Why This Pennsylvania Costco Has Parking For Horses

Cotsco Wholesale parking lot with cars
Cotsco Wholesale parking lot with cars - Felixmizioznikov/Getty Images

Imagine pulling into your local Costco parking lot and seeing parking spaces that are covered horse stalls, with a sign that reads "Horse and buggy parking only."  If you live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, this will come as no surprise — and is even expected — given this town's nickname is Dutch Country, home of the largest Amish population in the United States.

The Amish traditionally drive horses and buggies; as their religion dictates, they can't operate motor vehicles. It is also normal, however, for Amish people to shop in stores, specifically for items you can't get on a farm or in a local Amish store. So naturally, the stores near Amish communities have parking spaces that include covered stalls for the horses to rest in while their owners shop. If you're visiting Lancaster County, you may see some of your Amish neighbors parked in these designated spots, but note that this is not the time to ask them for their recipes or for them to answer what yum-yum salad is — you'll have to consult the ultimate foodie guide to exploring Amish country for that.

Read more: All The Benefits Of A Costco Membership

Parking And Shopping At Costco For The Amish

covered horse and buggy parking spots
covered horse and buggy parking spots - George Sheldon/Shutterstock

The Amish community typically consists of larger families with lower incomes, given that they make most of their money from farming and building. For many, buying items in bulk for lower prices is the best way to minimize spending, hence shopping at Costco. While there are stores owned and operated by Amish families, they are smaller and have limited stock, occasionally making chain stores a necessity.

Costco tries to be aware of its community, so it accommodates its Amish shoppers with buggy parking. The buggy spots are spaced out from the normal car spaces and include covered, barn-like stalls for the horses to wait at and be safely tied to. The stalls also come with a shovel and hose, presumably for cleaning up any manure that gets left behind — perhaps the only downside to these premium parking spots.

While buggy spots are generally accepted, some have issues with bringing your horse and buggy to a parking lot. One shopper on Reddit noted that the covered stalls are "closer to the front door than any of the handicapped parking," seemingly disagreeing with this change in parking priority. Others seemed more interested in the fact that members of the Amish community would shop at Costco in the first place and weren't as phased by the buggy spots.

Amish Inclusion In Lancaster And Beyond

Amish horse and buggy on the road
Amish horse and buggy on the road - Greg Kelton/Getty Images

In Lancaster County, Costco is not the only chain store with parking spots for horses and buggies. According to locals, there are buggy spots all over the county at retail stores such as Target and Lowes, local banks, and smaller grocery stores.

Pennsylvania, however, is not the only place with Amish communities. The state of Ohio has the second-largest Amish population in the country, and many stores have buggy-safe parking spaces. The Amish people of Ohio can shop at Walmart locations and other major retailers and park in their designated spots.

It is worth noting that the Amish horse and buggy is a traditional method of transportation, and not a tourist attraction. While it's possible to go on a buggy ride and ask about their Amish-style potato salad if you're visiting an Amish area, you should by no means bombard your neighbors while they do their shopping. Similarly, be respectful of the horses there to do their job, not be petted by strangers. Seeing an Amish buggy at your local Costco may be an unexpected delight, but they deserve the same respectful parking and shopping experience as those of us in our cars and trucks.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.