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(Thought Catalog)   Sixteen non-Americans talk about the things they couldn't or wouldn't believe about America before living there. The common denominator: Serving sizes   (thoughtcatalog.com) divider line 407
    More: Interesting, Americans, serving sizes, Harris Teeter, Guyana, SSI, border checkpoints, Kit Kats, American Foreign Policy  
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21579 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Nov 2013 at 11:12 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-12 06:18:28 PM  
Interesting. Even moving back to the US after a couple of years triggers some of these observations. Wait, I can buy milk, on Sunday, at 9pm, in 200 places? In gallons? For $3??? And the cashier is nice? And wishes me a blessed day? WHATTHEIDONTEVEN
 
2013-11-12 06:23:38 PM  

flucto: Interesting. Even moving back to the US after a couple of years triggers some of these observations. Wait, I can buy milk, on Sunday, at 9pm, in 200 places? In gallons? For $3??? And the cashier is nice? And wishes me a blessed day? WHATTHEIDONTEVEN


Indeed. It's pretty interesting to see your own country through a foreign lens.
 
2013-11-12 06:53:39 PM  
People don't really care about the FIFA World Cup even though USA qualifies.

What is this "World Cup" you speak of?
 
2013-11-12 07:09:02 PM  

Triumph: People don't really care about the FIFA World Cup even though USA qualifies.

What is this "World Cup" you speak of?


It's the Stanley Cup of pretending to get hurt and flopping around on the ground
 
2013-11-12 07:17:20 PM  
If this thread goes green, I predict a larger than average percentage of sparkly eagles.
 
2013-11-12 07:26:15 PM  
I work in customer service a lot, and this article has taught me that I should treat foreigners rudely so they can feel at home.
 
2013-11-12 07:53:43 PM  

flucto: Interesting. Even moving back to the US after a couple of years triggers some of these observations. Wait, I can buy milk, on Sunday, at 9pm, in 200 places? In gallons? For $3??? And the cashier is nice? And wishes me a blessed day? WHATTHEIDONTEVEN


I was surprised how many people thought that friendly cashiers was odd.  I didn't realize that was anything special.  The same goes for the surprise at people addressing each other by first name, I know there are some very formal societies out there, but I figured most of the world was more along the lines of the informal way we do it here.
 
2013-11-12 08:19:18 PM  

i259.photobucket.com


AMERICA, FARK YEAH!!

 
2013-11-12 08:20:53 PM  
Some of their bafflement that Americans actually take religion and patriotism seriously is well shared by me.
 
2013-11-12 08:29:49 PM  
Grinding. The dance form.

ha.
 
2013-11-12 08:40:42 PM  

flucto: Interesting. Even moving back to the US after a couple of years triggers some of these observations. Wait, I can buy milk, on Sunday, at 9pm, in 200 places? In gallons? For $3??? And the cashier is nice? And wishes me a blessed day? WHATTHEIDONTEVEN


I was gone for two years. When I came back, I couldn't believe people could drink 32 oz. of soda. And OMG! 44 oz! Then I saw somebody carrying around a literal plastic bucket from AM/PM (with an actual handle to carry it.) In Chile, we'd buy a 1-liter bottle of Coca-Cola as a treat to go with dinner, which was for everybody -- small glass, no ice.

It doesn't shock me any more as much as make me facepalm.
 
2013-11-12 08:41:21 PM  
Interesting article. Going to have to save it and read it from time to time to help keep things in perspective. Helps to hear from another viewpoint just how good I got it.
 
2013-11-12 08:42:57 PM  
America is literally HUGE.

I think a lot of Americans don't quite comprehend how massive this country really is.

Black Friday and the frenzy associated with it.

You and me both, pal.
 
2013-11-12 08:46:00 PM  

Shostie: I think a lot of Americans don't quite comprehend how massive this country really is.


upload.wikimedia.org

half the country is 9th Ave and 10th ave, then Jersey, a couple rocks, some brown dirt, Pacific Ocean.
 
2013-11-12 08:48:45 PM  

Cyclometh: If this thread goes green, I predict a larger than average percentage of sparkly eagles.


i881.photobucket.com
 
2013-11-12 08:53:22 PM  
The[y] couldn't believe that we like Root Beer.

Heh. I took a big bottle of Dr. Pepper and a bottle of A&W root beer to some friends in Santiago. The look on their faces when they tasted it was awesome.

