Unless it involves music or films or books or magazines or cigarettes or coffee, shopping’s not something I enjoy doing. I don’t like buying clothes, I don’t like buying presents, but most of all, I don’t like shopping for groceries in supermarkets in Berlin. There are exceptions to the rule cos occasionally I’ll find a nice supermarket. This is a topic I’ve moaned about before; many times in my personal life, and quite possibly several times on FFF. All my moaning blurs into one supermarket-hating lump.
But the moaning makes me feel better. In fact, there was a time when I (anonymously) did a site that I whacked up on one of those free Geocities domains called “Mmm..Kaiser’s, I love you” (archived here). At that point the whole Kaiser’s supermarket thing was bugging me so much, I decided that keeping the diary would help get over it. And it did. It made me a lot more tolerant of the people in Kaiser’s cos it was all good fodder for the site. So by the time two months of doing it had passed, I found my hate had gone, and stopped doing it. That was a good thing.
But now I see it’s like taking Prozac or something: you can’t just choose when you wanna do it, you gotta do it as consistently to keep the calm. So today, I’m gonna moan moan moan about motherfucking Kaiser’s. You see, I dislike going to Kaiser’s so much that I once told Hanni that I’d never go there again. This, of course, is a bit unfair, cos it’d mean she’d have to go there all the time on her own. But now we’ve got a car, we tend to do a fortnightly big trip to Extra – a far nicer supermarket, but a bit further away – and get enough of the basics so we don’t have to go to our local Kaiser’s. Aaaanyway, today I had to go to Kaiser’s. Here’s my hate list:
1. Where do they keep the salt? It’s a basic human need. If we don’t have salt, we die! But in Kaiser’s it seems to be hidden, like it was some sort of freaky oddity, like pipe cleaners or something. Up and down the aisles. Up and down. Up and down. Nowhere. (When she got home, The Knowledgable One said they keep it next to the sugar, not the pepper as I’d logically imagined. That’d be fine if they were colour-coding the whole supermarket, though…)
2. No baskets, only trolleys. So, unless I have a one euro coin in my pocket, or am willing to interrupt one of the cashiers to change a 50 euro note just to get a coin, I have to hold my shopping in my arms, and it becomes a bit like being on Crackerjack (a reference you won’t get if you’re not British and of a certain age). Carrots, a bag of onions clutched in one hand; toothpaste, mouthwash, spaghetti all balanced on the forearm; Persil box in the other hand. After that, the shopping got difficult, I have to put down the Persil every time I want to pick up something else.
3. Customers. This is not a German-bashing thing, but since I’ve been in Germany, I have never ever experienced what seemed quite common in the UK: letting someone with a few items in front of you in the queue if you’ve got a trolley-full that could feed half of Ethiopia. I was behind a guy with only three items. In front of him was a young mother with the aforementioned food mountain. They even made eye contact at one point, and still she didn’t get it. This is probably not just a German thing, but God, do some people have no heart?
I feel a bit better now I’ve got that off my chest.