K.Allan

    For many Americans, the football/basketball/hockey/baseball is more than just a sport. It is their life and this becomes truly visible when looking around at any games. American’s are incredibly involved when their team is winning or losing, and with that, they are very vocal. Be warned, although it is thoroughly entertaining to watch a grown man have a little tantrum when his team loses, just quietly.

  4. American passenger seats are on the right side

    In Australia we sit on the right side of the car as a driver, however in the States the driver is on the left. Super confusing and more often than not as a passenger in a taxi, I went to instinctively sit in the ‘passenger seat’ which was actually the taxi drivers lap, oops! This one takes some getting used to, as well as looking the opposite way than usual before crossing the road as traffic flows in the opposite direction to Australia.

  5. Tax is not included in the shelf price

    This one drove me crazy! The price you see on the self or on the tag unfortunately is not the final price. Tax is added to the item once it’s been scanned through so keep this in mind if you think you’re getting a bargain!

  6. Pickles, pickles and more pickles

    Americans truly love their pickles, on burgers, sandwiches or even by themselves, you’ll find them somehow on your plate for many meals!

  7. Free-pouring

    In Australia (and many other countries I’m sure), if you order a drink, say a vodka lemonade, the bartender will measure a single shot of vodka in a shot glass and then mix that with lemonade. In the USA however, free pouring is standard and the bartender will ‘estimate’ how much alcohol is a shot and free-pour without measuring specifically. For me personally, I found this made the drinks MUCH stronger than what I was used to and therefore did not drink as many drinks on a night out as I would back home purely based on the amount of alcohol per glass.


Cocktails at The View, Marriott Marquis. 2013. Photo Credit: A.Barton

You’ll notice many more weird traditions, customs and ways of life that American’s do differently, but this is why you travel here. To experience the different and incredible culture that is America!

Comment below and let me know what you guys think American’s do differently to the rest of us?

All posts are by GlobalWhispers2014 and are entirely my own opinions, views and experiences.


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