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Non-Americans Sharing Signs Someone Is From The US

  
Via:  Ender  •  last year  •  37 comments

By:   Hannah Loewentheil (BuzzFeed)

Non-Americans Sharing Signs Someone Is From The US
To quote a Latvian woman I met on my trip: 'You hear Americans coming like the thunder.

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As an American, I always try to blend in when I travel. But maybe I'm not doing a great job, because apparently people from abroad have quite a few ideas about how you can immediately identify an American. So redditor u/Ermland2 asked, "What's an obvious sign someone's American?" Here are some of the responses.


1."In Salzburg, I went to pick up something from the drugstore. As I was checking out, I said hello to the cashier (thinking there was very little difference between how I said it and how Austrians say it). But the cashier immediately started speaking to me in English. I asked her how she knew I was American, and she stared at me in the eye and said, 'Hellloooo.' I just about died laughing. I'm a very stereotypical friendly American who says hello exactly like that. It's one of my favorite memories from that trip."


2."I worked as a cashier in a touristy area of Paris. I always recognized Americans immediately because they were especially friendly to me and they always left tips."


3."An Italian told me that Americans walk confidently in the wrong direction."


4."They ask, 'How's your day going?' or 'How are you doing?' in completely random circumstances."


5."When you ask where they're from, they don't say 'America' (which would make many people wonder which part). Instead, they say something like, 'I'm from Texas!' No other people in the world tell you what state or region they are from. They usually start at a continental level, like, 'I'm from Europe,' and then maybe go further as to tell you their home country if the conversation continues. American folks just go straight to the state. 'I'm from Texas,' 'I'm from Florida,' etc. Half of them just say their town, which nobody knows. Then, when you look confused, they say their state like, 'Oh, it's in Texas.'"


6."They always order ice in their water."


7."They always look cheerful and are constantly smiling and looking happy. Tourists from other places appear more neutral or even unhappy."


8."They ask, 'So, what do you do?' right after meeting someone. It's not a faux pas or anything, but it's just something that seems to be more important to Americans."


9."They drive from one shop to the next, even if it's only a 50-meter walk."


10."They give gentle grins to strangers as they pass by and make eye contact. It may be received in the Midwest, but not so much in Germany."


11."When I lived in Europe, people said only Americans eat while walking. If I was eating a bagel or something on the way to work or class, multiple people would ask if I was American."


12."Tipping. Americans will try to tip everyone, even in countries where tipping isn't a thing and can even be considered insulting."


13."They act so amazed by things that are more than 200 years old, presumably because they don't have many things that old in the USA."


14."To quote a Latvian woman I met at a hostel: 'You hear Americans coming like the thunder.' More often than not, if people are talking and laughing louder than everyone else, they're American."


15."They drink coffee in to-go cups. My partner's Italian mother absolutely can't get over the idea of seeing people walk around holding coffees. Americans are the only ones who don't enjoy their coffee while seated at a cafe."


16."I was once on a biking tour in Europe, and there was one man who blatantly fit the bill: He had an unusual beard and huge white teeth, he was extremely friendly and a bit loud, and he literally carried a jar of peanut butter with him (he said that it was the most efficient way to fuel up for his exercise)."


17."In my homestay in London, I was told that I was 'so American' for enjoying a piece of cake for breakfast. I'm not talking frosted cake, but a slice of coffee cake with nuts and dried fruit. Apparently, in Europe this should exclusively be eaten as an afternoon snack — whereas breakfast should be a savory meal."


18."When asked how far away something is, an American will tell how you long it takes to get there in minutes as opposed to the physical distance."


19."From what I've been told by European friends and travelers, it's a complete and utter lack of an indoor voice that instantly reveals an American."


20."An Italian told me he could tell I was American right away because I wore my sunglasses on the top of my head when I wasn't using them."


21."I've always observed that my friends from the US like to point at stuff while walking and narrate what it is. We were out walking around Amsterdam recently and they were like, 'Hey, look, it's a smoke shop'…'Oh, look, a sex shop'…'Look at the canal.' It was like watching Netflix with audio descriptions turned on."


22."They wear crew socks in white running shoes, khaki cargo shorts, a polo shirt, and a baseball cap. It's the typical outfit of an American tourist traveling around Europe after retirement."


23."Someone asked if I was American in a group setting, and another person spoke up before I could respond. He said, 'Of course he's American, look at his teeth. Apparently, most Americans get braces."


24."They are not wearing Speedos at the beach. And for this, I'd like to thank American men!"


