I did a presentation in Paris this week around the state of the business and threw in a slide on a few unique things that make me chuckle about the UK. They are as follows:

  • They deliver the mail on Saturday but the post office closes at 11 each day.
  • All the magnificent museums in London are free but it costs £10 if you drive there.
  • You can get your car washed in the supermarket parking lot but the 16 year old at the supermarket check-out sits on a chair and refuses to help you pack your groceries.
  • The pharmacist is very helpful but if you want to get Ibuprophen you have to get it from the ‘trained’ 16 year old who keeps it in a protected cabinet behind a desk.
  • In North America grocery carts 9 times out of 10 drive straight. In the UK they call it a grocery trolley and they are manufactured to run sideways. There is nothing funnier than watching a parking lot full of people driving loaded carts sideways.
  • No one knows what a Q-TIP is, it is a cotton bud.
  • It is a resource constrained island where everything is ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘save the planet’ but if I want to recycle an empty food can, paper that is not a magazine or cardboard, I have to drive it to the car park down the street and manually place it in different bins.
  • You can get your groceries at most gas stations (They are all partnered with some supermarket chain) but I have never seen a station that will actually pump the gas for you.

On the purely observational side:

  • The distinct lack of fast foods is fantastic. In North America you hit a fast food restaurant every couple kilometers. In the UK, pubs and restaurants are everywhere but fast food is not prevalent. Interesting that even with the lack of fast food the UK still ranks number 3 in obesity. It is the fish & chips and the ‘gravy on everything’ mentality  I would wager.
  • One of the best things in the UK is Ocado – the internet grocer. Head online, pick your groceries, a delivery time and you are done! Delivered. Amazing low value task eliminated.
  • We have a milk man. He comes at 6AM 3 times a week and he delivers eggs and other products also. How retro cool is that?
  • Most shops close at 6. A few Saturday nights ago we went out for a quick dinner and thought to do what we have done in Canada many times before, perhaps pop over to the shopping area and get a few things out of the way (needed a few groceries) then into the coffee shop for a cappuccino before we head back. Not a chance. The 9 to 9 mentality is definitely not alive and well here.

The adventure continues.

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