Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Poundland Comes To Madrid

This post is only peripherally to do with cooking. Except it isn't. As a Brit living in Madrid, yes, I love all the Spaniards and some of their cuisine dearly. But you never forget the things you enjoyed at home (even if it was something the rest of the world hates, which is almost the definition of 'regional speciality'). Everybody from everywhere will ALWAYS be on the lookout for stuff from their homeland.

Until about 2 years ago, we were fortunate in Madrid to have 3 or 4 shops that specialised in Brit stuff. It was pricey, obviously, because the shop owners could only buy in small quantities and had to add on the cost of shipping. I don't know why, exactly, but all of these shops decided to throw in the towel within about three months of each other.

That's the back-story. I haven't been suffering too much because I have a mate who visits the UK at least once a month and can bring back things I need (mostly Oxo cubes and marrowfat peas) in exchange for a pork pie.

I can't say I've ever been in a Poundland store in England, but the concept is they sell well-known brands of household stuff and food in cans and jars, and everything is priced at one pound. I had a perception that there was something a bit grubby about these kinds of stores - it seems all UK High Streets are populated these days by pound shops and charity shops.

But they must be doing well. Poundland has begun expanding into Spain, under the name 'Dealz'. They already have stores in Alicante and Torremolinos. Last week Dealz opened a store not too far from where I live - Calle Bravo Murillo 192, near Estrecho Metro. This afternoon I went to check it out and was very pleasantly surprised. More or less everything is priced at €1.50. What caught my interest wasn't so much the food items (I can get Heinz Baked Beans, HP Sauce and the like for less from other sources). No, what thrilled me was the kitchen equipment section. I've been trying to get tins for baking mince pies in for years. I did manage to find some on my last UK trip, but at £12 a pop thought they were somewhat overpriced. Similarly, cooling racks for baked thingies. And silicon cooking mats. And kitchen scissors. Honestly, I could have spent €100 in Dealz (and probably will in the weeks to come).

We already have hundreds of bazaars ('Chinos') in Madrid selling any amount of cheap tat. But the problem is it's identical to the tat that all the others are selling. Dealz is refreshing because what they're selling is completely different from what the Chinos have to offer. I think it will do very well indeed.

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