Travel opens your eyes to the differences–and similarities–between your country and the rest of the world. Many Americans traveling abroad find themselves wide-eyed when they learn about differences in everything from toilet water to staring etiquette.
Here are 45 stories of Americans being blown away when they learn that things they thought were universal are anything but!
45. Are You Rooting For Me?
When I went to Australia I found out very quickly that no one down there “roots” for a team – they “go for” a team. One time, when we were talking about sports and I asked one of the Aussie guys, “What team do you root for?” and he said, “I’m straight, so girls.”
Confused me said I root for the Red Sox and I got a lot of weird looks. It turns out that the word “root” means to “make love” with something in Aussie slang.
44. I’m Only One Block Away
Measuring walking/driving distance in blocks. It’s the unit of measure I use most frequently when giving directions– the restaurant is three blocks away, go south one block and then two blocks west, I live six blocks from the grocery store…
It wasn’t until I studied abroad in England and got a completely blank look when I asked someone how many blocks away the library was that I realized using “block” as a measurement only makes sense in cities that were largely pre-planned and built on a grid system. AKA: not many places outside the US.
43. We Are Foodie Monsters
My dad and his friend were visiting Vietnam some years ago and they went to a restaurant and ordered what they thought was a normal amount of food. Shortly into the meal, they noticed that all the restaurant staff were clustered at the kitchen door staring at them. They had never seen anyone order so much for two.
I also remember the first time I went to London with my brother and we ordered what we also thought was a normal amount of food. The waiter just looked completely stunned and said, “Wow you must be HUNGRY,” and I was like “Hahaha… yeah!” knowing full well it was just the standard amount of food I eat.
42. “Americans Are Loud”
The stereotype about us (Americans) being loud is true. I never thought of myself as being loud until I went abroad and would hang up the phone after speaking in what I thought was appropriate volume to find everyone around me was staring at me, and realized how much more quiet they were. Lol, whoops.
I mean, you can always hear the Americans loud and clear. We’re not trying to be loud, it’s just that our default volume is just louder.
41. Smiling Will Make Them Think You’re Crazy
I moved to England from Texas about six years ago. One of the major things that I noticed was that smiling and being friendly towards strangers was considered bizarre. This is a bit true in any metropolitan area, but especially in the UK.
In Texas I was used to smiling at people, asking for directions if I needed them, and being friendly towards strangers. I learned very quickly that smiling at someone on the tube or asking someone for directions on the street immediately makes someone think you’re trying to scam/rob them or you’re crazy.
40. The Old Fashioned “Chivalry” Mentality
I worked in a job where we opened up a manufacturing plant in Juarez, Mexico. It’s not that far from the border, but I was surprised how the cultures shifted so differently from the U.S. side to the Mexico side. I’m a female and I had worked with mostly males in Mexico. They were so very kind and polite and was a great experience. But I’ll never forget the time I tried to hold the door open for the men; they were not OK with it. They made me go through the door first.
Later they explained, because they knew me and knew that my intentions were not ill-willed. They said that for me, as a female, to hold the door for a male was a huge no-no, which is why they refused to go through the door.
39. Only Americans Do That!
Being “friendly” to an extent. I checked in at a hostel and walked into the lounge area where people from all over the world were just chilling. I kinda introduced myself to the whole room, and someone goes, “You’re from the States, yeah?” And I’m like, “Yeah how’d you know?” They said, “Only an American will walk into a room of strangers and introduce themselves to everybody.”
It was said in good spirits and was not confrontational at all. After the room had a laugh, I sat down and we all shared our travel stories. I still keep in touch with a lot of the people I met in that room.
38. Of S’mores They Are Real!
S’mores. I was in New Zealand having a bonfire on the beach and someone went and grabbed a bag of marshmallows and then everyone just ate them??! By themselves?! And someone from Sweden asked me if s’mores were a real thing or only on TV. I was flabbergasted. This all could be due in part to the fact other places don’t tend to have graham crackers.
Pro tip from a horizontally gifted American: Make your s’mores with a Reese’s peanut butter cup instead of a piece of plain chocolate. You’re welcome.
37. The Reason It’s Called “The Great American Road Trip”
Road trips, at least just jumping in the car and driving a few hours without giving it much thought. I live in a large western state and it seems at least every other weekend my family and I were in the car traveling for a few hours to see some site, go into Mexico or another state.
