10 Things Americans Do That Confuse All Other Countries

  • Published on Aug 22, 2018
  • How to avoid some awkward situations abroad? The US is home to some customs that are very confusing to foreigners. Do you know which habits you should leave in the US before heading out on your travels? Check out this list of things Americans do that confuse the rest of the world.
    No metric system 1:04
    Customizing restaurant orders 2:30
    Vacation time 3:15
    Can I get a to-go box, please? 4:42
    Tipping 5:53
    Alcohol laws 6:35
    Variety of goods 7:13
    Thumbs up 8:15
    Being extremely patriotic 9:06
    Sales tax 9:59

    - The rest of the world is familiar with meters for measurements, kilograms for weight, liters for volume, and Celsius for temperature. But not the US! Only 3 countries in the world still use the imperial system of measurements: Myanmar, Liberia, and the US.
    - In America, it’s customary to request substitutions, additions, or changes to a menu order. But some foreign cultures that take great pride in their cuisine might consider it impolite if an American wanted to make substitutions, order a different sauce, or ask for an item to be left out of a dish.
    - Americans have very little time off compared to the rest of the world. 30% of American workers have 5 to 9 days off annually, 38% have 10 to 14 days, and 16% have 15 to 19 days. 8% have less than 5 days, and a lucky 2% have over 24 days. This means that the vast majority of Americans only have 10 to 14 days of vacation. Since there’s no law in the US to say that vacation time is mandatory, one out of every 4 Americans doesn’t get a single day off work.
    - A common American custom is to ask for a to-go box for their leftovers. However, if you do this in a foreign country, it might be frowned upon.
    - In America, given that waiters earn a small wage, it is customary to leave a 15%-20% tip. In Europe and most Asian countries, the service charge for restaurant dining is already included in the bill. Tipping in countries like China and Japan is practically nonexistent.
    - Most countries in the world have a legal drinking age of 18 or 19 years old. The US, along with countries like Sri Lanka, Samoa, and Kuwait, has a legal drinking age of 21.
    - Foreigners are amazed by the variety of goods sold in American supermarkets and pharmacies. Foreign supermarkets are mostly designed to offer food and a few home necessities. American superstores like Walmart offer a huge selection of food, furniture, car items, home improvement tools, and clothing.
    - Americans might think that giving someone the thumbs up is a universally positive sign, meaning “Well done!” or “Everything’s good!” But don’t use this gesture in Australia, Greece, or the Middle East as it's a rude way of telling someone to get lost. You might think that pointing at something is OK, but not in China! That gesture is considered to be very rude.
    - A lot of foreign countries reserve the use of their national flag for official government buildings. But in the US, you see the flag everywhere.
    - An aspect that confuses most foreigners visiting the United States is sales tax. They might be confused when they take an item to the register only to find out that it costs more than advertised. In Europe, sales tax is already added to the price displayed on the price tag; in the US, it gets added at the register.
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Comments • 4 174

    BRIGHT SIDE  Month ago +73

    Hey everybody! Are there any confusing things in your countries?

    • Susan Skinner
      Susan Skinner 22 hours ago +1

      +Vukasin Trojanovic understandable. Should include natives from all areas of the Americas, though, and not just the US.

    • Vukasin Trojanovic
      Vukasin Trojanovic 23 hours ago

      +Susan Skinner Only natives can be considered Americans, other ones come from Europe, Asia or Africa

    • Susan Skinner
      Susan Skinner Day ago +1

      Another confusing thing about the US is that we call ourselves America/Americans, when people from elsewhere often call us the US or the States. Given that there is more than one "American" continent (let alone individual country), it's an odd name to some.

    • Vukasin Trojanovic
      Vukasin Trojanovic Day ago

      In Serbia, ordering food to your home adress is not a popular thing, I only saw 1 (rich) family do it

    • Iuli Duli
      Iuli Duli 2 days ago

      Why do Americans eat that much and have eating contests??

  • Elodie Bardes
    Elodie Bardes 11 hours ago

    In France it's possible to ask for a-to-go box because of the waist of food since a few years.

