Costco in England, an American confession

yahooavatar15Don’t think I am not embarrassed about this lil’ post. I am. I take pride in my anti-consumerism, bulk buying stance. “No need to hoard” has always been a motto of mine. Well, if your fridge was the size of a shoe box you would need that motto too. But I know secretly I am as materialistic as anyone other average joe, which is why I need to tell you something:

I love going to Costco in Leeds. I look forward to pushing my oversize cart (wait, I mean trolley) through the  wide aisles stacked to the ceiling with American products. And bulk-sized American products, in the UK at that!! Get your Krusteaz pancake mix, your family size 560 count Oreos, your 4 gallons of Grade A maple syrup. It is all there waiting for you! Craving some donuts? Well you better be off Weight Watchers because darlin’, you’ll have to buy 24! My imported Oprah magazine is 20% off, I can buy a ready-made pizza the size of my coffee table, and you can sample Gatorade to your mouth’s desire. But guess what? The ironic thing is when I am there I don’t feel the need to buy any of it  (except the donuts -ha!). Somehow, when I know where I can get a taste of America my desire for Root beer disappears. Ironic.

Now, there are all kinds of ways to beat homesickness, but may I suggest a trip to your local Costco? You would be surprised about how comforting it feels…

An American girl in England survives the Credit Crunch by going back to Topshop

avt_kapyork_large115Ladies – Topshop is a must for any American woman visiting the UK.  Great clothes beyond just the classics for pretty good prices (especially with the exchange rate making the pound a little cheaper these days).  But after you live here for a while Topshop (and similar shops H&M, Next, River Island, & Primark) start to give way to calmer and more grown-up shopping experiences.  This calm will cost you though!  I have returned to the chaotic shopping to try to save a few pennies.

So I thought during this credit crunch, you ladies might like a little advice for surviving the madness of these high street favorites

Rule 1: Divide and conquer.  It sucks to shop without a friend, but trust me… if you try to shop together you will lose your friend, start panicking and you will be more likely to pick up the first hideous dress you find.  Split up and pick a time to meet so you can browse comfortably.

Rule 2: Dress for shopping.  I don’t mean impressing the shop assistants with your exquisite sense of fashion.  I’m talking PRACTICAL dressing.  A few light layers that you can easily remove and stuff in your bag are a must.  These high street shops are jam packed with sweaty people all hoping to find a bargain before anyone else grabs it and it is boiling hot in these places.  Also, keep accessories to a minimum.  Your oversized jewel-toned faux ring is sure to catch on every mohair-inspired acrylic sweater.

Rule 3: Bring a flashlight.  These dressing rooms are dark and there will be no switching to another room if the one you are assigned doesn’t have any lighting as they are all full.  Yes, I said assigned – you must wait in line then have the shop assistant count your items before they let you in the unlit body odor trap.  If you can’t bring a flashlight, wear cute underwear so at least you can open the curtain a little to at least see what you are trying on next.

Rule 4: Leave you credit card at home.  Once you enter Topshop you it might be hours before you leave again.  It is dangerous.

Rule 5: Spot the acid washed jeans section.  This is the area you can go for a little peace and quiet to compare the purple trench with the teal peacoat.  The acid washed jeans section is pretty much empty of shoppers – this is your haven.

That’s it – Happy budget shopping!

Supermarket Supremacy- getting to know the class system of where you shop

yahooavatar15In England I’ve learned even your supermarket choice dictates what your social status is. When I first moved to this country, of course I didn’t know that, well–who would?

I would happily walk along to my nearest supermarket and never did I give it a second thought. I would think with enthusiasm… “oh look, ASDA and Wal-Mart are from the same family, isn’t that just a sweet taste of HOME?!”

But I am not that naive anymore– what I have learned ladies, is that where you shop dictates your class ranking in the UK.

No one actually tells you these things, as an American arriving to this rainy island in the north sea.

Oh No! You have to work these things out for yourself.

I am thinking it goes in this ranking:










Mark’s and Spencer’s

Mr. Chill and I decided to go to Aldi today to see if all the hype was correct. You know –“Spend a little, save a lot!”.

I had never shopped there before, have you? But hey being thrifty is now the cool thing to do according to my Grazia magazine.

I did find a cushioned chair wedge for my harp playing…but we had to leave when Mr. Chill decided to buy hotdogs in a can. I wasn’t THAT impressed.

Hmmm….guess its back to Tesco’s for middle class me.