One of my biggest adjustments to living in Germany has been doing all my grocery shopping at the commissary. Totally not what I expected. I figured that the different driving laws, the language barrier, or the distance from home would throw me for a loop. But grocery shopping?
Where I used to live, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, and Market Street were all within a 5 minute drive of my house. I only ever shopped at Market Street, but I had options. And, oh, the beauty that is Market Street!
Fresh food, huge selection, they use the NuVal system so it’s easy to make healthy selections, and Market Street has the absolute best customer service in all the land. (I’ve called the manager there on a few occasions to tell them what excellent service I’ve had. If you are looking for a way to brighten your day, this is a good way to do it. Most stores don’t get positive feedback, and they are so happy to hear it.)
But now I’m just left with the commissary. No amazing Market Street. No crummy Kroger’s. Just the commissary. There are a lot of things that I don’t love about the commissary that I can get over. No more NuVal system. Foods are organized differently than I think they should be. The baggers only work for tips, so I feel obligated to tip them. (At Market Street, they carried your groceries to your car, and they weren’t allowed to take tips.) But like I said, none of that is make or break. (It’s really just me being bratty. “Take my food to my car, load it up, and I shall not pay you, minion!”)
The thing I’m struggling with: lack of selection. Last week I wanted to make stuffed shells. (It’s my version of fancy cooking.) Alas, no large shell noodles at the commissary. Only certain kinds of apples are available. Boo. No guacamole, not even the fake kind in plastic packaging!
I really hit the roof last week when there was no plain yogurt. None! How can a grocery store not have a large tub of plain yogurt? And how can I make my beloved smoothies without the yogurt? I ended up buying an individual container of vanilla. It was the best I could manage at the time.
I know there are reasons that the commissary doesn’t have every single little thing that I want. The only carry foods that are high in demand, have a long shelf life, and can travel well (if they are being imported). It makes sense, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!
Thank my lucky stars, Stephen found some plain yogurt at the commissary this week! I wasted no time in making a smoothie!
Happiness upon happiness! When it comes down to it, I don’t hate the commissary. Not even a little. I’m adjusting. I think it has been so hard for me because the foods we eat are personal, everyday kinds of things. Even when I’m not emotional, food (familiar, delicious food) is comforting. I’m starting to fall into a new routine with new favorites. (Blue corn tortilla chips, fancy granola bars, and sandwiches made at the deli counter are new favorites in our household.) And now that I have some yogurt, I think I’ll somehow manage to make it through.
Are you as obsessed with your grocery store as I was with Market Street? What’s the best thing about where you shop?