"Sabe a jarabe antitusivo." ("It tastes like cough syrup.") They couldn't believe that some people prefer those drinks to Coke or Sprite.
 
2013-11-12 08:53:44 PM  

SlothB77: Shostie: I think a lot of Americans don't quite comprehend how massive this country really is.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x409]

half the country is 9th Ave and 10th ave, then Jersey, a couple rocks, some brown dirt, Pacific Ocean.


I've always loved that cover.
 
2013-11-12 09:01:18 PM  

alwaysjaded: Cyclometh: If this thread goes green, I predict a larger than average percentage of sparkly eagles.

[i881.photobucket.com image 300x476]


that...is...so...AWESOME
 
2013-11-12 09:02:36 PM  
I loved the article, especially the parts describing just how big our country is. I also appreciate the observation that we are concerned what others think about us. Not many countries worry what Americans think of them.

/Patriotism isn't unique amongst Americans.
//The English, Scots, Welsh and Irish are a bit wrapped up in their flags as well.
 
2013-11-12 09:12:17 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: flucto: Interesting. Even moving back to the US after a couple of years triggers some of these observations. Wait, I can buy milk, on Sunday, at 9pm, in 200 places? In gallons? For $3??? And the cashier is nice? And wishes me a blessed day? WHATTHEIDONTEVEN

I was surprised how many people thought that friendly cashiers was odd.  I didn't realize that was anything special.  The same goes for the surprise at people addressing each other by first name, I know there are some very formal societies out there, but I figured most of the world was more along the lines of the informal way we do it here.


If someone asked me to make a list of weird things about foreign countries, this might be in my top 5. Cashiers in other countries, especially Europe, really don't give a shiat. They aren't nice, they don't help you pack your bag, they don't do anything. It's kind of offputting.

The other one, which is also an inverse of one mentioned in the article, is the observation that the types of food we eat in the US is very narrow. If you go to a restaurant, you will pretty much only have beef, pork, chicken or a few basic fishes, and none of which will ever come with bones (or, god forbid, whole). This is a very US-thing, I think.
 
2013-11-12 09:14:37 PM  
When my UltraGuzzle hits the one-inch-remaining mark a soundchip plays "God Bless the USA" to remind me it's time for a refill!
 
2013-11-12 09:24:07 PM  
A lot of people really think a constitution written hundreds of years ago provides written guidance to any issue the nation might be faced with. Then again, a large subset of the same group believes that a book written 2000 years ago provides answers to all problems in life.

is it that obvious?
 
2013-11-12 09:51:04 PM  
Portion size and gravy on everything.
 
2013-11-12 10:04:43 PM  

I_Am_Weasel: Portion size and gravy on everything.


img.fark.net
"Is there anything on this menu not swimming in gravy?"
 
2013-11-12 10:10:43 PM  
I have worked with a lot of people from around the world and everyone is astonished the first time they order a large soda at one of the fast food chains.  Also, we should really have some documentation for newcomers on our tipping etiquette.  Since I grew up here, I forget how complex this totally unwritten and nearly unspoken rule is to someone who has not grown up in that environment.  I dated this lady from China for a few years and I had to teach her how/when/why to tip.  Restaurants are the easiest to pick up, but the stylist, the cab, the person who cleans your house.

I realized, that it kind of is arbitrary  as to when a tip is expected and how much.  And even though a tip is expected, there will rarely be any overt statement of it or how much is appropriate.  The closest you get is when restaurants mention the gratuity for large groups.

Also, 100% of all the Germans I entertained for work, were fanatical about Mexican food.  They loved it!  I thought that if someone opened a true Mexican restaurant in Germany that there would be a constant line around the block.
 
2013-11-12 10:17:48 PM  
DamnYankees:

The other one, which is also an inverse of one mentioned in the article, is the observation that the types of food we eat in the US is very narrow. If you go to a restaurant, you will pretty much only have beef, pork, chicken or a few basic fishes, and none of which will ever come with bones (or, god forbid, whole). This is a very US-thing, I think.

That really depends on the restaurant.  The restaurant scene in the US has improved dramatically over the past ten years, and keeps getting better.  A lot of it is still contained in more urban areas, but the 'rockstar chef' phenomenon has been great for adding variety to menus, including less common proteins and vegetables.

