20 Things Americans Take for Granted (But They Shouldn’t)

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Americans are lucky to have some enviable perks that can be easy to forget. Here’s a little reminder to be grateful for them.

Affordable Food


Sure, inflation has hit hard on grocery prices, but relatively affordable food is something many Americans take for granted. Grocery stores are stocked with a wide variety of options to suit every budget—from fresh produce to canned goods—it’s possible to find nutritious and affordable food almost anywhere

This accessibility allows people to prepare healthy meals at home without breaking the bank. In many parts of the world, access to affordable and diverse food options is alarmingly limited, making it a privilege that deserves appreciation.

Wearing Sweats in Public (with No Judgment!)


Wearing sweats in public without judgment is a small freedom many Americans enjoy. It’s perfectly acceptable to run errands, grab a coffee, or even attend casual gatherings in comfortable clothing. (Imagine heading out in your coziest sweatpants and no one even cares!) 

In many cultures, dressing down in public might be frowned upon or considered inappropriate. The relaxed attitude towards casual attire in the U.S. offers a level of comfort and convenience that many take for granted.

Personal Freedom and Acceptance


Personal freedom and the acceptance of all cultures, religions, colors, genders, and LGBTQ+ individuals are deeply ingrained in American values. Despite ongoing issues of racism and discrimination, the laws in the U.S. protect these freedoms and strive to ensure equality for everyone. 

This cultural acceptance and legal protection create an environment where individuality is celebrated, and everyone has the opportunity to live authentically (unlike in some other parts of the world).

Affordable Cars


Affordable cars are a significant benefit that many Americans might not fully appreciate. 

With the average cost of a new car being around $48,000 and a used one about $35,000, vehicles in the U.S. are relatively accessible compared to other parts of the world. The ability to purchase and maintain a car is a privilege that not everyone around the globe enjoys.

Ridiculously Delicious Junk Food


Most Americans eat fast food 1-3 times per week! From burgers and fries to pizza and ice cream, these tasty treats are both satisfying and affordable (there’s something particularly comforting about indulging in these familiar flavors!) 

While the health risks are well-known, the comfort and joy that fast food brings to many is undeniable. This culinary convenience is not something everyone around the world can enjoy, making it a unique aspect of American life.


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Disneyland, the famous amusement park in Anaheim, California, is a quintessential piece of American culture. Featuring characters, rides, and shows based on Walt Disney’s creations, it’s a magical destination that many Americans can visit relatively easily. 

The central Sleeping Beauty Castle, modeled on Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, stands as an iconic symbol of the park. Not everyone around the world can experience this unique collection of adventures, rides, and shows in person, making it a special experience that many Americans might take for granted.

Gun Ownership


Gun ownership is a significant part of American culture, with 40% of Americans owning guns. Gun ownership has increased by 28% over the past twenty years, making it a common aspect of life for many families. 

In other countries, owning multiple firearms is often seen as unusual or even alarming. The cultural norms and legal frameworks around gun ownership vary widely, making the American experience with firearms exceptionally unique.

Chatting with Complete Strangers


In the U.S., it’s common to smile and chat with total strangers—from a friendly nod at the grocery store to a casual conversation in a coffee shop—these small interactions are part of everyday life. 

Try that in some other parts of the world, like Russia, and you’ll find it’s quite different. Smiling at a stranger there can be taken as an invitation to come and talk, and Russians generally don’t smile at people they don’t know (let alone talk and joke with them!) What Americans might see as friendliness, others could perceive as unusual or even rude!



Watching or engaging with your favorite American football teams is a thrilling experience that many take for granted. The sport’s combination of strategy, speed, agility, and physical contact creates an electrifying atmosphere. Watching a game can be a communal event, with fans gathering to cheer on their teams, enjoying the camaraderie and excitement. 

This fervor for football isn’t universally shared—in many countries, the sport doesn’t have the same cultural significance or widespread following, making it a distinctly American thing.