  • noob sybot
    noob sybot 11 hours ago

    i live in Australia and we don't get a mandatory 20 day vacation that's a flat out lie i only have 2 days a year that are what you would call a vacation day, Christmas day and Boxing day, get your facts right before to tell fake information

  • Rachel Newstead
    Rachel Newstead 11 hours ago

    One thing they didn't mention is that people in other countries often have an unspoken expectation that we'll haggle over the price of an item, whereas Americans will pay whatever the stated price is. It caused some awkward moments when I visited Paris. I almost ended up paying a hundred and twenty francs for a sketch a local artist did of me. Thankfully my tour guide stepped in and talked him down to eighty.

  • Christopher Najar
    Christopher Najar 12 hours ago

    You DO understand that America comprises 35 countries starting with Canada and ending in Cape Horn to the South in Chile, do you? Why do people in the US insist on calling themselves "America"? First confusing thing that gringos do is having such a high level of ignorance and stupidity that goes beyond belief. Wow.

  • George Martin
    George Martin 12 hours ago

    The Imperial measuring system is not quite the same as the U.S. customary system. I don't understand how people make that mistake.

  • DH M
    DH M 13 hours ago

    No, they are not "horn fingers". A horn sign is done with the thumb in. The sign Americans use is with the thumb out. It is a combination of the deaf sign letters for "I", "L" and "U". It means I Love U.

  • Fauzia Yusuf
    Fauzia Yusuf 13 hours ago

    WHY AM I WATCHING THISWHILEIN America excuse me i have to go sleepitis 12am

  • Annette Kingsley
    Annette Kingsley 13 hours ago

    My parents tip big the last time we all went out to dinner they tipped the waitress 50.00

  • Annette Kingsley
    Annette Kingsley 14 hours ago

    My youngest daughter got 6 months paid time off .

  • Koukou Vagias
    Koukou Vagias 16 hours ago

    Thumbs up it is not a bad gesture in Greece... also tip is not included in the bill in Europe...

  • Kimiko Yukimura
    Kimiko Yukimura 16 hours ago

    Americans leave their shoes on in the house, in many countries, including Canada (where I live), that’s considered rude. Also, everyone has to drive because there’s almost no transportation. America doesn’t sell milk in bags either. Some kids get the day off of school on Halloween to trick or treat, we go to school during the day and trick or treat at night.

  • Eduardo Barrezueta
    Eduardo Barrezueta 23 hours ago

    if I know... mmm let me see: while you say America is a country we say America is a continent; what you call football we call t rubgy; what you think is one billion, we know mathematically and economically speaking is only one thousand millions; what you call oil, we call it petroleum; while you think there are 7 continents, we know there are only 6; what you call Australia we call Oceania; what you call ENGLAND, we call it GREAT BRITAIN or UNITED KINGDOM;while you believe the countries south of the U.S. only speak spanish, we are very sure there are a lot of countries that are NOT LATINOS like in Caribean, Central, and South America are many states and countries and even colonies that speak English and Dutch. While you think Canada is a non latino country, we know Canada is a half latino/half non latino country, yeah cuz I am talking the French region; what you believe Spain is a latino country, we know IS NOT, for Spain is an EUROPEAN KINGDOM AND THEY ARE NOT LATINOS, and speaking of... don't call us SPANISH, we are not SPANISH we are either Hispanics or Latinos but not Spanish unless we were born in Spain.

  • IsSidMad
    IsSidMad Day ago

    One thing that always irked me with US movies is that the US = "the world". Especially in super hero movies.
    A city in the US is under attack by something = "it's the end of the world!!"
    The lead character (hero) saves the city = "you saved the world!"