I have relatives in Switzerland and they were going to drive us to the Frankfurt airport and I was blown away how big of a deal it was to them. My uncle had the car inspected, shopped around for gas, and printed off travel and weather reports. All for a trip my dad would have said: “Hey let’s go somewhere this weekend; in the car kids!”
36. They Drive Small Cars
I did an art history course in Italy. What really stood out to me was the size of cars over there. Over here you have a mix of mid-sized sedans and pick up trucks/SUVs, with the occasional compact car (back when I went compact cars here were incredibly scarce).
Over there, it seemed like most everyone drove a compact car, with the occasional sports car. I remember counting six pickup trucks in the 10 days I was there (for comparison, I can name more than six people I know with a pick up here).
35. Dude Be Like: “Why Not Come Over And See My Sink Drain? It’s Amazing!”
My dad had had occasion to do some work in the Soviet Union in the 1960s– he was an engineer on particle physics experiments– and so he came to know a few of those guys.
Well, right after the Soviet Union fell, one of the scientists he knew came for a visit and he and his wife were simply astonished by the idea of a garbage disposal. They just stopped what they were doing when my folks did some washing up. They took him to Sears to buy one to bring home, presumably what became the first disposal in Dubna, Russia!
34. Americans Eat Faster Or Others Just Eat Slower?
Going out to a restaurant. In America, you are seated ASAP, and then they bring you drinks, appetizers, entree, dessert and then check as quick as they possibly can (if it’s good service) for a total time of 45 minutes to an hour and a half-ish. Staying past this time is seen as a bit rude. In Europe, going out to eat seemed to be more of an event that you slowly enjoyed for a longer period of time. First, they bring you drinks and an appetizer for the first hour. Then the second hour is the entree and dessert. Then it’s more drinks for another half hour or so.
I don’t know if it’s because we were American but it seemed like the wait staff everywhere we went was annoyed that we were rushing them when we just thought it was bad service and didn’t understand the routine.
33. Keep Away From That Personal Space
Huge amounts of personal space. I know everywhere has the concept of a “Personal Bubble” but for Americans, it’s more like a “Personal Iron Curtain.”
Now I can’t unsee the lengths that Americans will go to, to be far away from other people. Next time you get on an elevator or a Metro in America look at how perfectly spaced out everyone is standing to maximize the distance to other people.
32. “AMERICANS! BURGER EXPERTS! FINALLY!”
Eating a burger and fries with your hands. I just assumed everyone did this. I went to Sweden with my boyfriend and we stopped at a burger joint. Small local place.
When the chef heard we were American he immediately wanted us to try a specialty burger he made and tell him what we thought about it. They were all excited when we picked it up with our hands and we realized everyone else in the place was using a fork and knife. The burger was 11/10.
31. The Work Culture
Work defining you completely. Sure everyone complains about too many hours, not enough pay, but then all they talk about is work. I recently moved to Germany. Work is highly compartmentalized by people here; they don’t talk about it much when not at work.
Also, reasonable working hours are a thing here: as a new hire I got 38 hours per week, 30 days vacation annually, and that’s only a little over the government required amount.
30. American Champagne Coming Up!
The first time I visited a restaurant after being stationed in West Berlin (it was a while ago), I asked the waiter for a glass of water, then four of my fellow soldiers chimed in that they would like a glass of water as well. The waiter replied, “four glasses of American champagne coming up!”
Upon his return with the water, I asked why he called it American Champagne and he told me “Because you Americans drink water like we Germans drink champagne.” I stopped asking for water after that.
29. God Dang Right!
I was hiding my drink in my jacket when walking in public. I went out with a bunch of people from my hostel, and every time we crossed a street, I instinctually hid my drink in my jacket.
My German friends made fun of me saying, “you Americans can legally carry around a firearm in public, but not an open drink??” It blew my mind right there.
28. Tailgate Style
I’ve lived in the States my entire life, but when my Spanish girlfriend came to visit I wasn’t sure what I could show her that really exhibited American culture. There are plenty of American stereotypes you see on TV, but it wasn’t until I took her to a tailgate that I realized how violently American the whole experience is.
A huge parking lot full of drunk twenty-year-olds bouncing on trucks bigger than most European apartments, with half the trucks blaring country, and the other half blasting rap. Solo cups and beer cans all over the place, grills, corn hole, etc. I’ve traveled to quite a few different countries, and I can’t really see a tailgate happening in most other places.