25."When they claim to be one-eighth German, one-eighth Irish, one-sixteenth Scottish, one-sixteenth Spanish, three-eighths French, and one-fourth Canadian."


So, non-Americans, what did I miss? What's a telltale sign that someone is from the US? Tell us in the comments.


Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.


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Ender
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Ender    last year

Something a little different.

Apparently we are really loud....

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
1.1  shona1  replied to  Ender @1    last year

Morning..it really isn't hard to detect an American...

The accent is a dead give away in just a few words...and most people if asked where they are from will say the country...the number of people that will tell you oh I am African American, Asian American...no I did ask what race you are that is obvious, just where you are from or what part of the States are you from?..🤣🤣

The best one I was told Anglo Saxon American, my Kiwi friend and I just looked at them and then burst out laughing...that was when we were in in England...that one even made it into my diary...our response confused the crap out of them, but it made our day...

Every one has their obnoxious types I can assure you, so don't feel it's just you mob. We have some very cringe worthy shockers and I have seen to many of them whilst I was travelling through Europe and Britain for 1.5 years..🦘🦘

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2  seeder  Ender    last year

Overall though, I would say that responses weren't that bad.

If anything, we are a little over friendly.

Stark comparison to our rhetoric here at home...

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
2.1  shona1  replied to  Ender @2    last year

Yeah you mob aren't to bad...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.2  devangelical  replied to  Ender @2    last year

my biggest fear would be to learn the entire planet thought all americans were trumpster morons.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.2.1  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @2.2    last year

or folks afraid of  a little religion!

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
2.2.2  shona1  replied to  devangelical @2.2    last year

Nah...we just think it's funny and shake our heads...we don't get so caught up in politics, we never have..and your elections, just shoot me now!!...

Our motto is...less is best...we would rather watch paint dry than spend time discussing or watching pig trough pollies...

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.3  seeder  Ender  replied to  shona1 @2.2.2    last year
pig trough pollies

Hahaha

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.2.4  Sean Treacy  replied to  devangelical @2.2    last year

[deleted]

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.2.5  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @2.2.1    last year
afraid of a little religion

nah, they've been ingenious in dealing with annoying thumpers for years.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.2.6  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @2.2.5    last year

whining isn't the same as handling.

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
2.2.7  shona1  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.2.4    last year

Nope well I certainly don't..tad obsessed with politics and all the rallies etc is a bit much at times.. surprised you can't hear the groan from there...

Sorry but I just can't see why people get so worked up over it..why waste brain cells on it ..but hey each to their own..

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.2.8  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @2.2.6    last year
whining isn't the same as handling.

whining isn't the same as yard art, cat food, or kindling either...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.2.9  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @2.2.8    last year
whining isn't the same as yard art, cat food, or kindling either...

Why, that's right! Very good.

 
 
 
zuksam
Junior Silent
2.2.10  zuksam  replied to  shona1 @2.2.7    last year

Between the Media and this Site it may seem like that's all Americans think and talk about but it's not. Even during Election Season out of the 100+ people at my work there was only one guy who couldn't shut up about politics. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
3  Sean Treacy    last year

I think the listed points are generally correct.  Stereotypes typically exist for a reason.  It's a better list than most of these that I've seen.

The loud stereotype seems to involve a little selection bias though. It's true, that Americans, like many others, are probably more exuberant on holiday than people just doing the same ole, same ole. But being a loud foreigner is also something that draws more attention than your typical loud native. It just sticks out more when the accent or language is foreign.  

For instance, I was in Las  Vegas a few months ago and encountered a couple groups of very loud Englishmen.  They might not have been any louder than a similar sized group of Americans but their accents made them stand out in a way that an American in Vegas would.  Who knows how many quiet English groups I encountered, (you only notice the loud), but the louds ones made it seem like all English groups are rowdy, because they were the only English people I noticed. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4  seeder  Ender    last year

I think we need to adapt the no tipping thing. It is a pain in the ass.

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
4.1  shona1  replied to  Ender @4    last year

Yes but isn't that because your minimum wage is rather low??

Here it's $21.38 per hour and tipping is not required regardless of service...

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1.1  seeder  Ender  replied to  shona1 @4.1    last year

Waitstaff usually works for lower than minimum wage thus they need the tips.

Imo we pay about the same either way. I would rather pay for it with the cost of the meal.

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
4.1.2  shona1  replied to  Ender @4.1.1    last year

Isn't it illegal for people to pay less than the minimum wage?? 