  • Anders Thiel
    Anders Thiel Day ago +1

    You forgot using Schools as shooting ranges

  • Daniel Lilly
    Daniel Lilly Day ago

    Born & raised USA and I found myself agreeing with many of these confusing things. However, there are some practical explanations for some of these things....the sales tax problem, especially. Folks from Europe especially I don't think really grasp how big the USA is. If you really "max out" the comparison, from Key West, Florida to Barrow, Alaska (the cities furthest North and furthest South in the Continental USA) is 4,283 miles (6892km) . For comparison's sake, Lisbon Portugal to Moscow Russia is 2,876 miles (4628km). Now imagine that the confusion that Europeans experience with sales tax versus the confusion that Americans experience with the 2 dozen or so languages (and signs and advertisements etc.) found between Portugal and Russia. The difference? All those nations all have their own languages and customs and programs they want to preserve/need to fund. Here, you'd at least all be speaking English (theoretically) but different States in the USA, and even different cities within the same state, have things they want or need to fund, and thus the sales taxes are literally different everywhere. And it doesn't matter what the item is. It could be a meal at McDonald's, a piece of clothing from H&M, a gallon (liter) of gas (petrol) or a new car. For example, living in the City of Memphis in the US State of Tennessee, the city borders two different states-Arkansas to the west, and Mississippi to the south. Arkansas taxes groceries, so you're smarter to buy those in Memphis. However, gasoline taxes are cheaper in Arkansas, but in Mississippi, cigarette taxes are lower. So, within 30km, you can have the exact same product, at the exact same price from the manufacturer, sold at the exact same price by the exact same retailer, and you'd still potentially have 3 different "final" prices based on which of the 3 states you purchased the item in. Confusing? Yes. Reasonable based on the VAST differences across time and space when compared to Europe? I think so, and I base that on the fact that a tax in Lisbon is different than one in Moscow 'cos the 2 very different places have governments with very different needs for their Citizens. Not a lot of snow removal going on in Portugal like in Moscow, yes? Well, Moscow has to pay for that somehow, yes? Some kind of localized tax that's directed to something very specific that the residents of Lisbon or Ibiza would never in a million years approve of or need, yes? Same thing in the USA, except in a SINGLE country that's about 50% bigger than the whole of a Continent. That's why the sales tax is different everywhere and why it's not "included" on the item's price signage 'cos every single store would need to individually sign every single item in stock, across an area THAT big. It's impossible and impractical.

  • AlchemistNZ Soapmaker

    We don't tip in New Zealand. Instead we pay a bit more for the food but we know the wait staff are being paid, regardless of a bad tempered customer. I've always wondered does the US have a minimum wage that applies to everyone? If not why is that?

  • Veturi Sundara Rama Murthy

    1:24 You are showing Central African Republic instead of Liberia.

  • Shaadowmoon
    Shaadowmoon Day ago

    The gesture for O.K. in the US is something very different in other countries and even sign language.

  • Sea BelowMe
    Sea BelowMe Day ago

    Thumbs up in Aussie land is the same, I think you mean the middle finger.

  • A.J. Steinman
    A.J. Steinman Day ago

    The video subjects us to "like and subscribe" pleading right off, and then the very first item on the list is incorrect-- the U.S. uses the U.S. customary system of measurements, not the Imperial system (which is very similar). In addition, they don't even show the correct location for Liberia. Three strikes right off means a thumbs down.

  • c b
    c b Day ago


  • Gary Speirs
    Gary Speirs Day ago

    What is this vacation time? I work 7 days a week up to 80-110 hours a week

  • ITX Official
    ITX Official 2 days ago +1

    Can we all, globally, agree that the sales tax thing is absolutely RIDICULOUS?!?

  • Daniel Lubaszka
    Daniel Lubaszka 2 days ago

    In Kuwait drinking is ilegal! Period!!!! No matter how old are You!

  • Joel bolaño olivares

    the thing about horn fingers in colombia it's a lie

  • 7 Points Music
    7 Points Music 2 days ago

    This information is wrong about Austria getting the most in Europe. In Germany (where I live) people get 25 days of paid vacation plus national and religious holidays, and in Luxembourg (where my wife and I work) we get a minimum of 30 days of paid vacation a year, plus 10 days of holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.). Not to mention the fact that paid sick leave is unlimited. You just don't want to abuse it because your co-workers will eventually get fed up with you or you can get fired if it is proven that you are taking advantage of the system.

