In an attempt to start an interesting discussion, Reddit user tycooperaow posted a question on r/AskReddit: “What is clearly a scam but Americans have been conditioned to believe that it is ‘normal?'” And they succeeded. Even though the post has received 4.6K upvotes (far fewer than some of the most popular ones on the subreddit), it has accumulated over 5.5K comments. Non-Americans started sharing their take on the US, testing the definition of the word ‘scam’, and all the replies paint a pretty good picture of the way the rest of the world sees the country.
Tipping restaurant servers so the owners of the restaurant don’t have to pay them a living wage.
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“America is the greatest country in the world.”
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Your cellphone plans. In my country, I pay €20 for unlimited calls, SMS, and data. I work in phone sales, and whenever I speak to an American, they cannot believe how cheap our plans are compared to what they pay
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Unpaid internships: They’re literally wage theft.
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Americans thinking that medical procedures are actually that expensive. Fun fact: In a normal country, you don’t pay tens of thousands of dollars.
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Megachurches are literal scams. They make a lot of money, saying it’s for the church, then they buy 12 mansions.
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Getting limited days worth of annual leave per year and then being encouraged not to use it.
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When a website offers you a free trial, but it still wants your credit card info.
The idea that you need to work endless hours and never have time off.
There are plenty of countries where people work reasonable hours, have five-week summer vacations and the economies don’t fall apart.
You are not lazy if you don’t eat at your desk or while driving.
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The push that ‘college is for everyone!’ Also, you aren’t able to default on your student loans, so banks will give them to anyone. Coincidentally, society started telling people that they should all go to college, no matter their situation, right after passing the bill that made student loans impossible to hide from.
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Politicians talk about the need for healthcare, but create legislation for healthcare insurance.
Those are not the same things. In fact, the latter actually is a barrier to the former.
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Lawmakers allowed to invest in the stock market.
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“If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late.”
B*tch, that adds up to 65 hours a year you should have paid me for. That is 8 full days of work.
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Millionaires/Billionaires are just like you and me, who just worked harder than everybody else.
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Really expensive funerals. People are charged astronomically high prices at a time when grief means they’re not prepared to make sound decisions.
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Charging $1 to add cheese.
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‘Overdraft protection,’ which actually allows the bank to charge you when you use a debit card, instead of just declining the transaction.
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Wedding business. Everyone nowadays thinks their wedding has to be super grand and such. But paying +2500$ for a dress you can only wear once is super overrated in my opinion.
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College Tuition. Being in debt for thousands of dollars as a young adult just starting their life
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Somehow, a person who works 65 hours a week at a minimum-wage job just to pay the rent “isn’t working hard enough”. At the same time, an executive whose “work” boils down to signing a few forms, making a couple of phone calls, collecting investment payouts, and playing golf is considered “a hardworking American”.
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Advertising medicine. Seriously what the hell?
90% of ads you see in social media. Hair fruit gummies do not help your hair.
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Healthcare, all the way. All those heartfelt stories on people who raised 100,000 for their neighbors surgery, and it’s great, but no one seems to question why that was necessary in the first place. The person in question has insurance and they’re still struggling to pay for this procedure?
Even worst if it’s life-threatening. People have to make GoFundMe’s, petition, all kinds of stuff. To have the basic right to not have to go broke when you see a doctor.
Rent To Own products. (Rent-A-Center, Aarons, Conns, etc..) You end up paying triple or quadruple the value of the product for virtually no other benefit than you’d get if you just saved a little money and bought the product out-right.
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Politicians voting amongst themselves on their own salaries and benefits.
Pension for life after serving two terms while the working class is lucky to retire at 75 and have a livable wage? Yeah, that shit would never happen if the general population had a say.
The two party system
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College text books, you pay $400 for a book because you have to have the newest version that’s rarely changed much, and the school might offer you $40 and sell it for $150 used
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Health insurance. Studied abroad in France for a year. When I went to the hospital for urinary retention due to an infection and had to spend the night. The only thing I had to pay for was the antibiotics they gave me to take home for a week which was about $10 for 7 pills. Ours is a joke.
The price for healthcare in America. For the love of God just travel overseas and compare, like, to any country in the world… And then realize how big of a rip-off it is in America. And it’s all insurance companies fault.
Insurance. Sure it works as intended, but it could be non-profit so rates are cheaper and rebates are given, not so someone can get filthy rich. All the unused money at the end of the year should go back to the insured, not the insurer less a fair wage.
Paying thousands of dollars for basic dental work
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The pledge of allegiance was actually an advertisement to sell flags.
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For the majority of wage earners, the IRS can easily determine how much you owe and tell you, or tell you what you’re owed in a refund. It’s simple.
That they don’t do so is only because tax preparation companies lobby lawmakers to keep the system as it is. Tax preparation companies only exist because they are legally allowed, middle men. They are slow, complicated, costly, and the opposite of free market efficiency.
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Working 50+ hours a week to barely make ends meet, no health care, and no future but you’re ‘free’ so it’s worth it.
Car dealerships. They’re literally just middle-man functions that do nothing more than raise the cost of the ‘good’ and produce taxation for the government on multiple levels of the transactions involved in purchasing a car through the third party.
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Greeting cards cost like $5!
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For profit health insurance. We still pay for other people’s healthcare, we just do it in a much more bloated and expensive way than universal healthcare.
The war on drugs. Cheap informal pharmacopeia is what’s left for anyone who can’t afford or access doctors, psychiatric help, or prescription meds. Rehab for the privileged, prison for the rest. Political talking points, to get us riled up. A gray market with selective enforcement, like gambling and prostitution. Employment in the Informal Sector. Employment, asset seizure, bribery, and extortion opportunity for cynical Enforcers. Prohibition 2.0.
Identity theft. The bank fails to properly vet someone they gave money to, and now it’s your problem.
You did nothing, the bank made a mistake. How is that your problem?
And look at credit monitoring companies, they claim they can detect fraud on your credit report. Yet, credit monitoring companies and credit reporting companies are one and the same — literally the same company. So the real message is “pay us and we will not make false reports about you in our credit reports, we have the ability to detect falsehoods, but will only do so if you pay us”. There should be a clear case of libel here. The credit reporting companies often report things that they reasonably know to be false.
Cost less than a cent to fill.
Prescription eye glasses. They should be maybe $100 tops but we pay multiple times that for them.
The fact that the socially acceptable course of one’s life is to go to college, get a job, marry, buy a house, give birth to a couple of kids for your family, and then work for 40+ hour weeks ad nauseum. If you deviate from this, you’re called lazy, useless, etc.
You don’t really get to enjoy life like you should because we’re just expected to work until we reach our 60s-70s, then retire, but we miss out on a lot of what life has to offer in between all of that. I feel like we’d be less stressed as a whole if we just do things at our pace instead of what’s expected of us by society’s standards.