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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Grocery Store Check-Out | German Problems

When asked recently what my least favorite thing about living in Germany is, I had to think long and hard about my answer. While there are things that I think are better in the U.S. (restaurant prices and customer service, for example), there is nothing that stuck out to me that I really disliked about Germany. That is, until I went shopping at the grocery store that evening.

Get your food on that conveyor belt faster! FASTER!!!
(Photo by Wonderlane)
In Germany, there is no such thing as a bagger. This job simply does not exist. So, when you get to the register, you have to either bag all of your groceries as the cashier scans them, or (as most people do) just throw them in your cart as quickly as possible.

For anyone that has shopped at Aldi in the U.S., you probably understand this phenomenon to some extent. However, no cashier in the world can compete with the speed and efficiency of a German cashier.

But it is not just the cashiers that are the problem. Germans are among the most impatient people in the world, and they go nuts when they have to wait in a line at the check-out. So, it is totally normal for the person behind you to bump you with their cart or tell you to move if you leave more than an arm's length of space between you and the person in front of you. They also get annoyed if you do not tightly pack all of your items on the conveyor belt like you are playing tetris. Oh, and heaven forbid you do not set out a divider.

Checking out at German grocery stores is an incredibly stressful activity.

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10 comments:

  1. What I've never understood is that so many Germans are quite happy to stand in line and count out each penny, but they have no patience for someone else who desires to do the same.

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  2. I've gotten a little better. Basically, I enter the process with my wallet open and set it down next to the register once scanning begins. I shove everything into my backpack and get the remainders while she gets change at lightening speed. It is serious madness though.

    One thing I hate is I ALWAYS forget to turn in my Pfand coupon so I have a ton.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds very similar to my method. I haven't been in the US for one year now, so I feel like I have forgotten about how simple and stress-free checking out can be...

      Oh, and then if you hand them the Pfand coupon after you've already payed, they get PISSED.

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  3. Ugh yeah I completely agree it is so difficult, oh and what's the need of starting to check out my items if the person in front of me is still putting theirs away!?!

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    1. You have brought up another great point. I hate when they just start piling my stuff on top of the person before me!

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  4. On the other hand, last time I was in the States at the grocery store, I found myself wanting to help the slothlike bagger who wanted to chat with me while failing to get her job done efficiently. OMG - just let me do it! Am I becoming too German??

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    1. Definitely sounds like the efficiency-loving German in you has overtaken the lazy, small-talk-loving American! ;)

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  5. This is so true! In the first month of living in Germany, I accumulated so many coins in my wallet because I never dared to count them in front of the cashiers, and only paid by paper notes. PS: love your blog! :)

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    1. Sometimes they still make me nervous to the point where I will pay for a 6 Euro purchase with a 20 Euro bill instead of taking the extra 10 seconds to grab a 5 Euro bill from the bill fold and a 1 Euro coin from my change pouch.

      P.S. Thanks!

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