  • Young Bob
    Young Bob 2 days ago

    When England is in a over more than one day people put the Union Jack flag on their cars

  • jallucky
    jallucky 2 days ago

    #7 Its my food, how is my not finishing food rude. Why is packaging my food rude I don't understand. I like America better interns of food

  • Andreas Laursen
    Andreas Laursen 2 days ago

    at 1:25 your Liberia is actually a picture of The Central African Republic. You should know, not only because of your huge audience, but also because Liberia was an american protectorate... Good on you

  • Grant K
    Grant K 2 days ago

    Australian born and raised, and this is the first time that I've heard that 'thumbs up' in Australia is telling someone to go away. I've only ever known it to mean a sign of approval

  • GoldenBoy
    GoldenBoy 2 days ago

    Buy guns.

  • hend goname
    hend goname 2 days ago

    Lol what's with not giving a thumbs up in the middle east??😂 pffffft

  • Annie William
    Annie William 2 days ago

    considered yourself lucky some people has 1 day or half day vacation

  • ger du
    ger du 2 days ago

    Kindly don't confuse to confuse with to inspire derision.

  • SarisWelt
    SarisWelt 2 days ago

    Well here in Germany and even in Spain I got a to go box😂
    I live in Germany soo^^
    In Germany we also tip but not as much as in the US

  • Torsten Fink
    Torsten Fink 2 days ago

    1:25 check out Liberia on a map ;)

  • Jatentaki
    Jatentaki 2 days ago

    For some reason the American tendency to build superstores is illustrated with a Polish shopping mall (at 7:37)

  • Lydia Melina
    Lydia Melina 3 days ago

    We have no such thing as a "get lost" with the thumb in Greece.

  • ThePolkadog
    ThePolkadog 3 days ago


  • Birdie Berger
    Birdie Berger 3 days ago

    its cool! thumbs up in Australia

  • Jiahui
    Jiahui 3 days ago

    You’re Chinese tour guide might have a problem with you tipping them with Japanese yen...

  • Jan Motorinstructeur

    Not so much confusing as annoying , The Bragging and the " Well, you´re not American so your opinion doesn`t mean squat" attitude.

  • Victoria Rodriguez
    Victoria Rodriguez 3 days ago

    There isn't a drinking age because in Kuwait alcohol is very illegal.

  • Angela Pugsley
    Angela Pugsley 3 days ago

    The image used for Liberia is wrong it shows the Central African Repiblic

  • delfin7461
    delfin7461 3 days ago

    switching knife and fork after cutting food, in most countries where forks and knives are used, you keep the fork in your right and and don't set down your knife.

  • C V
    C V 3 days ago

    After living in Australia for one year, I can tell you no one cares if you give them a thumbs up.

  • Farhia Mohamud
    Farhia Mohamud 3 days ago

    I don’t know what this world would be like without America. A lot of people surviving there. I don’t care who thinks it belongs to them we are all here temporarily and this world belongs to whoever lives that day. God bless America ❤️ ✌️

  • sprocketrocket07
    sprocketrocket07 3 days ago

    Weird what you said about thumbs up being rude in Australia. Wrong. The only time a thumbs up could be considered rude if you swing it from low to high pointing over your shoulder; basically saying get lost. A steady outward thumbs up gesture is a sign of approval. How anyone could confuse the two is just plain weird. 👍

  • Lucario_Mega_Altaria

    and also national anthems are sung at sports and flags are everywhere

  • Lucario_Mega_Altaria

    in nz there is 2 go bags we just call them doggy bags and we can meal subsitute as well

  • Lucario_Mega_Altaria

    yes in schools there are terms and so there are 4 terms a year each term is 10 weeks of school and in between each term there i a 2 week holiday and starting at december 15th there is a 6 week holiday (today is the last day of the term 3-4 holidays)

  • Ray Jennings
    Ray Jennings 3 days ago

    Meters (01:10) are used the whole world over for measurement but of things like water flow, gas use, electricity consumption etc. When measuring something the rest of the world - apart from Liberia and Myanmar, use METRES. If you're going to use what is an essentially foreign word then at least spell it correctly.