27. Red Cups Became An American Icon
A group of American students and I went to an “American Fourth of July” themed party on July 4 a few years back when I was living in London, and we were thoroughly amused at how red solo cups were shipped in by the box, and were being sold as souvenirs at a markup from the cost of a regular pint of beer.
They also had “USA house party” activities, but didn’t quite grasp beer pong (I remember a ping pong paddle somehow being involved?). When the bar owners found out there were American college students in attendance, we spent a lot of time showing others in the bar how it was played in the States.
26. The Classic Peanut Butter And Jelly
I lived in Spain for a few months with some Polish roommates. I managed to find some good imported American peanut butter (literally covered in dust on the bottom shelf of a store) and made a PB&J; the two roommates were so disgusted by it that they were nearly in tears in horror when I tried to get them to try it.
Also, I found out that (even during summer) they typically only turn on their air conditioner at night to sleep or when it reaches a damned 105 degrees F.
25. Why Gender Reveal Is A Big No No
Here in the States, pregnancy announcements/reveals/baby showers are mainstream but it’s generally a BIG no-no to bring it up in Kenya. My mom found out the hard way.
Essentially, asking someone when the baby is due is the equivalent of asking the person “When did you and your husband have sex?” which is considered EXTREMELY rude. The lady my mom asked was gracious about it but said: “If we were not such good friends I would have slapped you!”
24. Tip To Treat!
When I was studying abroad in Italy, my group and I tipped our waiter something like $75 and in broken English, he told us to wait in our seats. It was our first week abroad and we didn’t know if we did something wrong and were a little nervous.
A couple of minutes later, he brings our entire table shots of Limoncello on the house because it’s not customary to tip and he wanted to treat us because we gave him a large tip.
23. LA Style!
It hadn’t occurred to me until I was watching some Australian television that people view old-timey American culture like we view old-timey British top hat culture. And people view places like LA like we view places like London. It’s hard to explain but the show I was watching had a couple that made their entire home/hotel into an old-style American diner with bright red decor and pinball machines.
Another team had their house with an LA “theme” which I still don’t understand but it just hadn’t occurred to me that a vacation to a place like LA for someone in Australia is as exotic for me as a trip to Australia. Or having a house looking like the inside of a Johnny Rockets is as insanely fascinating to them as a house looking like an Australian bungalow with koalas is to me.
22. A Little Thing Called Sportsmanship
I took a friend from England to a Miami Dolphins game a few years ago and he was mortified that the fans from the two teams were sat next to each other. He was sure there was going to be a riot when the game started. He was also surprised that he could buy a beer without leaving his seat.
His favorite part of the game was when they played the national anthem and there was a flyover with a squadron of F15s. He had no idea what was going to happen and was jolted when they came screaming across the stadium. By halftime he was drunk, eating hot dogs, cotton candy, and anything else that looked good. I sent him a Dolphins hat for Christmas.
21. “Hey! You Talk Funny!”
In the U.S., I have a “standard” American accent— similar to how newscasters or other TV people speak. It’s pretty nondescript.
When I lived in France, I obviously had an American accent when I spoke French that people picked up on in about two seconds pretty much anywhere in France that I traveled. My French friends would make fun of me (with love) and call me “petite Américaine,” and other people I met in my travels were actually quite kind (especially so outside of Paris) and had a LOT of questions for me about the U.S. (this was back in the early 90s, so I’m not sure if things have changed since then).
20. American Uniform: Hoodie And Leggings
This is gonna sound a little weird maybe, but… lazy clothes. Americans sort of have a “uniform,” for lack of a better word, and nine times out of ten I can pinpoint the American in a crowd because of it. T-shirt (hoodie if it’s cold), cargo shorts (or leggings-as-pants if female), and tennis shoes.
Now I’m not gonna say Japan doesn’t do casual because they definitely do, but I guess it’s more like, casual is a fashion and they make it look good while they’re outside, whereas the American look is just comfort above all else.
19. The Love For The Flag
I emigrated to Australia 10 years ago. We talk very loudly. I notice other Americans instantly because of this, especially on public transport. We sound very aggressive, too. We tend to be a lot more friendly, though, but the volume and how fast we talk sounds aggressive to others. We are less afraid of going up to strangers and just start talking, ESPECIALLY in bars/pubs. Don’t expect to get a lot of that overseas. I’ve been told by others that it’s very easy to spot an American because they always wear sneakers or basketball shoes with jeans, which is basically my uniform so they’re probably right.
