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What’s Up With That? 21 Unusual American Practices Explained

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From quirky habits to cultural norms, America has its fair share of characteristics that might raise eyebrows elsewhere. Here’s a humorous exploration into 21 of those peculiarities, including some less typical ones.

1. Refusing the Metric System

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nuva Frames

America clings to inches, feet, and pounds with patriotic fervor, leaving the rest of the world calculating conversions.

2. The Great Ice Cube Obsession

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Image Credit: Shutterstock /AN Photographer2463

Why have a drink when you can have a glass of ice with a splash of drink? The colder, the better, even in winter.

3. Super-Sized Everything

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ant DM

From cars to meals and even soft drinks, bigger always seems to be better.

4. Wearing Shoes Indoors

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Konstantin Aksenov

In many American homes, shoes that tread outdoor ground find their way onto indoor carpets, to the horror of many international visitors.

5. Sweet Breakfasts

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / marco mayer

Pancakes, waffles, and cereals so sugary they could be desserts in other countries start the day in America.

6. Advertising Prescription Drugs

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Hrendon

Where TV commercials regularly suggest asking your doctor if a specific drug is right for you, side effects listed hurriedly at the end.

7. Using Red Plastic Cups at Parties

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Africa Studio

A staple of every American party scene, recognized worldwide thanks to American movies, but still puzzling to many.

8. The Love for Peanut Butter

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Justyna Pankowska

Peanut butter on everything, from sandwiches to desserts. It’s a love affair that many outside the U.S. just can’t grasp.

9. Patriotic Everything

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Daniel Avram

Flags on houses, cars, and t-shirts. Patriotism is worn proudly, and often.

10. The Drive-Thru Culture

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / InveStock

Banks, pharmacies, and even liquor stores with drive-thru services. Why leave your car if you don’t have to?

11. Talking to Strangers

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

Striking up conversations with people in line, on the bus, or anywhere in public is common and often bewildering to visitors.

12. The Baby Gender Reveal Phenomenon

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund

Parties dedicated solely to revealing the gender of an unborn baby, sometimes with explosive results—literally.

13. Black Friday

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

The day after Thanksgiving when Americans brave crowds and chaos for sales, turning shopping into a contact sport.

14. Squirting Lemon on Everything

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dawn Damico

Seafood, salads, water, and even beer aren’t safe from a lemon squeeze, a zesty American habit.

15. Clapping When the Plane Lands

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / bdavid32

A round of applause for the pilot landing the plane, as if it wasn’t expected.

16. The Obsession With Pumpkin Spice

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rimma Bondarenko

Come fall, pumpkin spice flavors invade every possible food and drink item, a seasonal mania that puzzles many.

17. Sales Tax Surprise

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / ViDI Studio

The price you see isn’t the price you pay. The added sales tax at the register continues to surprise and confuse.

18. Jumbo-Sized Beverages

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sampajano_Anizza

Where a ‘small’ drink elsewhere is a ‘large’ in America, and free refills abound.

19. The Homecoming Tradition

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

High school football, a dance, and the crowning of a king and queen—it’s a uniquely American teenage rite of passage.

20. 24/7 Shopping

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / George Rudy

The concept of stores, especially grocery stores, being open 24 hours is a convenience that amazes international visitors.

21. Garage Sales

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dmytro Zinkevych

Turning one’s driveway into a temporary store, selling off used belongings to neighbors and strangers alike.

American Quirks

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Varavin88

Embracing the uniqueness of American habits adds color to the cultural tapestry. From striking up conversations with strangers to indulging in excess ice cubes, these quirks contribute to the charm of the land of the free. Diversity in customs and habits enriches our global exploration.

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The post What’s Up With That? 21 Unusual American Practices Explained republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pressmaster.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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