Normal American practices trigger amusement, distaste

Over the past few days, I seem to have stumbled upon several articles written by international people who came to the U.S. They weren’t “articles,” per se, but they were part of the new online trend of publishing content in the form of lists of light material to users. Websites such as Buzzfeed and Thought Catalog have been posting such entries lately.

One of these article was “30 Non-Americans on The American Norms They Find Weird,” published on Thought Catalog. Some of the entries there I didn’t necessarily agree with. I thought the posts had a hint of exaggeration. Some entries, however, I realized I shared with others, too.

I thought I’d share some of the “norms” I personally find weird in the U.S.

This is not to say that my country is perfect in any way, or that the U.S. isn’t a good county to live in. This is also not to spike the typical, racist “if you don’t like it, leave it,” rhetoric some people engage in.

The first norm I find weird would be the ridiculous amount of food portions served in restaurants.

Now, I come from a culture that treasures food to the point that it considers eating in front of a person who isn’t eating completely rude. All we do is feed people. But even I think food in restaurants, particularly chains, is portioned for two people or more.

The second, and this was really shocking to me, was the excessive advertising of prescription medication on television. Where I come from, the doctor tells us what medicine to take, not the other way around.

The “ask your doctor about [insert medicine]” is not even what bothers me the most about these ads. But the five-second end of the ad is what causes me to cringe. What is it you say, “Side effects may include suicidal thoughts or actions – some fatal cases have been reported”? Really? Let me jump right on that wagon.

Speaking of advertisements brings me to my next point, lawyer ads. I have come to the understanding that the U.S. is a litigious society. I have even adapted that mentality myself; I jokingly tell friends – and sometimes family members who live miles away – that I will sue them. I don’t mean it, of course, but I think it’s funny to know that I can.

But, to this day, I am still not used to the idea of lawyers coming up with lawsuits on television. “If you or a loved one have used/done/worked, etc. then you may be entitled to…” I am not sure if they do it to protect the consumer because there is a legitimate claim or to just have some publicity and make bank. I’m leaning toward the latter.

That being said, I also love the concept of left-overs in restaurants. Being served adequate portions in Jordan doesn’t allow for enjoying food at a later time or at home.

I also like knowing that despite these gross advertisements on TV, those who do it know that they can.

Good or bad, living in a different country always triggers these types of comparisons. There isn’t a right or wrong way of doing things. Either way is fine, as long as the residents of these countries are happy with what they’re getting.

 

HIBA ALMASRI

[email protected]

HIBA ALMASRI
[email protected]