Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shopping in Germany

On Saturday we took the train from Baden, Switzerland to the border town of Waldshut, Germany to do some grocery shopping. The trip takes about 26 minutes. I’m not really sure how much money one actually saves by shopping across the border, as the exchange rate for the Swiss Franc to the Euro is not that great, but still, it’s entertaining and nice to have some different foods every now and then.

Since we started shopping in Germany about a year and a half ago, two more grocery stores have sprung up right next to the train station in Waldshut, making a total of three grocery stores, one right after the other. Obviously these three large grocery stores are not for Waldshut, a town of 22,000 people. They were built for the Swiss border hoppers. And hop they do.

The parking lot outside the Familia (our grocery store of choice out of the three available) is filled with Swiss license plates and most likely these people are inside buying meat, as one can save about 50% on meat prices by shopping in Germany. Since there’s no chicken in the refrigerated section for some reason (too many Swiss have been there by 2pm), we go to the meat counter to order some, until we realize that our Swissified German is not going to cut it.

As I stood at the counter, all I could think was “poulet”, which is the French and also the Swiss German word for chicken. But I could not for the life of me think of the real German word and there was no signage anywhere to remind me. My husband was not ashamed, and asked whether the meat in front of us was “truten oder poulet” (turkey or chicken) anyhow. The woman answered him easily, obviously used to many Swiss asking the same thing, and did not pull any snobby, “oh, you mean Hähnchen…” that someone in France would have done had the situation been different. (see “Does Anybody Here Speak French” entry below).

The other main items of interest were ice cream (half the price as in Switzerland, ironically for a Swiss-made brand), tortilla chips (again about half the price as in Switzerland), Qtips (a quarter of the price), and soap refills (a quarter of the price).

Needless to say it was a profitable and fun trip as I enjoyed reveling in a grocery store bigger than the size of a walk-in closet for once. If only I had a car and a freezer bigger than a shoebox I would buy much, much more (ice cream, at least). But since I’ve now accepted my status as the “Bag Lady of Baden”, dragging my recyclables and groceries in a bright orange IKEA cart between two countries and cities, at least it’s not quite as big a deal as it used to be.

1 comment:

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