No matter what part of the world you’re in each country has its own quirks and uniqueness exclusive to itself. Here are 10 things you only find in the USA.
Price tags don’t include tax
Each state, county, and the city has different laws for taxes. Even as an American myself I still find this concept bizarre. A pair of ballet flats in California can differ in Florida. In 38 states we collect local sales tax. However, you can make the choice to travel to other states and make your purchase with a lower sales tax. But this only works if you’re not too far from borderlines. For instance, the state of Alaska has one of the lowest sales taxes, but it’s not that convenient to travel to in terms of distance and cost.
What exactly is tailgating? Tailgating is when fans of a sporting team gather together in the parking lot or outside the stadium, before the sporting event. We bbq, eat food, drink alcoholic beverages, play drinking games and hang out together. You also wear special attire or jerseys and face paint to represent your respective team. On my university campus tailgating was one of the biggest events for football games. Sometimes my friends and I would miss half the game because we were too busy taking photos and socializing.
A lot of people think of tailgating as another American excuse to party, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all! It’s actually called a tailgate because traditionally it’s done out of the tail of the car. It’s interesting because tailgating is also a driving term for following closely behind a car. I guarantee this is what you only find in the USA and not other places.
Spring break is when students get a week off of school and go on vacation. For some schools, spring break is specifically for allocating extra time for Easter and religious services to take place. However, the majority of people take off work and bring their kids on a trip. For college students, Spring Break is a week that you let loose (or stay on campus and prepare for the incoming semester). Thousands of students head to warm destinations such as Cancun, Cabo, the Caribbean or any of the Florida beaches. There are tons of parties that occur and sometimes it can get as wild as the shenanigans portrayed on TV.
The Imperial System
The whole world wonders why we still keep this ‘illogical’ system in place. The metric system has been favored since the Industrial Revolution when employees had to work with imperial system measurements for machinery. Believe it or not, but the US is one of the only 3 countries using the IS. Growing up many of my classes incorporated both measurements of the metric and imperial systems. Living in Europe has gotten me more accustomed to converting to kilometers and celsius. When I say to my European friends, “Omg it’s 102 degrees back home” I remember I need to make a conversion and tell them it’s actually 32 degrees celsius.
Doggy bags or To-go Boxes
The simplest way to explain this is by taking home your leftovers from a restaurant. American portion sizes can be quite big. That order of gumbo and biscuits on the side might be too much for the average person to handle. Sometimes it’s just not possible to finish these meals in one sitting. To be fair, American portion sizes compared to other countries are much larger.
The term doggy baggy may just be a euphemism. But actually dates back to the 1940s during WW11 when there was food rationing. Any of the scraps left from a meal would be saved for the next day so nothing is put to waste. We get so much on our plates…why waste it when you can take it home. I love this because I can enjoy leftovers from my favorite restaurant the next day! And with the amount of food going to waste I have no problem bringing a bag home. In the Netherlands and in some parts of Europe I notice that taking food home is not common.
The Drinking Age is 21
In most places around the world, 18 is the legal age to drink. But only in the USA do you have to be 21 to purchase and drink alcohol. It’s strange that you’re able to get a driving license and enlist for the army before 21 years of age but not drink. The US gets a lot of backlash and ridicule from other countries. However, many are not aware that the drinking age is so high in order to reduce the risk of teenage drunk driving.
The Grand Canyon
Located in Northern Arizona is this majestic natural wonder. The Grand Canyon is a beautiful sight that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. It’s 277 miles long or 445 km long. 5 to 6 million years ago is when scientists estimate the Grand Canyon to have formed. It’s part of a series of interconnecting canyons with layers of rock dating back millions of years ago. It was actually the Colorado River that eroded layers of rock into a deep channel. The Grand Canyon is an amazing natural wonder that you only find in the USA.
Many chain restaurants and eateries offer free refills when your order a drink with your meal. Personally, it’s a nice service and option to have when you eat out. However, in many places abroad free refills let alone free water is not a regular concept. Without a doubt, they’ll charge you. In the state asking for water is typically free of charge. You can walk to a restaurant at the mall, ask for water and be on your way. Bottled water of course comes at a price but refills are generally free.
Homecoming occurs in both high school and college and is one of the things that are only in America. It begins at the start of the school year and is when alumni/former students return for a football game. They have the opportunity to watch the game and catch up with old friends and teachers. For high school, the home team plays against another school and a formal dance occurs after the game or a few days later. A homecoming queen and king are voted for and either revealed during the halftime celebration or during the dance. Some like to call it a mini prom. However, university homecoming is when alumni all return for one football game. As you can see football is pretty much the center of homecoming and something you can only find in the USA.
Making a right turn on red
In some states in America, we are permitted to make a right turn on a red traffic light. This is of course after making a stop and making sure that is completely safe to do so. In other words, no cars, pedestrians or cyclists can be in the way. Individual traffic lights can post a sign that says no turn on red. But it’s important to remember that each state has differing traffic laws. I can see why this is confusing to my international friends since America is one country, and shouldn’t all rules and laws apply? No, because every state is a sovereign entity and I guess that’s another reason you’ll only find this in the USA.