There are different cultures all over the world, even in places like America, Europe, and Australia that are far too big to ever be totally homogenous.
And whatever you assume about how things might the same all over the world, I promise you that most of the time, you’ll be wrong.
Like in these cases of how society works in Europe…but definitely not in America.
1. That wouldn’t fly here.
Uh, where do I start? German here, living in the US. How about TV tax? I bet americans would go bonkers over it lol. I mean, so do Germans, but – wait for it, it’s a classic – “what can you do?”
I was studying abroad in Norway when someone came to my door to ask how many TVs I had.
I thought it was a student asking for a research project or something. But when they didn’t accept when I said zero I got really confused. I just had a laptop I watched all my TV on. They thought that meant I had a TV and tried to tell me that any TV would be something like $60 or so and how would I be paying (idk can’t remember, it’s been a long time).
I of course was 100% convinced I was being shaken down by a con artist or something. It rose to the level that they came into my apartment (without my permission) and looked around for a TV and was acting like they didn’t believe I didn’t have one?
Eventually they just went away. It was a bizarre encounter that likely wasn’t helped by the fact my Norwegian did not expand much past “where is the bathroom?” And “how are you?” at that point.
2. I miss my stick shift.
Almost every car having a manual transmission. when i visited ukraine, i only saw rich people with automatic cars.
3. Shelf-stable milk.
Probably already said before since there is thousands of comments, but bagged milk.
4. Adult-only spaces.
As a Czech person, my American wife was blown away that we let kids in pubs or bars.
to be honest, i do like being in “adult-only” spaces in American bars. they’re allowed in every pub and bar?
in the US, honestly, probably has a lot more to do with “since our drinking age is so high, we want to keep teens from stealing people’s unfinished drinks,” but the bonus of being able to smoke on a bar patio without gassing some kids (i never smoke near children) is a nice benefit.
I don’t know if this would horrify Americans as I’ve never heard it discussed, but where I live in Luxembourg, voting is mandatory and you can get fined for not voting in an election.
You can still spoil your ballot, so you don’t have to decide between lesser evils if you don’t want to, but you have to make the effort to go to the polling station or submit a postal vote.
It guarantees a high voter turnout and by extension more representative elections, coupled with a proportional voting system so we’re not locked into a two-party mess like the UK or the US – not that it’s without its issues of course, but I think it’s an improvement.
6. Kitchen Not Included
In Germany, an apartment doesn’t automatically come with a kitchen. 90% they don’t have them in and you have to buy them yourself.
Literally the whole kitchen. When I moved into my current apartment, it didn’t have a fridge, oven, cupboards, sink, dishwasher, table or anything. It was just a room with a couple of pipes sticking out.
7. Americans are squeamish about nudity.
I’m from Denmark, we have several children tv-shows that have made the news in America for being all sorts of horrible.
8. Seems reasonable.
doesn’t apply to every european country, but prison sentences are a lot shorter. Life in prison without parole is extremely rare and many countries do not have such sentences. For example the maximum sentence here in Finland is called “Life in prison” but the average time spent in prison before release is 13-14 years for them.
In Germany the highest sentence in theory is 15 years (“lifelong”), but if you are deemed a danger to society it can be ruled that after your sentence you get put in “Sicherheitsverwahrung” (security safekeeping) meaning you still won’t get out.
9. Not since Covid, though.
As an American visiting my fiancé’s family in France, I didn’t know how common it was to greet this way. Really threw me off kissing a male as a greeting at first.
10. This is coming…
Not giving your debit/credit card to your server but doing it yourself.
Same thing in Canada. Until quite recently, the cardholder always had to enter their PIN when paying for something. A few years ago, contactless pay (tap) was introduced and now most cards have a spending limit for how much you can tap pay. Anything over that, you insert your chip and enter the PIN. Restaurants are either pay at the counter or the server will bring a machine.
11. Don’t like that.
Charging for water at a restaurant.
When I was over there. I never got the option of a free glass of water. Always charged. Only came in bottles. It was how they did things. I was only in Italy and loved it. Can’t wait to go back. But that struck me as odd. I think we had to pay to use public restrooms too if I remember right.
12. You can opt out, though.
Some countries in Europe have church taxes (the state collects money through the taxation system and hands a slice of it over to the national church) and/or state-paid clergy.
