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Bye-bye M&S, Hello Whole Foods: U.S. Shop Substitutes for British Expats
Many of your favorite British stores also have branches in the U.S. But you’ll need to find replacements for those that haven’t yet hopped across the pond. To help you out, here are our top shop alternatives.
Marks and Spencer
For high-end edibles – with price tags to match – try Whole Foods. And if you’re in New York, there’s also Union Market. They sell everything from artisanal cheese to vegetables you’ve never heard of. Alas, the M&S staple you might struggle to find here – or in any U.S. supermarket – is tasty, affordable ready meals.
The nearest equal to the stalwart British department store is probably Sears. But for John Lewis style furniture and knickknacks, you’ll have better luck in Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel.
A lot of American supermarkets can feel a bit scrappy – and rarely do you get that delicious piped bakery smell. Trader Joe’s doesn’t smell of cake either, but it does stock own brand, reasonably priced groceries that remind me of Waitrose’s Essentials range.
For sharp, modern furniture and imaginative accessories, head to CB2 – Crate and Barrel’s funkier sister store.
No U.S. department store measures up to this British grande dame, which is curious considering that Mr. Selfridge was an American. Over here, Saks, Barneys and Bloomingdale’s are passable alternatives.
If you need power tools or paint, head to Lowe’s or Home Depot. I recently purchased a plunger from a Lowe’s employee, who insisted on demonstrating on an invisible toilet before he’d make the sale. My point being, American DIY store staff are significantly more helpful than the ones we have back home.
For small electrical goods and long conversations with over-informed staff, head to Radio Shack.
You’ll be hard pressed to locate a deliciously diabolical sausage roll, cream horn or bacon bap in the States. But Dunkin’ Donuts has a similar vibe and will serve you up something just as likely to clog your arteries.
You’ve probably figured out already that T.J. Maxx is what they call it here. Can you see what they did there, with the “K” and the “J”? Of course you can. I’ll shut up now.
Anyone who still likes reading words printed on paper should check out Barnes & Noble – America’s biggest book chain. Stores usually have an internal Starbucks.
For infant attire, toys and gadgets that promise to make tiny children go to sleep, American parents like Babies “R” Us and Target.
A good range of computers and other consumer electronics can be found in what is possibly the most ambiguously named shop on the planet: Best Buy.
What other American replacements have you found for your shops back home?