I was given a trip back to Utah for my birthday from my sweet husband, and have enjoyed seeing friends and family very much the last few days. I have also enjoyed the stark comparison to England. Among the many things to comment on--the arid landscape, the mountains, the lack of black leggings, the talking with strangers about everything but the weather, cheaper clothes, food, petro (everything!), the billboards, the 10+ lane, non-roundabout expressways--Walmart has stood out the most.
I remember Walmart here being full of a wide selection of products and people (few places in Utah Valley surpass Walmart for people watching), but was absolutely staggered by the range of products. It did not disappoint this trip.
Shopping in England has been an adjustment. I have learned to enjoy finding and then shopping at specialty shops for each of my various needs - one visit to a certain store or market for bread, another for books, another for stationary, another for a bike lock. Naturally, the selection is smaller at each of the shops, and I must search pretty hard for unique items, such as sugar-free ketchup or black beans or the hardest thing to find in London, tomatillos (thank you Burrough Market!). Although at times frustrating (there can be no 1-hour trips wherein all the errands get done, and often the one item you are looking for is out of stock), there is a great charm to the method of shopping in England.
But there is something to be said for the convenience of what are called "big box" stores here in the States. One can do anything from change a tire to eat a banana, get a prescription filled to purchasing luggage at Walmart. And the ketchup (or catsup for those British readers)! My cousin mentioned that her first time back at Walmart after living in Germany, it took her 20 minutes to select her ketchup. The variety and quantity is truly staggering!