We get our fair share of visitors from Europe, and many of them marvel at our warm weather and beautiful beaches. However, there are some things our neighbors across the pond do a little differently than us. This may on occasion elicit a few raised eyebrows or odd stares. We thought we’d take a lighthearted look at what European vacationers find weird about America.
Our portion sizes continually seem to get bigger, which baffles our European counterparts. Instead of stuffing their faces, they are happy to finish off smaller sizes without having to ask for a doggy bag.
Europeans really seem to be lost when knowing when and how much to tip in America, since there aren’t any set rules. They are also confused about why customers should pay for someone else’s employee just so they can make a living wage. Paying someone extra for them to do their job is a foreign idea to much of the world.
If a European visits a mall, movie theater, or restaurant in the summer months here, they’ll likely feel they are visiting the North Pole. Since they normally don’t set their thermostats as low as Americans, Europeans will likely be spotted wearing sweaters or jackets during the dog days of August.
While Americans call our main course the entrée, the word is actually French for “entrance”. This is what Europeans call the starting point of a meal or appetizer. It can create quite a confusing dilemma for first-time travelers at a fine restaurant.
For first-time European vacationers in America, it takes a while to grasp the concept of ordering a beverage and it shows up with more ice than drink. Did they pay $3.00 for just a few sips? Of course, they are more accepting of the practice when they realize that free refills are customary in the U.S.
If you really want to stop a European dead in their tracks, just ask them to pick out an item at the local supermarket. The sheer volume of choices will probably leave them overwhelmed. From individual to family-sized bags, to 30 different flavors of ice cream, to 20 different brands of cereal, more than one European has come down with a serious case of decision paralysis. There are so many choices here than what they are used to back home.
Even many Americans will agree that some of our customs don’t make sense, but it makes us unique. However, understanding the little things we do differently can also help bring us together. So if a certain European vacationer seems lost over a certain custom, take the time to explain it to them. Who knows, you might wind up friends and one day visit them in their homeland.