If only I had my own shopping cart!

The cabinet in my U of Maastricht dormitory

The cabinet in my U of Maastricht dormitory

It’s so strange opening my cabinet in the morning and seeing the brand names on my food items. Instead of Kraft, Nabisco and General Mills, my cabinets are filled with Unox, VanGilse and Pickwick.

Grocery shopping in Maastricht is also very different than in the United States. I recently had my first shopping encounter and it was very enlightening.

In the U.S. I usually pick up a cart or a basket as I walk in Wal-Mart or H.E.B. but in Maastricht, people usually bring their own cloth bags or their own shopping carts.

Once inside the store, I had to manuever my way around the store, which proved very difficult because I cannot read Dutch and I do not know how the store is organized. I basically ended up wandering the aisles, picking up items as I went along. I would never believed how hard it would be to find rice, soup or sugar until I had to hunt around a foreign market looking for words and pictures I recognized.

When I finally got to the check out line, I found out that I had to bag my own groceries at top speed because if the person behind me had to wait at all, they become very annoyed. Also, I learned that each bag costs 15 Euro cents (hence people bringing their own cloth bags)

But I hadn’t even gotten to the hard part. Once I finished bagging my groceries, I met my roommate outside of the store to walk home. As we left, I realized I had made a huge mistake. I had bought the amount of groceries I usually would at home, but the difference was that this time I had to carry them all the way back to my dorm which was a good 10 minutes from the store.

It was a LONG walk and when I finally got home my arms were aching. Next time I go shopping I will definitely bring a backpack

~Claire

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