Last week, Andrew and I joined our friends on their monthly visit to the local Costco here in Edinburgh. As trivial as it sounds, it felt so nice to drive into a parking lot, walk into a big warehouse, and push around a huge shopping cart as we perused the aisles. It was a little taste of home…err suburbia?
It felt like I never even left the States. First of all, we drove (in a car) to Costco. After 6 months of mostly walking and bussing, a car ride anywhere is a gift. Tired legs in the wind, the cold, and the rain results in a miserable Chelsea. Just ask my husband! Our wonderful friends, Clement and Tracy, have a car, or a “people-mover” as they call it here (also known as a mini-van) and they graciously offered to drive us to Costco. Secondly, the Costco in Edinburgh is located in Straiton, the home of Ikea, ASDA (UK version of Walmart), and a strip mall with a parking lot. Driving around the area made me feel like I was back in the suburbs. Thirdly, it even smells the same. That concrete warehouse scent was strangely familiar. Lastly, they have a lot of the same products that I am used to. I was able to purchase 3 essential items for my pantry: Yoshida Sauce, Avocado Oil, and Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Kit (I highly recommend adding avocado and a hard-boiled egg to this for a bomb salad). Needless to say, I was happy.
Alright, time for the differences! Granted, it was in the middle of the week, I was surprised how empty Costco was since the Costcos in the US are usually busy after people get off from work. We went around 6pm and there were tons of parking spaces available. We parked super close. Another difference is that you enter the warehouse on the left side, not the right. Hehe, silly Brits. I also learned that “tire” is spelled “tyre” here.
As for differences in items and shopping experience, Andrew picked a small bucket of sweet pickled herring to try. It was good. Next, the alcoholic selection is much larger than the alcoholic selection in the States (at least in my opinion). I felt like there were rows and rows of beer and wine. When we went to pay, there was no line. WHAT?!? No line at Costco? This is amazing.
Lastly and most importantly, there were different options at the Food Court. They serve Jacket Potatoes that you can add toppings to such as baked beans, beef chili, tuna, or coleslaw. The potatoes are only £1.50 and you can choose two toppings. Plus, it’s huge! All that for only £1.50? Too bad I don’t really like potatoes. They also serve Chicken Fajita Wraps, which aren’t Scottish or European at all, but I guess they must be popular. They still serve the hot dog (no Polish dog though) and pizzas. Andrew got the Aberdeen Angus Cottage Pie (a minced meat pie with a mashed potato crust) and I got the Chicken Bake. Our friend Clement and Andrew claim that the chicken bake is better in Scotland than in America. I can’t tell the difference, but Andrew believes the chicken is more tender and more finely chopped than the big chunks of white meat in American Costcos. Um, cool story bro… Our meal for the both of us came out to £5.70 (chicken bake – £2.95; cottage pie – £2.75) which is probably one of the cheapest meals we’ve had out here, and we even splurged on the more expensive items!
It’s hard to justify shopping here because I know we’ll spend a lot (even though we’re buying in bulk), we’re only shopping for two, and we don’t have a freezer. But it’s okay. I still love you, Costco. I can’t wait to see those beautiful concrete floors and metal shelvings again!