American stores and UK closets

I am certainly enjoying a little American shopping at familiar and well-loved stores. It is quite strange to see the “Boots” section in Target–I had not realized the English drugstore/chemist was considered such a trendy brand! I don’t actually buy enough within this (beauty cremes, etc.) genre to tell how the prices compared with my local UK Boots store. I also got to go grocery shopping at another US favorite, Whole Foods. I really miss this store–the produce is amazing. I really does just feel nice to wander around and see so much that is familiar.

BUT…

I had forgotten (already!) the funny feature of American stores compared with stores in the UK, and this is an appropriate comment for either Target or Whole Foods. The baseline sizes that things come in are just so much bigger in the US. I’m not suggesting I could live with US sizes in the UK; my refrigerator in England is the size of an American dormitory fridge and nowhere near the size of a normal US fridge-freezer. And of course my little UK dorm fridge essentially has no freezer. My British grocery store has a minimal frozen foods section to match. But more importantly, there is absolutely no storage space built into my UK apartment. There are no closets, there are hardly even cupboards in the kitchen. Everything sits out in plain site and thus I feel as though I am living in a cluttered mess. There is nowhere for me to store a large bottle of shampoo if I bought one, and a multi-pack of paper products that are not needed right this second would have to sit out on the counter along with everything else.

I sit writing this in the large, spacious kitchen in my friends’ house. There are wall to wall cupboards, a walk-in pantry, and closets everywhere. So we have a chicken- and- egg problem on our hands: did American closets evolve to fit the size of packaging in US stores, or did the opposite happen? Would we first expect to see change in UK closet space or on the shelves at Sainsbury’s if the UK were to follow a similar pattern?

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