I hope your week has been rather stress free. Sorry this post didn’t go up as yesterday as usual; my stomach was getting in the way again.
Quite a few things are different here in the US, as opposed to Germany - a lot of them to the better, in my opinion. It’s the land of opportunity and this certainly applies to grocery stores and the shopping experience. Haha. Sometimes, it’s, even after almost 2 years, a little overwhelming for me when I am heading to a big store to actually, well, just get a few things.
Shall we? Here is what I can say from experience. What do you think?
1) Stores are open pretty much 24/7
Even on Christmas. Which actually makes sense (after I was completely shocked that people would work on Christmas Day), because in such a diverse country, not everyone is feeling festive on the holidays. So, if you feel like something from the grocery store in the middle of the night - get it. If you have an off-schedule and need to go shopping super early in the morning, or late at night - do it. There is a convenient time for everyone and the stores are open.
In Germany, your are lucky if a big store is open until 10 and everything is closed on Sundays anyway. That’s why it’s usually very quiet on the streets that day. Here, this is when the shopping haul for the following week begins.
2) Grocery shopping less frequently
Due to the quantities you can oftentimes buy (in one package), I got the feeling that people in the U.S. go grocery shopping less often than in Germany. Maybe it’s all the additives in a lot of things also? Correct me if you think this is wrong but back home people go to the store for only a handful of things if needed, sometimes shop every other day to fill up the fridge with fresh produce. Here, people tend to go once - maybe twice - a week and can really stock up with just one trip.
3) Shopping carts all over the place
So, this is one of the things that drives me nuts, maybe because I am a very organized German. Shopping carts are free. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t pay for shopping carts in Germany, but you do have to have a coin (or a coin like object) that has a certain size and that you can insert in the shopping cart to open the little chain and disconnect it from the other carts. Makes sense? This is so not everyone leaves their carts all over the place, or even walks right off with them. Because if you want to have your one-Euro coin back you need to bring back your cart to where you got it from in the parking lot and re-connect the cart you used. Can someone please explain why this is not the case here? Is it because of the freedom of the people, because you cannot expect them to carry around a coin or coin-like plastic object with them? Maybe. I think there is pros and cons about both ways. Fact is, people seem to be employed by the grocery stores just to walk around and collect the shopping carts which are literally all over the place.
4) Recycling? Rarely.
Recycling as we have it in Germany apparently doesn’t really exists. In front of grocery stores, there might be recycling cans but you don’t get a portion of your money back for recycling. Whereas back home, basically every grocery store has a recycling section with a machine to put certain cans and bottles in and then you get a receipt with a split portion of your money back when checking out for recycling. However, I have learned that there apparently are a couple recycling centers around where you can hand-feed the machines and received credit for it.
5) More pricey
Here in San Diego, the price tag on groceries is, undoubtedly, bigger than in Germany. In general life in this city is way more expensive. You can complain about it, or you can just accept it. It’s what it is and I won’t be able to change it.
Do you have any comments, experiences you can share? Let me know in the comments below.