As far as mainstream chain restaurants go, there are two big factors at play.  The US has been wealthy for a long time, and due to our geography and climate we can produce far more food than we need.  Dishes based on odds and ends typically come from poverty and having to make do with what you can get.  You see some of that influence in soul food with dishes like ham hocks, trotters, pigs ears, chitlins, etc, and in regional dishes like scrapple, brain sandwiches, and Italian-American tripe preparations, but by and large, the majority of US citizens, especially since WWII, have been able to afford the best cuts.

The other big factor is our corporate mentality - from big industrial farms that are designed to pump out profit over quality, to restaurant chains that try to appeal to the largest cross section of the country that they can , there's the mentality of appealing to the lowest common denominator.  Boneless skinless chicken breasts, mild young cheese, potatoes, and conservatively spiced sauces aren't the pinnacle of any culinary mountain, but they don't offend much of anyone either.  Olive Garden, Chipotle, Panda Express, and Applebees aren't in any way making the best food available, but they're making food that's good enough to please the majority of people without causing revulsion in anyone.

Still, like I said, there's a lot of good things going on if you look beyond the chains, and the US, in a large part due to our relatively open immigration policies, does have a much wider selection of authentic and semi-authentic ethnic cuisine that most countries.  In my medium-sized city there are restaurants representing almost any Latin or Caribbean cuisine you could think of.  Within ten miles of my house I have Mexican, Salvadoran, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Jamaican, Dominican, Haitian, Brazilian, and Argentinian.  In some cases there are multiple restaurants servings those types of cuisine.  It's a bit of an Asian wasteland around here, with a few Americanized Chinese joints, a few Hibachi-style Japanese steakhouses/sushi bars, and a couple pan-Asian places, but there are places in the US where you can get the most authentic Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc, cuisine available outside of that cuisine's domestic market.

The younger generation is a lot more open to new foods as well, so the trends of more adventurous restaurants and more variety in ethnic cuisine should grow over time.
 
2013-11-12 10:20:41 PM  
Coffee. I just don't get it.

Blasphemer!!
 
2013-11-12 10:24:42 PM  
You have TVs on everywhere, building lobbies, restaurants, taxis.  Your portion sizes are ridiculous.  You're friendly to strangers. Your beer is better than its reputation, but your chocolate is shiate.
 
2013-11-12 10:29:45 PM  
Long read, but very interesting to see your country thru the eyes of outsiders.
Most stuff is dead on. I never even thought about this one, but it seems to shock a lot of them:

Bank checks are still used and mailed in envelopes. I thought this was only in a few cases but a lot of companies seem to prefer this method by default.
 
2013-11-12 10:47:16 PM  

God Is My Co-Pirate: You have TVs on everywhere, building lobbies, restaurants, taxis.  Your portion sizes are ridiculous.  You're friendly to strangers. Your beer is better than its reputation, but your chocolate is shiate.


The rest of the world is hiding the good chocolate on us. It's in drawer where they keep the fancy place mats. Nobody thinks to look there.
 
2013-11-12 11:15:09 PM  
Isn't America trolling getting a little old?

"Oh, you're so fat!"
"You guys think you run the world!"
"But capital punishment!"
"Silly President!"

Geez, time to move on.
 
2013-11-12 11:19:36 PM  

Cyclometh: If this thread goes green, I predict a larger than average percentage of sparkly eagles.


how about a larger than average percentage of people calling you a smug, elitist jackass?  Did you see that one too?
 
2013-11-12 11:24:21 PM  

urger: Triumph: People don't really care about the FIFA World Cup even though USA qualifies.

What is this "World Cup" you speak of?

It's the Stanley Cup of pretending to get hurt and flopping around on the ground


Don't be harsh.  It's the Stanley Cup of foot hockey.
 
2013-11-12 11:26:36 PM  

SlothB77: Shostie: I think a lot of Americans don't quite comprehend how massive this country really is.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x409]

half the country is 9th Ave and 10th ave, then Jersey, a couple rocks, some brown dirt, Pacific Ocean.


Actually, the overwhelming majority of the country is behind the viewer.
 
2013-11-12 11:27:05 PM  

Walker: Long read, but very interesting to see your country thru the eyes of outsiders.
Most stuff is dead on. I never even thought about this one, but it seems to shock a lot of them:

Bank checks are still used and mailed in envelopes. I thought this was only in a few cases but a lot of companies seem to prefer this method by default.


Completely bizarre to this Dane. The idea of an employer going through the rigamarole of printing checks rather than get a bank account number and doing direct transfer is positively 1950s.
 
