When asked recently what my least favorite thing about living in Germany is, I had to think long and hard about my answer. While there are things that I think are better in the U.S. (restaurant prices and customer service, for example), there is nothing that stuck out to me that I really disliked about Germany. That is, until I went shopping at the grocery store that evening.
|Get your food on that conveyor belt faster! FASTER!!!
(Photo by Wonderlane)
In Germany, there is no such thing as a bagger. This job simply does not exist. So, when you get to the register, you have to either bag all of your groceries as the cashier scans them, or (as most people do) just throw them in your cart as quickly as possible.
For anyone that has shopped at Aldi in the U.S., you probably understand this phenomenon to some extent. However, no cashier in the world can compete with the speed and efficiency of a German cashier.
But it is not just the cashiers that are the problem. Germans are among the most impatient people in the world, and they go nuts when they have to wait in a line at the check-out. So, it is totally normal for the person behind you to bump you with their cart or tell you to move if you leave more than an arm’s length of space between you and the person in front of you. They also get annoyed if you do not tightly pack all of your items on the conveyor belt like you are playing tetris. Oh, and heaven forbid you do not set out a divider.
Checking out at German grocery stores is an incredibly stressful activity.
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For more on this topic, check out my interview with Blog Expat!