Grocery Games

Many moons ago, I told you about getting groceries here in Germany.  But, I haven’t shown you yet.  So, let’s go shopping!

Today’s trip is to Aldi.  I can’t get everything & the kitchen sink there (though I bet at some point during the year Aldi sells kitchen sinks), but almost any product Aldi carries is usually cheaper than other stores.

It’s a good day.  I have found myself the fortunate recipient of an hour to shop sans kiddos.  I have the best husband.  Ever.

I normally walk to Aldi because it’s only about 5-7 mins away and taking the bike can be a hassle with the kids for such a short trip.  Today, I’m toning the glutes and cycling.  Okay, it’s faster to bike and if I’m not hauling almost 70lbs of boys and metal, it’s better to ride.

When riding your bike in Germany, you should sport some serious fashion by rolling your sock over your pant leg hem. Or you can purchase an '80's style neon slap bracelet and put that around the hem. Sooo hot!

Free shopping carts are sooooo USA.  Very few places here have complimentary buggies but baskets or even shopping bags (for use in store only) can be found gratis at some stores.

Pay per shop.

When you enter a grocery store in Germany, you will usually find a pfand station.  It’s basically forced recycling.  If you buy a bottle of coke or water or whatever, you might pay 1 euro for it.  But when you take it up to the register to pay, it will ring up something like 1,25 euro.  The extra ,25 is the pfand, or deposit.  You get this back when you return your bottle to the store.

Insert bottle, press button, receive voucher to get your pfand back. Unless, of course, you forget to give said voucher to the cashier. Sigh.

This is a real pain in the neck for people who just cannot remember to take their bottles with them on their weekly shopping trip.  Yep, that’d be me.  I remembered today though, just for you.

While we're on the subject of bottles, Germans like this thing called cola-mix. It's Coke and orange soda mixed together. Yep, it's as weird as it sounds.

I’m sure I’ve whined many a time about how sales are just not really the thing here.  But, I’ve stumbled upon a whopper today: ten cents off pasta.  Whoop-de-doo.

Though this isn't a great sale, I did buy a bag. In Germany, if you can settle for penne, fusilli, or spaghetti, you only pay 35 cents per 500g bag. Any other shape/size/style of pasta will double, triple, quadruple, etc the price.

More impressive, today Aldi has tortilla chips!!  If you’ve ever shopped at Aldi, you know that in addition to their regular cheap stuff, Aldi has weekly features.  I’ve seen French food, Swiss food, Italian food, holiday food, etc.

Let's hope these taste good - or I might regret buying six bags.

Usually they sell things that go together though.. you know, like chips AND salsa.  Nope.  Just chips today.  Oh well, I will buy six bags anyway because the next time I’m at Aldi, these puppies will be gone.

Yes, you can even buy a bed or a TV from Aldi. Weekly special!

One thing that has always grossed me out and still continues to do so is that eggs are sold at room temperature here.  You can find them next to the shelf-stable milk and the canned goods.  Over time, I’ve gotten used to it and haven’t had any salmonella scares probably because I cook the junk out of them.  And, every time I buy eggs, I remember that in Russia they are sold in a dinky, thin plastic bag, also at room temperature.  I then I swallow my American-ness and put the carton in the basket.

Warm eggs. Gross.

The check-out process is ridiculously stressful here.  Speed is the key.  You should pile everything on the conveyor belt as fast as possible to allow others to do the same.  When it’s your turn, you put your cart on the other side of the sales clerk who rings up your items and throws them at you.  You then try to make sure nothing falls on the floor and shove everything back in your basket before it piles up and you receive the evil, um-you-are-too-slow-and-holding-up-our-efficient-German-checkout-system look.  There are no bag boys here, cute or otherwise.

My unusually big haul today - one hiking backpack and two reusable bags full o' groceries.

You must then figure out how in the WORLD you are going to get all this stuff home.  And, once you get it home, you have a long walk to the elevator or six flights of stairs.  Here’s a tip: call that handsome man who’s watching your kids to come down and carry the goods for you.

Happy Monday – and Happy MLK Day to you Americans!

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7 thoughts on “Grocery Games

  1. So some random information for you that I learned living on the farm in Alabama, eggs are perfectly fine at room temperature for 3 weeks. If you want to store them longer you wash them and then dip them in this solution to “close” the spores so you again dont have to refrigerate. We americans take the short cut and use electricity so…. remember we are the ones who had the salomenelle problems not the europeans! I mean this could all be b.s. but thought I would share!

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