  • EinieN J
    EinieN J 3 days ago

    Again the voice of mystery history..

  • Laurka LaurkaDunes
    Laurka LaurkaDunes 4 days ago

    I knew in England that they include a fee with the bill, but I couldn't help myself to still tip and extra 20% everywhere I went.

  • Michael Taylor
    Michael Taylor 4 days ago

    Avoid this comment section. It's full of squabbling lunatics. smdh

  • Paulo Palma
    Paulo Palma 4 days ago +2

    I always wondered why Americans mock so much with Canada. Is it all envy of them ?

  • SPOOKY stalkEr
    SPOOKY stalkEr 4 days ago +1

    8:33 I'm from Saudi Arabia and this fact is absolutely false

  • Carey Webb
    Carey Webb 4 days ago

    In Australia , where I live , thumbs up is not rude , it generally means all good or along those lines .

  • bø boo
    bø boo 4 days ago

    You highlighted the Central African Republic on the map and not Liberia...

  • Eva Chan
    Eva Chan 4 days ago

    I love US dollars, I love speaking English, I also miss the jungle book as I was a child I grow up only country is most powerful is Amer ica without law and$ America can't grow, lots good things they help other countries and save life.

  • vilabreze
    vilabreze 4 days ago

    Great pointers!

  • Ala Potato
    Ala Potato 4 days ago

    Bright Side: Shows chinese flag
    Also Bright Side: show japanese yen beside chinese flag

  • BadKitty NoTuna
    BadKitty NoTuna 4 days ago

    To go along with #7 in some countries it's best to leave some food on your plate and some liquid in your glass because it shows the host you were properly fed and wont be leaving hungry or thirsty.

  • Adiarby13
    Adiarby13 4 days ago

    When the whole world talk bad about USA in the comment section, you know there is something wrong with USA😂

  • King Kasma
    King Kasma 4 days ago

    I have 30 days off

  • JY Assistant
    JY Assistant 5 days ago +1

    "How To Identify Hipocritical Channels On TVclip"

  • Μαρινος Ντασης

    8:32 wait what?😂 i live in greece and this is the first time that i here that

  • Fck it
    Fck it 5 days ago

    The thumbs up thing in Australia is wrong.. we dont think its offensive at all??

  • Benjamin Meusburger
    Benjamin Meusburger 5 days ago

    Greetings from Austria ->25 days paid vacation is the minimum ...
    Have a nice day :-)

  • Dora Clement
    Dora Clement 5 days ago

    My family is from Italy. Most Italians can speak only using hand gestures 😂

  • Lindsi A
    Lindsi A 5 days ago

    Is this Casey Kasem!?!

  • Dennis Suto
    Dennis Suto 5 days ago

    The saying; "Smelly Feet" and "Runny Nose".

  • scott dubick
    scott dubick 5 days ago

    #1a Most confusing thing Americans do- We make videos on TVclip explaining things we do that confuse other people.

  • ian muyna
    ian muyna 5 days ago +1

    What I have notice Americans are allowed to own a gun for protection as long as it is licensed. Unlike other countries like South korea, it is very unusual to own one. And it is very wierd for them if someone brings it with them in public aside from police officers.

  • Michael Vincent
    Michael Vincent 5 days ago

    Uggg video drags on about a lot of nothing

  • kye rosendale
    kye rosendale 5 days ago

    incorrect on the thumbs up in australia, its used all the time as an acknowledgment and even good job.

  • Jeff Walker
    Jeff Walker 5 days ago

    In Germany while dining out, don't be surprised in an empty restaurant that people come sit down right next to you. It is a common practice just like their farming communities where houses are in clumps as opposed to spread out. I was told it was a security issue from darker times. Also while cutting meat or using a knife and fork, if you are right handed, cut with your right hand and use the fork in your left hand. They will come up to you and correct your behavior otherwise.