Here it is, you are fined or can be jailed...or it can be reported and the authorities can be brought in to audit.

Wait staff still get the minimum wage here, if they didn't no one would work for them and the employers name would be mud...as some famous chefs have found out and now bankrupt and paid back the $$$ they owed to employees...

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
4.1.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  shona1 @4.1.2    last year
Isn't it illegal for people to pay less than the minimum wage?? 

Certain jobs in which it is expected that the employee will be tipped don't have to pay the regular minimum wage.  Federal minimum wage for restaurant servers, for example, is $2.13 per hour.  It is expected that the employer will bring that up to the minimum wage if tips don't make up the difference.  The minimum wage varies by state, but all must meet the federal minimum.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5  seeder  Ender    last year

"They Are Not Wearing Speedos At The Beach. And For This, I'd Like To Thank American Men!"

I think we can all (mostly) agree with that one....Haha

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
5.1  shona1  replied to  Ender @5    last year

Budgie smugglers (Speedos) are the norm here...from life savers to skin divers...gotta love the beach...

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
5.1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  shona1 @5.1    last year
Budgie smugglers

Free the thighs.  I'm of an age and body type were trunks or boardshorts are more appropriate. 

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
5.1.2  shona1  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1.1    last year

Yes most wear boardies now but budgies are still quite popular..

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5.1.3  seeder  Ender  replied to  shona1 @5.1.2    last year

Back in the seventies and early eighties, shorts were short.

The chances were better for a mishap....

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
7  sandy-2021492    last year

We are really loud.

9."They Drive From One Shop To The Next, Even If It's Only A 50-Meter Walk."

When I went to Scotland with a group, a cashier at a Tesco was joking with us and said, in an accent that was almost too strong for us to decipher, "No wonder Americans are so fat.  You have drive-through chemists (pharmacies)."  We really couldn't argue with that.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
7.1  Tessylo  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7    last year

Jeaneane Garafalo (spelling?) had a hilarious bit about an ex-boyfriend who had a very thick Scottish accent, a little bit that I remember was that he said/she heard 'you need to be the otter of your own fate'

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
7.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  Tessylo @7.1    last year

That was actually Laura Kightlinger I was thinking of, hilarious.

 
 
 
zuksam
Junior Silent
7.2  zuksam  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7    last year

Maybe that's why I'm so skinny, the only drive through I've used in decades has been my bank and that's only when the lobby is closed.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
8  Kavika     last year

Funny article, having lived in a number of countries some of it is true, especially the tipping thing. 

Years ago when living in Australia, Red (my wife) was totally frustrated one day when I came home from work. She said to me, ''do you know that I went to dozens of shops and could not find a turkey, imagine it's Thanksgiving and they don't have turkeys in Australia.''

Red, what country celebrates Thanksgiving? She said well the US. I said and what country are we in?

The looks that crossed her face were priceless. 

BTW, Singapore nor Hong Kong do not have turkey on Thanksgiving but by that time she had learned her lesson.

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
8.1  shona1  replied to  Kavika @8    last year

🤣🤣🤣that has made my day..she should have just gone with a chook.

Only time you will see Turkey here is at Christmas and even then not in abundance..

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Professor Silent
9  SteevieGee    last year

Once in Italy about 5 years ago Mrs. Gee and I lied to some people and told them we were Canadian.  (We were embarrassed that America had somehow elected Trump)  We were so busted because they turned out to be Canadian.  We had to come clean and we all had a good laugh.  They said they'd have lied about it too.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
9.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  SteevieGee @9    last year

Interesting that you said "Canadian", because half a century and more ago when I travelled in Europe American backpackers and others would sew Canadian flags onto their backpacks so as to appear other than being Americans, because for some reason they weren't exactly appreciated back then.  

 
 
 
shona1
PhD Quiet
9.1.1  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1    last year

Or what's worse..being mistaken for a flipping Kiwi...now that is more than a Koala can bare..🐨🐨

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Professor Silent
9.1.2  SteevieGee  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1    last year

I could totally see that happening Buzz.  There's nothing worse than going half way around the world only to find places that are infested with Americans.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Professor Silent
9.1.3  SteevieGee  replied to  shona1 @9.1.1    last year
Or what's worse..being mistaken for a flipping Kiwi...now that is more than a Koala can bare..

Once, in Wales our innkeeper said she thought I was Australian.  If she'd thought I were a flipping Kiwi it would have been on.

 
 

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