Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shopping, European Style

After reading this blog post I got inspired to write about my new shopping experiences.

1. I always feel like I should be ashamed of my shopping habits. About 95% of the people shopping here use a nice small basket. Apparently, it's much more convenient to go every day and buy only a few things, than buy a lot at once (which of course explains the tiny in built fridges that cannot handle 2 pots, let alone a 3-day yom tov).

2. After getting over the embarrassment of taking the big shopping cart, you realize it's actually not really a bit shopping cart, but about half the size of the one I'm used to in Israel. Which of course causes an even bigger feeling of embarrassment when your cart ends up overflowing.

3. The fruits and vegetables are insanely expensive, except for the few weeks they're in season.

4. I have to shop at at least 3 different stores (but often more than that), just to get what I need. The kosher list isn't that big and unfortunately the supermarkets don't sell the same products. So to get all I want, I have to go to at least 2 different ones, plus the meat, plus the kosher products store. And if I wanted to save a little money I'd have to go to yet another supermarket where their drinks and snack food are a little cheaper.

5. Just getting to the supermarket is a little overwhelming. There are about 10 parking spaces available right next to my local supermarket. Plus the parking meter only takes a 50 cent coin and nothing else, as do most other parking meters. Do they really expect everyone to have an endless supply of all these coins?

6. Do not go shopping before a Christean holiday. People here freak out if the supermarket is going to be closed for even just a day (see point 1.). The two days before this happens, the supermarket is packed, all day long, with people trying to buy enough food to make it through this catastrophe.

7. For some reason, the store I go to only writes the price on the product itself. Which means, if you want to see how much it costs, or want to compare, you have to pick up each and every product. Although, to give them some credit, by the end of 2010 they have realized this isn't the most practical and are starting to put up prices in the store.

8. A good point is that they deliver. You can order online, which is really nice and convenient. You do have to order at least a kilo of the fruits and veggies and of course pay nicely for shipping. Though, to be fair, it's kinda nice that they provide a coolbox for your fridge products, even if it does cost extra.

9. So now you made it to the cash register. You feel really pressured. There are lots of people in line with only a few products in their basket. If this had been Israel, I would have let them go in front of me. But here if I'd do that, I'd never get a turn. There isn't much space, so you have to pack really fast. There's always a lot going on (cranky baby, which is of course not an option in the overly polite country where such noises are an intruding on people's privacy) and I end up feeling totally overwhelmed.

10. Trash bags are a novelty here. You have to use special ones given out by the municipality. First off, they're very expensive (there's a whole technique to throwing out your trash, but this is definitely for another post). But besides this, you can only get them at the cash register. Now, after reading nr 9, you can imagine how often I haven't come home with them. I guess if you go on daily trips for only a few items then it's not hard to remember this one.

I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of any right now.

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