Monday, March 30, 2009

How to go Grocery Shopping in Germany in 25 Easy Steps

  1. Gather up all of your bottles that need to be returned. Yes, they still do that!
  2. Make sure you have a 1-Euro coin with you.
  3. Make sure you have your shopping bags with you. You are tired of paying for plastic grocery bags.
  4. Go to the supermarket.
  5. Put your bottles in the automatic bottle returner machine.
  6. Gather any bottles that the machine rejects. Put them back in the car.
  7. Take your 1-Euro coin to get a shopping cart. The carts are connected together and you put in a 1-Euro to free a cart.
  8. Take your bottle return receipt into the store with you.
  9. Go shopping.
  10. Marvel at why half of the "American Section" is Mexican food...but they don't have re-fried beans.
  11. Go to check out.
  12. Hopefully you have cash or your "EC" debit card with you.
  13. Watch the checkout person scan your items at record speed. You have to bag yourself.
  14. Feel proud if you can almost bag as fast as the checkout person.
  15. Ignore stares as you bag the few last items and get your money out.
  16. Put your food in the trunk of your car.
  17. Smack your head when you realize you forgot to turn in your bottle return receipt.
  18. Return your cart to the cart shack and get your Euro back.
  19. Put your Euro in a special place in your purse so you don't spend it.
  20. Stop by the recycling center to get rid of the wine bottle that the bottle return machine rejected.
  21. Look back and forth between the green bottle bin and the brown bottle bin when you realize you have a yellow bottle.
  22. Decide it's a green bottle and who cares because no one's watching.
  23. Go home.
  24. Unpack your groceries.
  25. Try to figure out how to fit the frozen items in the little tiny freezer.


Lynda said...

Sounds like an ordeal.......

bob said...

I know it’s a hassle, but you don’t have carts sailing through the parking lot and into you car. Get a collapsible bin to bring the grocery home and then make sure you put the bin back in your trunk.
Buy only cases of beer, soda or water, easier to return the whole case and avoid the automats.
Get some plastic shopping cart coins, they are given away everywhere with advertising.
I bring back re-fried beans from the states; you can find them here for about 2-3 Euros a can.

Don’t worry, with time you too can be a German shopper!

C N Heidelberg said...

Yes, you can only have 1-2 frozen items at once! (Less if you start letting too much ice build up in the derned thing...)

ablh210 said...

I'm sure in time you will be pro.
Can you post a picture of the freezer? My husband has a serious ice cream habit.

lytha said...

too funny! my grocery store angst (american angst, not german) is a big cause of homesickness. sometimes i just look up at the scummy stained ceiling tiles and think "what decade in america did we have such shabby grocery stores?" and the smell - i almost don't even cringe anymore at entering an aldi.

one thing you forgot to list. the dreaded "shopper herding system" where you are not allowed to backtrack or escape. you know? those little gates? you mentioned getting a shopping cart after using the bottle returner but here that would be impossible without squeezing by all the customers in line to get out of the store.

i mentioned to my husband how in america, the grocery stores have two or more entrances, and you are actually allowed to change your mind and leave the way you came if you don't want to buy something.

and there's way less cigarette smoke seeping out of the employee breakroom.

in the middle of the day, i am dodging the stockers and mop machines.

i miss selection most of all. chips that come in more than one flavor. but i have learned how to cook tortillas from scratch, and i make my own refried beans too: )


Ryan said...

That is exactly what's it like. I've been living in Germany for 8 years now, and going to the grocery store is still a little bit of an ordeal. However, I was so excited when my local grocery store in Germany actually had some cans of Root Beer last year! It made my year.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious because it's so true. I am actually making Mexican food tonight and of course I'll be making my own refried beans.

Food I miss the most. Good, fresh corn on the cob. They think they have corn here but I'd be hesitant to feed the corn here to my cow back home.

Anonymous said...

I've tried German corn on the cob. It was already cooked and vacuum sealed. And awful. Don't do it.
I've learned how to make a lot of things here that I could just buy in the US: tortillas, salsa, pie crust, funfetti cake, cake flour...
That list though. Truth. We don't have a car so we can't buy more than we can schlep by bike. Which is fine I suppose because the fridge in out apartment is a little bigger than dorm-sized. :D Ah well. I feel my quality of life here is better so I'll deal with the grocery store wackiness, lack of orderly lines, and sub-par peanut butter. said...

Awesome, detailed and accurated description. I´m in Germany since about 3 days and I think the grocery shopping it´s the top one of all the marvelous crap that mesmerized me.

Unknown said...

Best of luck! Where are you living in Germany?

amina saeed said...

ahhahahahhahahahha this is really funny! exactly how its done in germany

Varun Jain said...

HAhaha lol ..super funny ..aptly described!!