Whenever I move to a new place, I'm always curious about grocery shopping. Grocery shopping here is fairly similar to the US, though we do have to bring our own bags and bag our own food. That's fine with me, it cuts down on waste and I'm used to doing it that way after living in Germany and Belarus. Today it was gorgeous out, so I decided to walk to the store (about 30 minutes each way), and even remembered to bring the camera, see below. While I was walking I started to ponder how different grocery shopping is in different places. As mentioned above, in Germany it was necessary to bring your own bags and bag your own food. The bagging your own food thing takes a while to get used to. It's easy if you only have a few items, but for the larger trips I'm sure I looked like a second-rate, circus act as I flung the groceries into the bags, while trying to get the correct change for the cashier, and looking sheepishly at the customers in line behind me. Speaking of change, that's another quirk of shopping in Berlin. They like exact change and if you happen to start counting change in your hand, it's not unusual for the cashier to reach over and just take what she needs. It takes a bit of getting used to, but eh, it works.
Shopping in Belarus had a few peculiarities as well. For instance in the produce department, one doesn't simply put some apples in a bag and continue shopping. You bag the produce you plan to buy, take it to a woman to be weighed, bag is tied, and a sticker attached with the price. The actual food selection and prices were a bit strange too. I've never seen so much vodka in one place in my life. It was quite impressive. We learned very early to always look at the price tag if there was one. This after I picked up a small container of berries only to do the conversion and realize I was about to pay $78 for about 10 berries, no thanks. A friend of mine blogged about a similar lettuce experience we had at the same store. The little head of iceberg lettuce was almost $20. Good times! I will say the most bizarre aspect of shopping in Belarus was the amount of security at the store. They were EVERYWHERE, wandering around the store, standing at the end of the check out lines, this in addition to the cameras that were again, EVERYWHERE. Speaking of security, I'm reminded of a little incident I had at said grocery store, but for now I'll leave you with pictures from today's walk. Stay tuned for "Adventures with Grocery Store Security".
These were taken on the main road from my house to the grocery store. Enjoy!