13. Don’t mess with the babies.
Putting your child to sleep outside in a pram, out of sight with a baby monitor. In Denmark this is completely normal, even in public.
Last time I was in Copenhagen, parents would just leave babies outside stores while they shopped. No one would mess with then. That town was awesome, pricy, but fun. Smelled like cookies.
14. Drinking as a minor.
Underage drinking seems more of a crime in the US – in most cases of a kid is caught with alcohol in the UK it’s just confiscated and poured away.
Strictly speaking the age you can drink alcohol is really low as well, so long as you’re home with a parent I think it’s like 5/6.
When you’re in a restaurant you’re also allowed low percentage alcohol like cider with a meal so long as you’re with an adult.
15. Nudity (at least from some).
Few days ago in r/AskEurope someone told a story how their American relatives got so bend out of shape over naked children running around the beach.
On every beach in Bulgaria I’ve been, naked children is the norm, women sunbathing in monokini is considered absolutely normal, while naked men are okay only in the nude sections of the beaches. And every beach has a nude section.
16. At least they’re clean.
Paying for bathrooms.
Jumping out of a car at a rest stop on the autobahn to run to the bathroom and realizing as you get to the turnstiles that you forgot to get €.15 cent is a real pain.
17. Naked isn’t s*xual.
At least in Germany, nudity. No one cares if you’re naked, no one thinks you’re a s*x offender, no one thinks it’s even s*xual to be naked unless you’re actively having s*x, and no one makes it weird.
You can be naked in public parks to soak up sun, on beaches, swim naked in lakes. Saunas are all naked, mixed s*x areas in spas and saunas are naked with no issues and in general, it’s just not an issue.
18. Fresh air.
Leaving your baby to sleep in a stroller outside.
Be it at home on the balcony, garden, or outside a restaurant.
It’s pretty much the norm here in Denmark. Babies in strollers everywhere. It is pretty insane when you think about it, but as far as I know, no babies has been stolen so far.
19. BUT the toilets are clean. I’m in.
Charging to use the toilet.
20. Hard to believe.
Not tipping your server in a restaurant.
Europeans only tip when they feel satisfied with the service
some people tip really wildly, some just round off the price
some ask the staff directly if they are allowed to keep the tips….
21. No smoking bans.
The amount of people who still smoke. Especially smoking in restaurants restaurants. Nothing like sitting in a beautiful cafe and having someone at the table next to you light up just as your food arrives.
Also putting tobacco in weed.
22. Personal space much?
Sitting a foot away from a complete stranger and then completely ignoring them.
23. This all sounds nice.
Oh man… europe has so many different countries. Something that is completely normal where I live could be frowned upon as soon as I cross the next border. But in general we tip for good service, not bc we have to. A rude waitress won’t get tipped by me.
Also we usually remove our shoes before we enter a home. And yep, “free” healthcare.
24. Totally normal!
Not being circumsized.
Look at our little angel, almost perfect! Let’s remove a part of his penis to make him perfect!
25. They’re not refrigerated, either.
Not chemically washing eggs.
European eggs would be illegal in the US and vice versa.
26. Naked kids are normal.
Kids being naked at water play areas.
When I was about 10, I took my American friend to a playpark that had a water feature to play in. We were making our way to the water play section when a girl, I’d say about 2 was walking naked towards us. My American friend was mortified, and it took a lot of explaining that this was normal.
27. Clutch your pearls.
Songs with swear words being broadcasted on the radio, or swear words not being covered with a beep tone on tv.
It’s always felt weird to me that Americans are all about being free and freedom of speech but then again they are scared of some stupid words.
28. Drinks anytime!
The casual drinking culture. Not so much how low the drinking age is but how comfortable some people are drinking first thing in the morning and before work
29. It doesn’t have to be s*xual.
When I was studying architecture in Prague, the dorms that turned into a hostel in the summer had co-ed showers with private stalls. Everyone took their shower in the stall and then toweled off in the common area together.
By the time summer rolled around you would have men, women, and children all nude and toweling off together. Here in the states people are losing their minds about trans people sharing a bathroom.
30. Take that, porch pirates!
Mailman doesnt leave packadges unattended on your porch. He eather gives you it on the doorstep or you go get it at the post office. Much less infureating than getting it stolen or thrown accros your yard by a mailman…
Some of these really surprised me, and I honestly think I might like it?
What about you? Do you think America should adopt any of these practices? Tell us which and why in the comments!