Absolutely no one here installs flags in front of their house or goes around waving them at sporting events (unless it’s the Olympics or an international sporting event) like Americans do. We love our flags for some reason. Hardly anyone here knows their national anthem, and other various immigrants I’ve talked to are the same, yet we know our anthem backwards and forwards, AND the pledge of allegiance. And other countries don’t sing it before every sporting event. We are weird. We tend to complain more. This one I’ve yet to personally experience but others tell me this.
18. How “Disgusting” Americans Are
OK, so, this one is probably pretty obvious, and looking back on it it’s really embarrassing. My family took a European vacation when I was 17. For some reason, we decided to get KFC in the UK. (Because “Murica.”) My friend who came with us went with me to order and pick up our order. We ordered a family-size bucket of chicken, and they asked us what kinds of side dishes we wanted. We said “Biscuits.” And the employees looked at us with the strangest look. The conversation went like this: UK KFC: “You want biscuits with your chicken?” Me: “Yes. Biscuits.” UK KFC: “We don’t sell those.” Me: “What do you mean you don’t sell biscuits. What are your sides?” UK KFC: “Chips?” Me: “You mean French fries? OK fine. That’ll do.”
I was worldly enough to know that “chips” meant “French fries,” but “biscuits” in the UK are cookies. My fat butt tried to order fried chicken and cookies. I am positive someone over in the UK is still telling this story at parties as an example of how disgusting Americans are. Also on this same trip, my father asked why our waitress kept saying “cheese” when she was saying “cheers.” We really left a good impression across the pond.
17. The Grocery Stores Are So…
I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in Scotland recently, and I have to say that the biggest moment of culture shock happened in a surprisingly mundane location— the grocery store. See, in the United States, you get used to having a lot of selection– too much selection, as some might say. There are a half-dozen different brands of instant rice, eighteen varieties of cream cheese, entire aisles dedicated to different flavors of chips, and produce selections that take up a decent third of any given shop. The only times when a product is out of stock are either the day before Thanksgiving or the day before the Celebration of the Superb Owl… and even then, you can usually find a knockoff version of whatever you were hoping to purchase. As an aside, if you’ve never had knockoff Pop-Tarts, you have yet to experience the pure essence of “Meh.”
Anyway, in Scotland– and I’ve been led to believe that the rest of the United Kingdom is similar in this regard– the selection is considerably more limited. Sure, there’s still a decent chance that you’ll find the majority of the entries on your list, but only if the shelves had been recently restocked. About the only thing that has more than three versions available is canned haggis… and I have to be honest, I genuinely thought that the popularity of that particular item was a joke made by Americans. While we’re on the subject of garbage (and that is a joke made by Americans), trash receptacles are few and far between in The Land of the Lochs. In San Francisco, you can find one on literally every street corner. In Edinburgh, you have to “queue” for a “fortnight” in order to get close to a “bin,” which may or may not end up being a surprisingly small “Wetherspoon.” (That’s like an Applebee’s which has somehow thrown up on itself.) I could go on, as there are dozens of more things which I haven’t mentioned. Really, though, I was just surprised by the fact that Scottish grocery stores are so… well, Scottish.
16. Even The Pooping Experience Is Different
Toilets that refill the bowl with water after flushing. (I.e. Toilets where you poop into a pool of water, rather than into a mostly empty bowl). And as a corollary, how BAD poop smells when it’s not under water.
I’ve spent a lot of time outside the US but I cannot get over pooping and having my turd just sitting there in the open air until it’s flushed. Once had a toilet in Austria that effectively had a flat shelf under the natural poop landing place, and it was washed to the front upon flushing. The most horribly designed toilet I’ve ever seen. Turd just sitting there stinking up the place. God forbid you to have diarrhea. Oh my god.
15. How Diet-Conscious Are You?
Dieting. Or rather, thinking you’re dieting. Americans will eat margarine instead of butter. They will eat egg whites instead of the whole egg. Fat-free milk instead of full-fat milk or cream. The rest of the world eats the whole egg, drinks milk with fat in it, and doesn’t drink diet soda all the time.
