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Things Taken For Granted In The US That Won’t Fly In The UK

Americans are known for their many quirks. A lot of things that Americans find normal are considered strange to other countries. In fact, some of the things taken for granted in the US are downright frowned upon elsewhere.

Here’s a list of normal things In America that the UK finds strange, the first one being the frequency of ads. Did you know that in the US they even pause live sports events so the people at home can watch an ad?

A lot of stores in the Us show the price before tax for their products. For example, if something is displayed with a price of 1 dollar you would pay 1.2 dollars at the checkout.

For someone terrible at math, this can be a nightmare, especially if you have a predetermined amount of money you can spend at a certain time.

In the US almost every big supermarket has a person at the entrance that greets you every time you go there to do your shopping.

It might seem normal, but for UK folk, to be greeted every time you enter a supermarket is not. It can become quite annoying and feel incredibly fake. 

When you study in the US you have to share dorm rooms with other students, which can be quite annoying but is considered normal.

In the UK everyone has their own dorm room on the university campus. You have all the privacy you need, and you’re not “forced” into becoming friends with your roommate. 

In the United States, you need a hall pass if you want to walk through your school during course hours. This is a norm there but for someone who is new to the country, it is quite cumbersome.

The hall pass seems like a taste of bureaucracy for the kids from the UK. They all wonder why do you need to go through all this trouble just to be able to walk around the school.

When you go to a restaurant in the US it is common for the waiter to take your credit card to swipe back at the terminal and then bring you a receipt to sign.

While it is available, the contactless pay option where you just touch your credit card or your phone to the payment terminal, is not common in the United States, to the surprise of the brits, or almost every European for that matter. 

Addressing a stranger with ‘Sir’ is quite common in the US. The only person you address with ‘SIr’ in the UK is your teacher. In the United States, the teacher is the only person you don’t use ‘Sir’ on.

In the United States, your teacher is always Mr./Mrs./Miss followed by their surname. And yet you might find yourself called ‘Sir’ by a random person on the street.

What is considered a kids’ meal in the United States, is a normal-sized meal in the United Kingdom. The difference in portion sizes is easily noticeable for someone who is not used to it

You can almost feed two persons or even three with a United States portion. And this is the norm with most restaurants, no matter how fancy. 

Almost everything in the United States has a huge amount of added sugar in them. Especially the usual food products from the generic grocery stores and supermarkets.

There’s sugar in the UK food products as well but the difference is quite noticeable not just in taste, but when it comes to the health risks as well.

If there’s one thing Americans don’t like, it’s the invasion of privacy. It’s funny, then, that toilet cubicles in American restrooms are very far from being private.

That tiny crack between the door and the door frame is definitely big enough for other people to see your legs and maybe more. In England, the cubicles are fully concealed, with their doors going all the way to the floor. 

In the US, any trip taking over an hour is considered a short trip. People are used to commuting hours every day to their jobs, and no one complains about it.

You go to the UK and that same trip is considered a long trip that you don’t usually do every day, but to visit someone for a longer period or for something really important.

The fact the second floor in the US is the first floor in the UK was really confusing for me the first time I went to the United States.

And, saying elevator instead of lift is something you’ll have to get used to in the US. Also, with people randomly start a conversation with you.

Only a few years ago Tim Farron sparked controversy when it came out that he was quite religious, which implied he might be against certain values and principles that didn’t sit well with people.

Night and day when you compare his case with US campaigns, where a candidate can mention religion without getting into trouble.

In the US you are permitted to turn right at a red sign stop unless there is a sign saying ‘NO TURN ON RED’ which is quite different from the traffic laws in the UK.

And you can even turn left from a one-way street to another one-way street in some American states. That can be quite confusing for drivers from outside the United States. 

Farmers in the US get millions to grow corn with no market, so it can be converted into high fructose corn syrup for cheap.

The most heavily subsidized crop in the country is being used to make the most unhealthy of all foods. 


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