2013-11-12 11:27:06 PM  

Triumph: People don't really care about the FIFA World Cup even though USA qualifies.

What is this "World Cup" you speak of?


We have the World Series, that's kind of like the World Cup, right?
 
2013-11-12 11:27:58 PM  

MemeSlave: Isn't America trolling getting a little old?

"Oh, you're so fat!"
"You guys think you run the world!"
"But capital punishment!"
"Silly President!"

Geez, time to move on.


If you're so sensitive you get upset when people point out your flaws, the problem is with you, not them.
 
2013-11-12 11:28:03 PM  
FTA: Downtowners are crazy for health and fitness in the positive sense and are generally in the good shape. However, the farther from downtown you get, the bigger people get. In suburbs you barely notice anyone walking.

This is very true.
 
2013-11-12 11:28:41 PM  

SlothB77: Grinding. The dance form.

ha.


Heh, reminds me of a CSB

Was in London in '86, and part (most) of my group was from NC.

In NC they were crazy about this dance called the Shag. Now, post-Austin Powers, everyone knows what 'shag' means in the UK, but it wasn't common knowledge at the time.

One of the first nights we're there, the girls wamt to go dancing. As we're waiting in line at a club, one of the girls - this tiny, petite, sweet little thing - asks the gigantic british bouncer;

"Do ya'll Shag in this club?"

The look on his face was priceless.
 
2013-11-12 11:29:19 PM  
Actually, the common denominator was how expensive our health care system is.
 
2013-11-12 11:30:20 PM  

MemeSlave: Isn't America trolling getting a little old?

"Oh, you're so fat!"
"You guys think you run the world!"
"But capital punishment!"
"Silly President!"

Geez, time to move on.


One thing about American Patriotism, that occurred to me in the WWI thread on Monday, is that unlike the Europeans who got that shiat bled out of them in WWI, the closest thing to a gut check the US had to do was Vietnam. Which, compared to single battles that killed a million men on each side, is pretty paltry.
 
2013-11-12 11:30:23 PM  
FTA: He is in awe (and it's made me in awe) of the rich musical history of the U. S. He thinks the African American contribution to culture is one of our country's greatest gems.

He's not wrong.
 
2013-11-12 11:31:41 PM  
Seemed to me like the most common observations (from what I've read so far) were:

Tipping? What the hell?

The mass transit here sucks.

People don't stay with their relatives when they visit.

Lack of universal health care is insane.

Credit score WTF?

Our cars and houses are ridiculous in size.
 
2013-11-12 11:31:57 PM  

ggecko: Actually, the common denominator was how expensive our health care system is.


Why? Illegals don't pay squat for health care.
 
2013-11-12 11:33:42 PM  
FTA: Bureaucracy really is kafkaesque at times. But most of the time, it's just that there are over 300 million people and the manning for a certain department is limited to two guys in Kentucky who have to answer every request by snail mail. This is probably the real reason people say government is evil.

LOL.
 
2013-11-12 11:34:30 PM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: flucto: Interesting. Even moving back to the US after a couple of years triggers some of these observations. Wait, I can buy milk, on Sunday, at 9pm, in 200 places? In gallons? For $3??? And the cashier is nice? And wishes me a blessed day? WHATTHEIDONTEVEN

I was gone for two years. When I came back, I couldn't believe people could drink 32 oz. of soda. And OMG! 44 oz! Then I saw somebody carrying around a literal plastic bucket from AM/PM (with an actual handle to carry it.) In Chile, we'd buy a 1-liter bottle of Coca-Cola as a treat to go with dinner, which was for everybody -- small glass, no ice.

It doesn't shock me any more as much as make me facepalm.


They just started selling 8 oz cans of Dr. Pepper in 6-packs now.  I'll drink maybe a can every two weeks or so when the mood hits me (I'm on a medication that makes soda taste really weird 99% of the time).  I wish they would do the same thing with ginger beer.
 
2013-11-12 11:35:05 PM  
My Indian wife would agree with all the points the first two made.

Except. What is an EMI?
 
2013-11-12 11:35:46 PM  
Americans wouldn't be so fat if the beer and chocolate were as good as in Europe.
 
2013-11-12 11:37:43 PM  
#4 reinforced the stereotype to me that Rooskies are still commie drones.
 
2013-11-12 11:37:52 PM  

Fano: My Indian wife would agree with all the points the first two made.

Except. What is an EMI?


I don't know...but there's an unlimited supply.
 
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