Running errands with two kids in tow can be rough. The little one pouring water everywhere and pulling things off shelves. The big one needs to use the bathroom RIGHT NOW when we are no where near a public bathroom, but definitely were just 1o minutes ago. Of course she didn’t have to go then. Top that off with trying to pay cash for things, but not knowing the value of the all the various coins in your wallet.
I am not a big fan of this whole cash thing. I totally agree with the philosophy that you should only buy things with money you have, but that is why I use a debit card. In the US it is very rare that I have cash and I see change as pretty much pointless. We just keep it in a jar and give it to Asha when she is collecting money for church. Here in Germany all those coins have value because 1 and 2 euros are coins. So now I’m not only carrying bills but a whole stash of change. The coins here are 2€, 1€, 0.50€, 0.20€, 0.10€, 0.05€, 0.02€, 0.01€. That is a lot of change and they can be hard to tell apart especially when you are in a hurry.
I have also realized that I am one of those Americans that can no longer really make change. When someone gives me my total and I don’t have the exact change, or can’t figure out quickly what coin is what, I have no idea how much I should give in order to make it easier for the cashier. Some have asked if I have such and such change, but usually after weeding through all my coins I just hand over a paper bill. I mean most of the time I’m just trying to get the heck out of dodge before things get destroyed or someone has a melt down.
I have also come to realize that grocery stores here are not as big as they are in the sates. Even the “larger” stores here have narrow aisles and are difficult to manage compared to the US. I have learned that I really prefer the Bio markets. Bio is equivalent to organic. There are several different chain Bio markets; Denn’s, Bio Company, and LPG Bio Markt. They are all equivalent to Whole Foods or Fresh Market. Then there is REWE and Kaiser’s which are like a Jewel, Krogers, or Dominick’s. They also have discount markets; Aldi, Lidl, and Netto. At all stores you have to bring your own bags or pay for reusable or paper bags. You also have to bag your own groceries which can be a little tricky when things are busy and again when you’ve got two kids to wrangle. I usually just just try to bag my groceries as they ring me up and then quickly throw those I couldn’t get too fast enough back in the car or basket. They typically have a little counter area for bagging your items.
The grocery stores carry some household items but not a lot, so you need to go to another store for that. Rossmann and DM are similar to Walgreens and have most household products, but they don’t have a pharmacy, for that you have to go to an Apotheke. They are generally pretty easy to find. They also carry some skin and hair care items depending on the store, but there is really no Walmart or Target equivalent here. You almost always have to go to multiple stores. There is also no buying in bulk here. That is definitely an American concept. I try as best as I can to go to the grocery store one day and then the Rossmann or DM another just to cut down on errands, but it’s not always possible. I’m also getting better about remembering to bring my bags.
I just thought I’d give you a little run down on the store situation here as it’s a little different. Asha went to gymnastics today and had a great time. She is currently sleeping in her new leotard. We are counting down the days until we head to Italy! Only 3 more!!