Friday, September 25, 2009

Shopping - German style

The joys of internet radio - I can listen to Radio 1 while I blog in Germany (I do listen to German radio in the car (can't get anything else easily!) but I like to listen to music that's popular in the UK - afterall so much good music and so many great bands have come out of the UK and achieved international success!)
So shopping, German style, and here I mean food & supplies shopping, not the fun shopping that is for stuff you don't really need but suddenly have to have.
Germans seem to think that food shopping has to be a daily occurence and so all the supermarket trolleys, apart from 1 particular supermarket, reflect this -they're tiny, there's no way you can get a weeks worth of food for a family of 4 into one of these trolleys! And if you do try your damnedest and pile it high eventually you come to the checkout and the surley checkout woman.
Because you're not expected to buy a week's worth of food in one day the conveyors at the checkout are short, and the checkout Frau is usually mean - as fast as you fling food onto the belt she whips it through the scanner and hurls it down the other side to pile up amongst the advertising fliers, so you're under pressure to get your shopping onto the belt quickly in order that you can reload it into your trolley post scanning - no bag packing here. Not only would the staff not dream of helping you pack or even waiting for you to unload before scanning (I've tried asking them to slow up but they react as though I've grown another head and spoken Martian) but you have to pay for each and everyone of the bags you want (which is fine & ecologically sound) and most people just pile everything into their trolleys and reload into bags in the car's one of the things that drives me scatty about the whole German food shopping experience, the repetitive nature, into trolley, out of trolley onto the belt, off the belt into trolley, out of trolley into bags, out of bags & into cupboards - there has to be a more time efficient way - surely the Germans being recognised as one of the most efficient nations will resolve this problem of mine soon?

I think it must only be the Ausländer who try to do a weeks shop in one go, sometimes it makes me smile (on the inside of course, wouldn't dare to smile publically, they'd lock me up for being cheerful) watching the face of first the checkout Frau and then of the people who join my queue with their baskets of 10 or so items as they realise they're going to have to wait for me, unloading and reloading...Germans simply don't want to buck the trend, and if they get all the food for the week in one hit what are they going to do the day after and the day after?

Germans also like to go to one shop for part of their list and another for other items and then maybe Aldi for juice & water and so...I can understand maybe going to the butchers for fresh meat and the market for veg & fruit & the bakers for bread but a separate shop for juice and another for loo roll? GET A LIFE! Jeez!

One last thing that irritates the hell out of me on the subject of supermarkets - paying. The number of times I've stood behind an older German who is counting out 15.75 in 10 & 20 cent pieces (although this does usually give me time to offload my huge trolley load of food onto the conveyor) and then they walk away checking their receipt only to come back in order to complain that they've been overcharged by 5c because the cabbage is on special offer...

Supermarket shopping in the UK is a pleasant experience, here it's just an experience that I try to get through quickly, on occasional trip back to England I go into the huge supermarkets (to stop up on things that don't make it here - Minstrels, cheese biscuits, English Mustard, salt & vinegar crsips to name but a few) that are there (German supermarkets are more market than super) and although it's a polished experience it's also quite daunting after 2+ years of the small & shabby shops here that I've got used to!

No comments: