We repeat it all the time and we have a good laugh about it: Americans and Europeans are very different people. There are a lot of objects that we use and they don’t, they have traditions that we find really too bizarre and there are also a lot of little typical European habits that surprise them when we don’t even do it don’t pay attention.
1. Gather his bread crumbs in a pile on the table
It’s something that most Europeans do without even asking themselves the question after a meal. Whether you’re with friends, in a restaurant or at home, you always gather the crumbs on the table in small heaps even if you don’t bother to throw them away. It avoids disgusting the table and hurting your elbow by placing it on a sharp crumb of bread
Several Americans noticed this habit and said they had never seen it at home. Whether it’s because they hate helping waiters or just because they never eat bread remains to be seen.
2. Drink room temperature water when dining out
Americans and Canadians consume a lot of ice cubes, which is why so-called “American” fridges often have an ice dispenser. They always keep the water in the fridge even though it doesn’t shock anyone in Europe to serve a glass straight from the tap. In a restaurant in the United States, it is very unlikely that you will be served water at room temperature.
3. Sit behind the checkout counter when working in a shop
Although it’s frowned upon in some stores, it’s not unusual to see clothing store employees sitting behind the checkout counter. At the same time, it should definitely be mandatory to let people sit down, I don’t see what that changes. Oddly, it shocks some Americans… If they’re not happy, it’s the same.
4. Do not give your credit card to the server and pay yourself on the TPE
A bank card is like a toothbrush: you don’t lend it. It’s so easy to steal someone’s card code; and yet, it’s perfectly normal in the United States to put your credit card with the bill and let the waiter take it and pay with it. In France (and in many European countries), it is much more common to pay yourself.
5. Eat fries with mayonnaise
Of course, there are Americans who put mayo in their tray of fries but very often, they are teased by their friends. A bit like you when you put the cereal after the milk. What’s weird is that a lot of Americans eat their fries with ranch dressing (which looks like salad dressing).
6. Eat a whole pizza per person
It’s perfectly normal in America to buy a pizza the size of a minivan and then share it with friends and family. In France and all over Europe, pizzas are much smaller to be able to eat one whole per person. It’s still cooler than buying a slice of pizza that is eaten super fast.
7. Eat the different foods in a meal in a specific order
Even if it’s not something that everyone does, many French people eat their meals at McDo in a specific order. First the fries, then the sandwich and some save the drink for last. Obviously, we eat the salty first, then the sweet. In the United States, they don’t really care about the order and it doesn’t shock anyone to eat their sundae before their fries.
8. Hate queuing and prefer to crowd and jostle
As in Japan where people are very civilized in public places, Americans are used to queuing and it does not shock them to wait in line. So inevitably, when they see Parisians jostling to enter a metro train, they are a little scandalized.
9. Serve kids the same food as adults in restaurants
Even if children’s menus based on ham and fries are very common in French restaurants, it is quite normal to order an adult dish and ask for a smaller portion or to share a plate with your kid. In the United States, it’s really unlikely to see a child eating anything other than a burger or a hot dog in a restaurant (and it’s a bit sad).
10. Being able to drink in a bar when very young if it is an adult who orders drinks
In France and in most European countries, it never shocks anyone to let a 15-year-old teenager drink a glass of wine at the table if the parents agree. In the United States, it is absolutely forbidden and still controlled. To say that we finished our parents’ glasses before they were 10 years old, maybe it’s the Amerloques who are right on this one…