  • Somedutta Ghosh
    Somedutta Ghosh 6 days ago

    Shocking to not find a single comment on 'inching ahead'!

  • Daylover
    Daylover 6 days ago

    Dont be afrid to cross a red blinking hand in Denmark if you go out in red ligts its a big no no but in Usa to warlk over the red hand blinking or go to the right in a car if no one is comming is ok 😯

  • Fandil
    Fandil 6 days ago

    In Denmark we actually get 25 payed vacation days and at least 5 hollydays of a year. Many get 4-5 extra days payed vacation

  • Fahad Ahmad
    Fahad Ahmad 6 days ago

    Kuwait doesn't have "legal drinking age". Alcohol is illegal in Kuwait.

  • andrew szigeti
    andrew szigeti 6 days ago

    We tried allowing 18-year-olds to drink legally. DWI fatalities dramatically increased.
    By and large, lack of public transportation in America and a lack of private responsibility among a small but significant percentage of drinkers causes a big problem with DWIs here.

  • Carl Goldsmith
    Carl Goldsmith 6 days ago

    you are wrong about the legal drinking age in Kuwait, alcohol is completely banned. The prohibition was enacted in 1964 and is still in effect.

  • Jay Jay ingocnito
    Jay Jay ingocnito 6 days ago

    you also might find a flag being burned yeh patriotism

  • Allison Rigby
    Allison Rigby 6 days ago

    Ice cubes...

  • dragonproject
    dragonproject 6 days ago

    We use the 12 hour clock vs the 24 hour clock

  • Limp business
    Limp business 6 days ago

    Never has any restaurant in the world thought I was being impolite when I asked them to substitute a side dish of my order . That's ridiculous. If you want mashed potatoes instead of fries, they'll give it to you. It's common sense for any establishment in the world to satisfy their customers.

    JUST SOMEONE 6 days ago

    The 3th one isn't true in the middle east.

  • Olrac Sobi
    Olrac Sobi 6 days ago +1

    I have never really understood patriotism. How can you love an abstract concept, like a land or a nation? You may love a particular landscape, people, animals, travelling or a place, maybe because you have experienced something remarkable for your life there... but a 'state'? It sounds insane to me...

    • NecroToad
      NecroToad 20 hours ago

      you don't love your country?

  • Idiot Is me
    Idiot Is me 6 days ago

    I am in C A N A D A, and my dad gets the weekend off

  • Irving Tochez
    Irving Tochez 6 days ago

    That's not Liberia you show on the map, but Central Africa republic.

  • Jumanah Idris
    Jumanah Idris 6 days ago

    I live in the Middle East. It's fine to give someone the thumbs up here. No one will be offended. I'm not sure where you got the notion that it would be impolite. LOL

  • jinny bikini
    jinny bikini 6 days ago

    It's mind boggling when some Americans want to ask you the time; Instead of just asking, " hey, what time is it? " they say, "Do you have the time?" To which I always answer, "Yes, how can I assist you?" Only to find out that they were asking to know what time of day it is.😕😕😕😒😒

  • Fleur Puttock
    Fleur Puttock 6 days ago

    Most of these things are normal in England.

  • Rui .Campos
    Rui .Campos 7 days ago

    horn finger means nothing in portugal...

  • Stari Byrd
    Stari Byrd 7 days ago

    I would like to point out that despite the fact that the American flag is worn on many articles of clothing the only wearing of the flag that is actually allowable by flag code is a lapel pin. All other uses on clothing are violation of flag code. I always find it amusing when someone accuses a person kneeling during the anthem of being unpatriotic while they're perfectly happy watching a girl walk around in a bikini made out of the flag.

  • Wongiwe Madlavu
    Wongiwe Madlavu 7 days ago

    This honestly makes me not wanna go to the US

  • Marianna MT22
    Marianna MT22 7 days ago

    I am from Greece and we know what a thumb up means. It doesn't mean get lost. Nobody will think this is rude.