Buying in Bulk


Buying in bulk is something many Americans take for granted. Warehouse stores and bulk sections in supermarkets offer crazily substantial savings for those who purchase larger quantities of items. This practice reduces the cost per unit and also minimizes frequent trips to the store. 

In many parts of the world, buying in bulk isn’t as common or accessible, making it a unique benefit that Americans often overlook.

The American Dream


Despite the challenges of inflation and rising prices, the American Dream remains a powerful idea for many. The American Dream is the belief that anyone—regardless of their background or circumstances—can attain their own version of success. I

t’s this promise of upward mobility and the chance to build a better life that continues to draw people to the United States, striving for their piece of the dream.

Hollywood Glitz and Hollywood Sign

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The iconic Hollywood sign and the glitz of Tinseltown symbolize a dream that many around the world find captivating. For Americans, Hollywood includes all movies and celebrities, and even the allure of possibility and fame. (Picture the sprawling hills with the giant letters beckoning dreamers from all walks of life!) 

This glamorous image is uniquely American, representing a place where creativity and ambition can flourish. While not everyone will make it big in Hollywood, the magic of the movies and the stories of those who do succeed continue to inspire.

24/7 Stores 


Having stores open 24/7 is a convenience that many Americans might not fully appreciate. Whether it’s a late-night snack run or an emergency purchase, the ability to shop at any hour is a luxury (just imagine needing medicine in the middle of the night and being able to get it right away.) 

In many countries, strict store hours are the norm, and finding a place open after hours can be impossible. This round-the-clock availability is a convenience that makes life in the U.S. exceptionally flexible and accommodating.

Return Policies


Generous return policies are another benefit that many Americans take for granted. If a purchase doesn’t work out—such as clothing that doesn’t fit or electronics that don’t function as expected—most stores make it refreshingly easy to return items. 

This consumer-friendly approach (with hassle-free returns and exchanges) isn’t common everywhere. In some places, once you buy something, returning it is either difficult or impossible!

Personal Space


Personal space is a subtle but significant comfort that Americans often take for granted. In the U.S., there’s an unspoken rule about giving people their space—whether it’s in lines, on public transportation, or in personal interactions. 

Surprisingly enough, this respect for personal boundaries isn’t as common in other cultures where close quarters are the norm.

Classic American Breakfast


The classic American breakfast—pancakes, bacon, eggs, and toast—is another thing many take for granted. It’s a hearty start to the day that’s both comforting and satisfying. 

Yet, this type of breakfast is a cultural staple that’s not universally available. In many places, breakfast is a much simpler affair. Appreciating the variety and richness of a classic American breakfast can bring a new level of gratitude to each morning meal.

Multiple Cars


Having multiple cars is a luxury many Americans might not fully appreciate. 

In many households, it’s common for each adult to have their own vehicle, providing a level of convenience and independence that’s rare in other parts of the world. Even owning one car can be a significant challenge elsewhere due to high costs and limited availability. 

Mexican Food


Mexican food is a vibrant part of American culture. Think about it—tacos, burritos, and guacamole are staples at many gatherings. The flavors are bold and the dishes diverse, offering something for everyone. 

Yet, it’s easy to take for granted how accessible and widespread Mexican cuisine has become in the U.S. Not every country can enjoy authentic street tacos as readily as Americans do. It’s a delicious privilege often overlooked!

Amazon Convenience

Illustration. Image credit: Hadrian via Shutterstock

The convenience of Amazon might not be fully appreciated until it’s gone. Need a book? A new phone charger? Some random household item? With a few clicks, it’s already on its way (often arriving the next day). 

This kind of convenience is rare globally. The ability to shop for virtually anything from the comfort of your home and have it delivered so quickly is a modern marvel that many take for granted.

Good Customer Service


Good customer service is an aspect of American life that’s often overlooked. Whether it’s a friendly cashier, a helpful call center agent, or a prompt email response, Americans have come to expect a certain level of service. 

In many other places, customer service is not as prioritized, making everyday interactions more challenging and frustrating. 

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Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.