Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Checkout Line

Bagging your groceries at a German supermarket has to be one of the most stressful things about living over here. It is INTENSE. Actually the entire shopping experience is something you have to plan for. Back home, we would just roll up to Fred Meyers or whatever, not worrying about needing money for a grocery cart, or having bags with you. Money for a grocery cart? You heard it right. You have to have a 1 euro coin to release a cart from the other carts....

its a cool idea--people don't steal the carts, but damn, it's tough to always have a 1 euro coin. There is a black market for little plastic pieces that are the same size as a 1 euro coin, so luckily I have procured one of these (dont you dare ask me where I got it), so I don't have to worry about it anymore. But Jenna does. She ends up having to grab a handbasket if she doesnt have a coin with her. 

Shopping is fun--the cheese, yoghurt, and meat areas are huge compared to home. The drink aisles have to be seen. You have never, ever seen so many different varieties of water--mineral water, still water, mineral water with bubbles, fruit water, I dont even know. Its insane. We have been drinking the tap water so I walk right by to the beer aisles, which are just as impressive.

Onto the checkout. Its a 2 person job. If you are by yourself, you are for sure going to piss someone off because you are taking too long. The first thing is that there is usually only 1 or 2 lines open. Did you bring bags?? Don't worry--you can buy a few bags (pastic ones are 9 cents each, cloth and paper more). We have a collection of cloth bags now. The unloading areas for the groceries is much smaller than home--so small that sometimes a whole grocery shop doesnt fit on the thing...you have to wait tell they scan some things for the conveyor to move a bit. The cashier has no regard for your speed of bagging--you have to bag at the speed of their scanning or the items will get all backed up at the end. Sometimes when I am alone, I just throw everything back into the cart so that I dont get behind. I hate that because I feel like I am handling the items more than I need to. Gotta be efficient here! If you get backed up, it doesnt matter--you have to pay your bill when they are done scanning, else you will get stares and uncomfortable silences from the cashier.  And then the worst part--they will start scanning the next person even if you arent done!! Oh man, thats stressful. Its a rush job. And I was not built to be a bagboy--lettuce and eggs on the bottom, right? Whatever, as long as I get out of the store.

As crazy as it is, we are getting better at it, and I know I will use cloth bags more at home when we return. I will probobly give the bagboy tips, too---- HURRY UP, MAN!

4 comments:

cliff1976 said...

Dude, 5 years of living here in Germany and Every. Single. Time. it's stressy. Moreso when Sarah and I are both at the store (I guess I could care less whether the Tante behind me in line has to wait longer when I'm alone.)

JWW said...

Ha, not just In Germany, we shop at Aldi every Saturday here in Wisconsin. Same thing exactly, except here you are expected to go to these little tables and bag your own groceries, makes it less stressful. Aldi is a ton cheaper than the other stores around here, we're hooked on it.

DarrenDriven said...

More pics of the grocery store!

Tim said...

Yeah, I prefer cloth bags. They hold a LOT more, are much more sturdy, and are better for the planet.