I went to Israel for several years and lived on a kibbutz. Eventually, another American from Miami, we’re talking typical Miami-suburban-white-boy stereotype to a tee, went there to volunteer. This guy was in the Negev desert where they had their own egg chickens, and he kept complaining about how he couldn’t find any pasteurized egg whites. Because he wanted to drink them in his protein shake. And was on a strict “I eat every two hours” regimen. He kept going up to all the guys and giving them unsolicited advice on how to cut or how to get big, bro. Imma get you big, bro. Nobody else in Israel does this. Seeing him reminded me of what Americans are like. Next to the Israeli soldiers, my god, did this guy look like the biggest tool. An American tool.
14. The “Rat Race” Mentality
The entire eating out experience. Me and my husband went to Europe last May and were blown away by how different something so simple could be. First of all, just going and sitting at an open table instead of waiting to be seated was so unsettling. Then the tiny amount of expensive water. THEN the overall pace of it all. Everything from your server coming over to tell you specials to bringing you your drinks to getting your payment is at least 3x slower. At every sit-down restaurantwe went to it was like our waiter and everyone around us was thinking, “What’s their big hurry?!” if we spent less than two hours at the table. Being a server in the U.S. is so stressful but I saw no stress from any waiter or waitress we encountered in Europe.
It made me realize just how much the “rat race” mentality affects every part of American life. In America sitting at a restaurant for a couple of hours, savoring your food, and talking leisurely with someone over a meal is typically seen as a waste of time unless it’s a business lunch. Not to mention the entire staff of an American restaurant would want to kill you for taking up a table that long.
13. Staring Is Very Okay
Here in America, people will try to avoid eye contact most of the time in public places, unless it’s for conversation or someone you know. Like it’s super weird to be staring at someone, and you basically have to stop when the other person looks back. That’s not what I found in other countries. I’ve always noticed that there is no problem with studying people in other countries.
Like one time there was this older European lady at the Dubai airport. I was looking around the duty-free shop, and she was sitting at a gate. Since my family was in the next gate over, I walked past her several times. Each time I could see her staring at me. Finally, I decided to stare right at her the next time. No effect. I’ve had this happen many times in foreign countries inside public spaces. In America, most people think a quick cursory glance is all that is acceptable. Not the case elsewhere.
12. Oh Well, That’s Not How Tea Works
I always tell people this story about the difference between America and Japan (or most Asian countries from what I hear). We were in Tokyo on our last day, exploring the Ueno market. We decided to grab some green tea for the trip home. We eventually found a shop with one bag left maybe the size of a brick. Being American I figure this is just like Costco or something, I’ll buy this thing that was made in some factory somewhere far away and processed and sterilized and inspected and distributed and bought and sold three times before I touch it.
The guy stops us, and says something along the lines of: “Oh no we have fresh stuff in the back.” We go into the back and here a small pickup truck just pulled up from the mountain. The family is unloading the plants from the truck, picking off the leaves, and putting them into the bags. This stunned me, like speechless, and it completely befuddled my girlfriend why anyone would think that was weird.
11. The Restroom Outlets
More common in the UK but not having electrical outlets in restrooms/bathrooms. Like how do you hair blow dry your hair and clean your hands from the hair products you just used? Do it in the bedroom on the ground or a dresser that you have to buy a mirror for when there’s a perfectly good mirror in the bathroom and a sink?
My British colleagues say watching American movies seeing scenes of hair blow dryers in the restroom is so foreign to them. Also in the UK having independent switches on every outlet.
10. The “Switching Hands”
I spent six weeks in France and my host made fun of me the whole time because I would eat with my fork in my right hand and switch hands when I went to cut something up with a knife. Apparently, it’s far less trouble to keep the fork in one hand and use the knife with the opposite hand but since I have literally never done that, I didn’t have the muscle memory to make it work.
So I just had to endure odd looks from my host as he tried to imagine what physical impairment I must suffer because I can’t use my knife in my left hand.
9. People Can Just Drink In Public In Other Countries
I lived in the States when I was younger and not of drinking age. I moved to Europe in my mid-teens and grew up used to the liquor laws there. Visiting the States again in recent years and seeing how schizophrenic and, frankly, intense they are about drinking was so weird. Being carded everywhere you go I can understand, the laws are strict, you gotta do what you gotta do. But the attitudes towards it were so puritanical in the most surprising places at times.
