Everything here is closed on Sunday. It’s quite a pain in the ass, especially when I do my grocery shopping every third day. I don’t like loading up with too much stuff because I have to take it on the tram and it gets cumbersome and just looks awkward.
No matter what I do I always forget about the Sunday rule; this forces me to abandon my second rule, which is don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. I wake up on Monday after eating some strange combination of wurst, old fruit, and granola and set out on my quest.
German grocery stores are much like they are in the states, but with a much better selection of cheese, bread, and meats. Coincidentally, these are things I love. I’ll horde as much of the stuff as my arms will allow and make my way toward the register.
In Germany, for some reason, there is a general lack of trust when it comes to waiting in line. People first shoot elbows and if you aren’t paying attention they’ll sneak in front of you as if nothing happened. They all look around at everyone with looks of hate and distrust. Before I know it, I’m naturally acting on the defensive. I hug my armful of meat, cheese, and bread as close to me as I can and glare at the little old lady standing next to me. I just know she’s trying to take my place in line. Once I get to the conveyor belt I put my food down nervously.
This is where Germans get really crazy. They take the dividers and literally throw it between your food and theirs – even if there’s about 3 feet between the two piles. I return the favor the the helpless person behind me, who snaps out of their frantic distrustful searching and glares at me, but acknowledges the ritual at the same time with a wry and out of place smile.
Once I reach the cashier they give me a stressed look and ask for my money. They refuse any form of card payment and the Euro is prone to coin usage. So, I fumble through my wallet while the person behind me starts swearing along with the cashier. I find the perfect amount of change, and with a look of satisfaction and pride, I hand it to the evil register lady. She crumples up the reciept and throws it in my direction. I take my meats, cheeses, and breads and head on my way very confused about the strange cultural maze I just navigated.