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Things I will never get used to in the US

The land of unlimited possibilities - or rather the land of unlimited curiosities ?!

After several trips to Florida, New York, California, Washington and now also Texas, I have already experienced quite a few strange habits, facts and things in the USA. Today I'll tell you what always amazes me as an Austrian:

Welcome phrase

Hello, how are you?

But an answer to the question is not expected and the conversation starts right away. But if you answer, everyone is confused.


There is beer and wine in the supermarket, but for hard alcohol you have to go to the liquor store. And you don't have to be 21 in every state to drink alcohol.


In the southern states in particular, the possession of weapons is practically a human right. And although you can't buy hard alcohol like rum or tequila in the supermarket, you can buy weapons there. For less than $ 200. And some firearms are also available without a gun license or background check.

The mentality with which weapons are carried also just makes me shake my head. By the way, there are special holsters for the seat belt in the car, so that you always have the weapon to hand and ready to fire.


Most medicines can also be obtained easily and without a prescription in the “pharmacy” in the supermarket. The packs are often incredibly large - you wouldn't even get such huge amounts in our pharmacy. And simpler drugs like aspirin and the like are usually dirt cheap.

Houses made of wood

I used to be really impressed when someone stabbed a wall in a house with their fist in an American film. Today I know that most houses don't even have a proper foundation and that the walls are simply screwed together from wood and plasterboard. So I'm no longer surprised that these are easily damaged by storms.

to go shopping

Again and again I fall into the same trap and assume that what is on the price tags in the supermarket or in the outlet store is also what I will pay. Error! Because the prices are always written without taxes. There are five states in which you really pay 0% sales tax - namely Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon - but there are in the others. However, this percentage not only varies from state to state, but can also vary within each state, as municipalities and districts can also add taxes. In some places the sales tax is then over 10%.

Super duty

For me, cars have to serve one purpose: to transport me from A to B safely and, if possible, comfortably. In the USA the cars are on average VIIIEEELLL larger and taller than the cars in Europe - or elsewhere. When, as a tall woman, I can no longer even look over the car and need a ladder to get in, it becomes simply absurd.

opening hours

A supermarket or liquor store really doesn't have to be open 24/7. And not on Sunday or on public holidays either.

America vs USA

Dear Americans, please learn the difference between America, the continent and USA, your home country.

America ≠ USA

This video provides information.

Be sick

In most cases, sick leave in the USA means no money. Because there is no uniform regulation that obliges companies to take a paid sick leave.

Always need a visa

Most of the time I only get off in the USA to travel on to Canada or Mexico. You also need a visa for easy transfers in the USA. The comfort of the Schengen zone in Europe or changing trains without having to enter the country in question are probably foreign words in the USA. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization - ESTA for short - is the USA's electronic authorization system for entry and onward travel.

Fortunately, this can be done easily and cheaplyApply for an ESTA online to enter the USA. To do this, certain requirements must be met: For holidays and private trips of up to 90 days, the ESTA is currently completely sufficient as of May 2020. The ESTA requirements can change at any time, so it is important to read them carefully before traveling. The ESTA visa is usually issued within a few hours, but it can take up to three days. You can apply for ESTA either directly on the website of the Apply for Ministry of Homeland Security or via a Apply for a visa agency.

2 weeks vacation

Three words about it: far too little!


That's probably one of the things I've been the most excited about to date.

If you go out to eat, you should also tip. Actually, you have to tip if you want to come back and be served. And then the tip is not rounded up or one euro, as is the case with us - between 10-20% is expected !!! The reason is that the waiters either have no salary at all or a very, very low one and live on tips. That makes eating out in the US usually quite expensive.

I would prefer the food and drinks to simply have a higher price and I don't have to think about how much tips Mandy and Josh are going to give and I decide how much money they go home with at the end of the day.

I'm suing you mentality

Especially in the local news and in the cities, lawyers advertise like crazy: “Hit by a company vehicle? Contact us to get a free case review! "

Good education costs a lot

Those who need better training have to pay. And mostly not a little. In Austria we pay tuition fees, but the approx. 360 € per semester compared to those in the USA is like a hot drop on a stone.


I'll just leave this point here.

What are the things that you can't get used to in the USA and that keep you puzzled?


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