I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain and got a beer with my food, sat down to drink it and then got yelled at by someone working in the park about drinking in the view of the kids and asked to go to the back terrace. People were so excited to be able to drink on the streets of Vegas, though; it was adorable, but again there was also this weird intensity to it. The laws against public intoxication and open containers (in the countries where they do exist) are so rarely applied in Europe that you just never think about it, but in Vegas, it felt like everyone was conscious that they were getting away with something and it made the vibe weird.
8. There’s No Such Thing As American Chinese Food
Chinese food in America is a lie. I’m currently in China and if I ask for common American Chinese dishes, no one knows what in the world I’m talking about. They really eat a ton of chicken feet and fish soup.
I’ve seen fish skin chips, roasted duck heads, pork floss, and no lo mein, fried rice, General Tso’s chicken, none of these exist… It makes sense because we wouldn’t eat the traditional meals here but culture shock is an understatement.
7. Such Niceties
I learned an embarrassing lesson in Paris. I walked up to a security guard at the library adjacent to Centre Pompidou, which is where we were headed and asked in English if he could tell us where the entrance to the museum was. He stared at me blankly. I started stammering, trying to repeat myself in French, when he said very sarcastically, “Hello! How are you doing?!” I had not first offered a greeting before asking my question. In large American cities, public servants and other people providing services to tourists are often not looking for such niceties. They want you to make it as quick as possible and keep moving.
Also, people in other countries wear clothes that fit them properly, even if they don’t have the physique of a supermodel. I think that is one of the biggest fashion differences. Americans love baggy clothes, although it is much less pronounced in major cities. In Atlanta, we used to be able to spot the suburbanites the same way that American tourists can be spotted in other countries.
6. The Fear Of Strangers
I was in Munich and chatted a girl up at the hotel bar. She asked me to walk her home and I hesitated at first because I thought, “We hardly know each other and that’s walking around in a large city at night alone together.”
She saw NOTHING wrong with it and no one looked at us funny. I did so and it was fine. The Germans just are not paranoid about stranger danger the way Americans are.
5. Being Polite Is Rude To Them
I grew up in the U.S. and moved to Europe about 10 years ago. I learned quickly to get out of the habit of smiling or saying hello to strangers on the street. I didn’t understand why people found it so off-putting at first, because I thought I was simply being polite.
A European friend explained that it comes across as phony/untrustworthy and puts people on their guard. It can still be hard sometimes to shake the feeling that I’m being “rude” by not smiling at everyone I pass by.
4. That Would Be N-ICE
I studied in Austria for a summer and after walking around all day in the heat all I wanted was ice water. After quickly learning ice wasn’t really a thing, I stopped asking. One day I was grabbing lunch alone (kind of a rough day all around) and making small talk with the waitress.
She took my order, stopped and asked if I was American. When I said yes, she asked if I wanted ice. “YOU HAVE ICE?!” It totally turned my day around. She was cracking up over how excited I was over something so simple. She brought me two cups of ice with my water.
3. When Water Is Life
I’m from the U.S., and I drink a lot of water each day. When I’ve traveled to Europe (so far the UK, Germany, Netherlands, and France), I’ve had a really hard time drinking enough water.
Usually, I’d only be able to get expensive bottled water in restaurants (some would provide tap water, but most didn’t), but I saw very few drinking fountains. I’d end up buying big bottles of water from grocery stores and carrying them around with me. Like, do Europeans just not drink much water? I’m very confused…
2. “Americans Eat More”
I went on a trip to Germany in high school, and we were being treated to dinner by a local church. The meal was some sort of bread soaked in some sort of soup; it was good but I don’t really remember the details. Anyways, they gave all of the Americans four slices of bread, but our hosts only ate two, assuming we would all want more because, you know, America.
Well, it was way too much, but we didn’t want to be rude and turn down the food that was given to us for free. So we ate the whole thing and hated every second of it. If they had just asked, we would have wanted the same amount that they ate.
1. Bag Em Up!
When I was in Tennessee for work, I painfully realized over and over again how ridiculously slow the cashiers in the U.S. are. I went to Germany, and found it strange they don’t bag your items. Everyone just brings their own bag or dumps their stuff in a backpack.
I struggle to get all my items into the cart because they’re scanning so quickly, while in America you wait five minutes for like 20 items to be scanned and bagged.