Grocery shopping has changed, man!

It’s been a while since the duck and I last professed our undying love for grocery shopping. Since then, there have been a few changes. Let’s start with the obvious one: In the last three years, various rules concerning store capacity, face visibility, and personal space were introduced and adapted. However, the biggest one for the duck and me was paying for our shop – we finally learned about checkouts and ceased walking out of the store, bags almost bursting with free groceries- ouch! The duck’s bad joke nudges have become more forceful. I should probably look into limiting the duck’s regular yoga master drills to five per day.
Bad jokes aside, I used to love playing store with miniature groceries, plastic money, and cash register sound effects. The only reason I stopped was a halt in playdate invitations. Fortunately, real grocery shopping turned out to be nearly as fun. Can you imagine my delight when I get to use self-service checkout machines? Even at a regular register, paying for my purchases in cash, ideally with exact change, was fun. As a bonus, I always precisely remembered how much I had spent on my shopping trips.

When shoppers were asked to kindly pay cashless in 2020, I acquiesced. At first, I used the chip readers and was called back to fetch my card several times. Once, I left it at a self-service checkout. When I returned the next day to retrieve it, I was scolded by the employee as he returned my card.
I have since progressed to touch-to-pay. Fortunately, I’m naturally frugal (which is what I should call my stinginess from now on), so I’m never severely surprised by the total on my receipt. But that’s because I already am when I see the price tags in-store and internally exclaim: “I remember a time when bread was basically free… because I was a freeloading child-” ouch! When we saw that most of our staples were spared from intense price hikes, the duck and I boldly declared our fortunateness. Unsurprisingly, inflation caught up with us. Now we cry whenever we buy oatmeal at a 40% higher price than before. We’re still shopping cheaper and healthier than in Japan, so we shouldn’t complain.

What’s your stance on grocery shopping? Do you have a preferred way to pay? What is your favorite country/city/store to shop in?

Grocery shopping in Germany

It is still winter. It is still too cold for the duck and my liking. It is the perfect time to write more about the one outside activity the duck and I enjoy all year round. The last time we dedicated a blog post to our adventures in grocery shopping, the duck and I were living in Tokyo. We had set off on our first grocery trip full of hopes and aspirations. We returned with a bag filled with confusion, sensory overload, and a little bit of food. Don’t get me wrong, we loved going grocery shopping in Tokyo. It felt like an adventure until our last days in this exciting city (the sunglasses and imaginary leather jackets we were going to use as our regular grocery shopping outfit once we’d figured out every aspect of it never left our wardrobe). Now we live in Berlin, which, surprisingly, is not at all like Tokyo. When it comes to grocery shopping here, I’m much more optimistic. Now that the duck and I have been educated about the burning ambition of the common pantry moth, not much could stop us on our quest to grocery shopping mastery.
Berlin grocery duck
Just look at the duck’s exploits! Those who have read about our grocery shopping adventures in Japan might already suspect how much we love buying our food in German supermarkets and grocery stores (and sometimes even drugstores). Gosh, we love grocery shopping so much that we could probably write a post about it every week for a year and never run out of topics. This is why the duck and I decided to limit ourselves to writing a comparison (in many, many words) between our experiences grocery shopping in Tokyo and in Berlin:

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The duck and I are going on a spree: S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G!

The duck and I love shopping for groceries (maybe even a little too much, but to each their own, right?), and grocery shopping in Japan is no exception. Once we have managed to get our lazy behinds out of the house (and mentally prepared ourselves for a journey beyond the extensions of our home that are Konbini), there is no stopping us!
Let’s go back a few weeks. We had just moved into our new place and were excited to fill that empty refrigerator of ours. So, we quickly compiled a shopping list (= we added one more item to the list that we had started before even moving in – that’s how much we love grocery shopping), memorized the way to a more or less nearby grocery store, and set off on our first grocery shopping adventure – dreaming of bags filled with beautiful and nutritious food.

grocery duck

And we did return with something that would at least guarantee us to not starve for the next few hours. But shopping for proper food in Japan (for the first time) turned out to be quite a bit of a challenge. Let me explain why:

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