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When you don’t want to supersize …

Who needs this much toilet paper?

My British friend Helen officially moved stateside last weekend to live the so-called American dream.

As it turns out, the first thing that she’s noticed has been the overabundance of super-sized American products and dearth of everyday items in sensible quantities. She doesn’t want to buy six or 12 eggs. She wants four. (Who knew that British grocers sold eggs in four-packs?) She doesn’t want nine rolls of loo roll (translation: toilet paper). She wants two. She doesn’t want 20 rolls of paper towels to store in a closet or pack away in a garage. She doesn’t care if it’s cheaper in bulk. She only wants what she needs. No more, no less.

I love the Britishness of this sensibility.

And I understand it. I often forget this way of thinking, living here for as long as we have. But I love the size of a Soreen loaf. I love single packs of tissues and fruit that is not bagged or bundled together. I love small packs of batteries and buying detergent that won’t give me a hernia when I carry it into the house. It’s the antithesis of everything that Costco and Sam’s Club stand for and there’s something refreshing about it.

Welcome to the U.S., Helen. Don’t ever change.

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Posted on 14, September 2011, in Culture, Food and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Tricia, it’s so true! Let me add to the list:

    Tropicana – 1 ltr is fine, the giant pints cartons are just silly

    Where oh where is the “marks & spencer” meals for one, that are stored in the fridge section? Everything is frozen. I don’t want frozen, I want fresh, refrigerated food. Preferably that keeps you “fuller for longer”

    Half loaves of bread are also non-existent. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but every now and then toast is the only answer. I already keep my bread in the fridge to keep it longer. Half a loaf is just right.

    Having said all of this, I do love the giant sized tubs of ice cream, bags of crisps and cookies. Now that’s sensible.

  2. Helen, love your insight!! Half loaves of bread?! Refrigerated “Meals for One”? Genius concepts! I don’t know if it would fly here where “bigger is better,” but I like it!

  3. Wherever did you live, Helen? I’ve never ever seen half loaves of bread on sale in England or Wales!
    Trish – don’t you have farmers markets there? It must be possible to buy smaller amounts of things, particularly foods, providing one doesn’t go to the supermarket?

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