Grocery Shopping Differences
I thought it might be fun to let you know a little more what daily life is like here in Ireland. I wanted to show you some of the differences between grocery shopping here than in the States. Some of them I like... other things, not so much.
One of the things here that is a little different is going to the grocery store. We do most of our shopping at Aldi and get a few extras here and there at Supervalu.
Other stores that sell groceries here in Ireland are called Tesco (the closest that comes to Walmart here, not on price but on convenience),
Dunnes (I would compare it to a smaller, not as many items, Target),
and Lidl (very similar to Aldi as it is another German grocery store).
There are other stores where you could get groceries, but they are either very local or much smaller like a convenience store, or I am just forgetting :).
The first thing that you would notice that is different in the grocery stores are the parking spaces. Even if the grocery store has a lot, the spaces are going to be very narrow.
You walk up to get a trolly (shopping cart), and you have to put a coin in. Either 1 or 2 Euro usually ($1.12- $2.25). You will get the coin back if you return the card to a designated place.
The third difference is the items in the store are a lot smaller than they are in the States. At first this annoyed me as you have to buy 2 or 3 more of the same item sometimes instead of just one to make a recipe, but I have come to like the smaller items here. First of all, we have a small refrigerator and so we can't fit much into it. Secondly, we notice that we don't have a creepy green monster growing in our refrigerator. We actually eat all of the food that we buy (pretty much) and so less goes to waste. Now, there are some things that I wish that I could buy in bulk (dried beans, baking soda, etc), but after three years of living here, I am still surviving without all of the extras.
One thing nice about shopping here in general- the price you see is the price you pay. All of the tax is already added into the price so you don't get a surprise at the end of your shop. Now, what is not nice about that is that we pay a lot more tax here than we do in the States, but still, it makes it convenient if you are needed to add up something in your head.
The last difference you would see is at the checkout. Sure, they have self checkout and also the option of having someone ring up your groceries for you, but there still are differences. At Aldi and Lidl none of the checkers throw your groceries back into your cart! I LOVE this difference. They patiently wait as you place them back into your cart (or bag them quickly) yourself. At the other, fancier stores, there are no baggers. Now, if you have A TON of groceries and can't bag them all yourself, the cashier will sometimes help you get your items in your bags. "Your bags?" Yes, yours because you either bought them at the checkout, or you brought them from home. I also LOVE this about grocery shopping here is that there is an extra tax you have to pay for each plastic bag you buy. This cuts down on a lot of waste. People bring their own bags to the shop, or buy one if they left theirs at home. Yes, it is inconvenient if you forgot your bags, but one thing we do not see is a whole field full of empty plastic bags that someone carelessly left out that I see in the States very often. I would hope that if we ever moved back to the States that I would try my best to use my cloth bags (although when I go to the States now, I do take the plastic bags as I re-use them here so I don't have to buy them).
So, if you would ever come over to Ireland to do some grocery shopping, make sure you have a 1 or 2 Euro and don't forget your bags!