Stars, stripes, football, and barbecue — this combo can only be found in one place. America's sports obsession and national pride are just a few things that set it apart from other countries in the world. People unfamiliar with our customs will soon be barraged with a culture steeped in football fans and deep-fried food.
But America has much more to offer than arenas full of sports fans and Diabetes-inducing meal selections (okay, maybe not much more, but still). Even U.S. citizens will be surprised at all the wonderful things our country has to offer that we take for granted each day.
From obvious offerings to hidden gems you'd never think about, this list touches on just a few of the things that make the States so unique.
This is 'Murica, folks. We're lazy, we're demanding, and we want our stick-figure bumper stickers delivered TODAY, thankyouverymuch. Other countries may not understand the value of denying their delivery men much-needed vacation time, but here in America, the customer always comes first. And if that customer wants their package today, then damnit that's when they're going to get it!
Anyone who's been to Philadelphia knows that a real Philly cheesesteak isn't made with real cheese. Rather, this world-renowned delicacy is created with none other than Cheese Whiz (or any other variety of spray cheese). The greatest mystery surrounding spray cheese is how it's able to maintain its powerful, cheesy flavor without using cheese as a main ingredient.
Have a late-night craving for some frozen pizza or a bag of your favorite chips? No need to wait until the morning to satisfy your stomach. The States has no shortage of businesses willing to stay open well into the night. In fact, many of our stores operate 24 hours per day, so you don't have to worry about running your errands before the doors close.
We even created a 24-hour cookie delivery chain to solve the very real issue of people being forced to go without their sugar fix until the next day.
People visiting the U.S. for the first time will be shocked to discover that American sandwiches have cake in them. At least, that's no doubt what they'll think when they take their first bite into the sweeter, fluffier version of what the rest of the world calls "bread." Many non-native visitors liken white bread to something along the lines of pound cake.
Pets As Children
Millennials may be setting record lows when it comes to having children, but that may have more to do with the fact that we've baby-fied our pets than it is a sign of our "immaturity." America as a whole is more pet crazy than any other country on the planet. In fact, 81 percent of Americans surveyed view their pets as family members and over half of Americans consider themselves to be "pet parents."
Treating our pets like family goes far beyond dressing them in adorable outfits and throwing birthday parties for them (yes, that's a very real thing). Our pets are at the heart of every decision we make; even how much food we eat. Hence, the birth of the doggy bag. And you won't find a restaurant in America that doesn't have one readily available at the end of your meal.
Unused Vacation Days
662 million of them to be exact. Maybe we're not as lazy as we like to pretend. Either way, unused vacation time is such a huge problem in the U.S. that we even had to establish an organization with the sole purpose of improving work-life balance for Americans and encouraging taking time off.
Break out the chainmail and helmets: American Black Friday is a lot like going to war. It's hard to believe we're capable of committing such atrocities as stampeding our fellow man after a full day of stuffing our faces with turkey, but it happens every year without fail.
Black Friday doorbusters have become so dangerous, there's even a website dedicated to tracking the deaths and injuries that happen every year. Please, shop responsibly.
Tipping Your Waiter
If you're visiting from across the pond and your waiter was caught giving you the evil eye after you've finished your meal, it's probably because you forgot to leave a tip. Unlike in other countries, U.S. restaurants typically don't provide an hourly wage for their wait staff. If they do, it's usually around $2 an hour and is only given for tax purposes. So how do American waiters make their money? Collecting a customary 20 percent tip from each table. Failure to comply may or may not result in "accidental" food contamination, unintentionally intentional poor service, or a strong suggestion to never return.
Yellow School Buses
Sure, you'll find school buses in other countries around the world, but none as iconic as the yellow school buses that make up the American fleet. The color is actually called "School Bus Glossy Yellow," and was developed in 1939 with the purpose of drawing immediate attention.
The color is only used in North America, so you may find some stray yellow buses in Canada or Mexico.
The road trip is the ultimate vacation for American families. It's not surprising why that is: 5 of the world's 10 longest highways are located here. The U.S. Route 20 stretches 3,365 miles from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon — just one of the many routes travelers can take from coast to coast.
Side effects of being a visitor in the U.S. may include shock upon viewing an advertisement from Big Pharma. America is only one of two countries in the entire world that permits drug commercials. I guess most other countries' doctors don't want their patients to present them with a Santa-like prescription wish list at their next appointment.
Don't you wish someone would invent a solution to the pesky problem of scraps in the sink? America did too, which is why we have garbage disposals. It's kind of shocking that a lot of other countries haven't caught on to the magic of this luxury. Actually, many European countries have even banned them.
Grape Flavored Skittles
Kind of specific and strange, but the grape Skittles are actually black currant flavored in Europe. Yuck, I think I'll stick to grape thank you.
Large Portion Sizes
Be prepared to gain a few pounds when you cross the border into the States. Everything about America screams big and bold, so why would our food be any different? One of our favorite things to do here in the U.S. is compete with one another to see who can eat the most.
Restaurants across the country have their own version of the "I bet you can't..." challenge. At Lucky 13 in Salt Lake City, if you finish the Big Benny Burger by yourself in under an hour, not only is it on the house but they'll also pay you $200 cash. Hold the cash. Accomplishment is its own reward.
Red Solo Cup
Featured in every college movie ever to come out of Hollywood, the red Solo cup is an American icon in its own right. This American trademark is so bizarre to other countries that people have even started throwing "American themed" parties where the cups are used exclusively.
No one should live in a world without this delicious dish of southern comfort. This amazing meal has many variations throughout the southern United States, but the one thing that stays consistent is everyone's love for its spicy, rich flavor. It's the perfect food on a cold, winter day (or any day of your entire existence, pretty much).
Whoever first thought to eat the moist parts of curdled milk, America thanks you from the bottom of our artery-clogged hearts. Often served fried (is there any other way to cook?), cheese curds are a staple, particularly in the midwest. You'll find cheese curds in Canada's poutine but, for the most part, cheese curds are best enjoyed south of the Canadian border.
Prom is a big deal in the U.S. While other countries certainly hold formal dances for their students, none compare to the glitz and glamor surrounding prom. Entire film genres are dedicated to this event. American parents can expect to pay an average of $919 on prom-goers. Why? Because the party isn't complete without a ballgown, tuxedo, hair stylist, make-up artist, photographer, limousine, and after-party.