As the ones amongst you who have read my earlier posts must have realised by now, I love my life in my adoptive country, I feel totally comfortable here and I do not miss my native land one bit. However I did have to adjust to a new system and different habits at the beginning, but the biggest cultural shock took me completely by surprise as it was… food shopping!
Now in Switzerland you go to ONE grocery store. Usually Migros as it is the most famous of the Swiss supermarkets, beloved by many, for a reason which still baffles me today, or Coop, incredibly popular as well and which used to be my personal favourite. Why? Because it gives you the possibility to scan your items yourself, therefore relieving you of having to put everything out of your trolley and back in it again at the till. Fantastic gain in time that can then be redeemed into something a lot more enjoyable, just marvellous! Of course you can also when you have time or fancy it go to lovely, specialized boutiques to buy homemade delicacies or to a farm to get these incredibly fresh vegetables which have just been pulled out of the ground, but all in all your weekly shop is usually not too painful.
Well, in Germany you visit one, two, three, even FOUR different places! I have not done a serious and official survey on that subject, but the favourite has to be Aldi as you have to queue to pay every single time, no matter what time you do your shopping and I sometime think that they need traffic lights in there! It sells the “basics” although many times I wanted to go to just that one supermarket with my short and uncomplicated list, and without fail it would have run out of one or two vital ingredients I needed. Which then forces you to go to:
- Lidl: a wider offering but still falling into the “do not look for anything exotic” category in my opinion.
- Rewe: now we are talking, with a selection almost as good as a Swiss supermarket but of course quite a bit more expensive.
- Another less well-known or less popular discounter
As I am currently at home writing and spending time with my kids, having to drive around until the mission is complete is not a problem. However in my previous life, which consisted of working four days a week with mad hours, this would have been a total nightmare…
And no, I am not the only one who was astounded by this! The first times I took my girls shopping with me, Second Daughter looked and looked around until finally shecame up to me and whispered in my ear: “Mummy, don’t they have supermarkets with EVERYTHING in Germany?”. I rest my case!