My first (and so far only) solo trip to the grocery store in Germany

Grocery shopping isn’t a difficult task. You go in, buy what you need, and then leave; however, it becomes a tad more terrifying in a foreign country (for me, at least). I spent a fair bit of time alone with Oma and Opa last summer. Neither speak English, and I, of course, speak basically no German so it’s always a fun yet nerve-racking experience filled with learning, pantomiming (on my part), and confused looks all around. Oma reminds me of my Nanny. She’s such a sweet woman, and she’s always in the kitchen, it seems. She has done nothing but dote on me since the day she met me. She can’t get around as well as she used to so quick trips to Kupsch around the corner are left for someone else. When we ran out of water and OJ that someone was me. Great.

Oma believes in the trial by fire technique: she speaks to me in German (obviously), is slowly trying to convince everyone else to only speak to me in German [Oma, please no, I need clarification sometimes. Don’t take my security blanket away just yet.], and she sends me off on errands now, apparently.

All I needed to get from Kupsch was water and orange juice. That’s it. It was a simple task. How could I screw it up? It’s me so obviously I did. I made it to the store fine. (If I didn’t then we would have some problems, because it is literally around the corner from where they live.) I found the water Herrball drinks, and then I found the juice and nectar aisle–not hard, there are like eight aisle in the place. I took a little longer finding orange juice mainly because I was looking for a specific brand. Turns out that brand is only at Lidl. Learn something new every day. I grabbed a box of orange juice, NOT nectar, and made my way to the check out. (Herrball accused me of grabbing nectar. I can tell the difference between saft and nektar, thank you very much. I’m not that German illiterate.) So far so good. My issue came when it was my turn to pay. German check-out lines move fast, far too fast for my slow American self. I managed to drop all the change Oma gave me, couldn’t get the drinks in the bag I’d brought, and was talking entirely too long to get out of the way. I could feel the stares of everyone in that tiny, tiny grocery store burning holes through me. How dare I hold up the line for 30 extra seconds?! The man behind me was nice enough to pick up my change while I struggled, and I mean really struggled, to put two things into a bag. Needless to say I pretty much ran out of the store. So that’s how I “screwed-up” my first solo grocery shopping trip in Germany–with a hail of falling coins and disapproving glares.

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11 thoughts on “My first (and so far only) solo trip to the grocery store in Germany

  1. Oh my gosh! Too funny, but I applaud you for your bravery! I wish so badly for Germany to be our next duty station. Especially after seeing your pictures and reading your posts!

    • I hope y’all get stationed in Germany, too! It would be really nice being able to visit a friend in a place where I won’t really know many.

      I have to admit that I am a touch overdramatic. It wasn’t that scary of a trip, although I was definitely embarrassed by the end of it. Their lines move so much faster than ours and it trips you up a bit. I kept repeating to myself in the line “You have to go fast. Don’t hold up the line.” Clumsy me did just the opposite, go figure.

  2. Ha ha! Oh, I think everyone goes through the same thing when they first move here! My first time, I was trying to pack stuff, she’d already finished beeping stuff through and was waiting, then they didn’t accept my foreign card so I had to give something back – I ran out of the place too 🙂 It gets easier though!

    • Well that is good news, because if I continued to embarrass myself I would refuse to shop for groceries all together. I’d have them delivered through amazon or something.

      • Ha, some supermarkets are starting to offer an online shopping service 🙂 You’ll still have to deal with the delivery man though 🙂

  3. Story of my life moving here to live. Have to say you must be in a different part of Germany to myself- the shopping lines are long and slow and i have to add that they only open like 3 our of 6 registers. Drives me nuts. Good luck here! I enjoy shopping here- think of it as a challenge!

    • Sadly, I’m not living in Germany yet. My Fiancé’s family is from Bavaria. Every line I’ve seen has moved at lightening speed which is something I’m not exactly used to. Where I’m currently living the lines barely move and there are hardly any registers open.

  4. After 8 years in Germany, I still panic when the supermarket lady starts throwing my shopping at me! Germans are just better at speed packing. I’m convinced it’s in their genes. *Sigh*

    • I’m choosing to believe that it’s a learned trait, because I want to convince myself that one day I’ll be able to pay and pack up my groceries quickly. Realistically, though, I move way too slow.

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