Day 111 — Grocery shopping

The ethnics of grocery shopping are interesting and somewhat different than in the U.S. Shoppers in Sweden turn the items they are buying with the bar code facing the scanner for the cashier. Then they put the divider bar after their last item for the next customer. The cashier rings up the item and pushes it down a sloping counter. When the customer finishes paying, he or she moves to the far end of the counter and begins bagging the goods him- or herself. The counter is divided with a movable wooden bar that the cashier slides one way or the other to form a section for the next shopper’s groceries. In this way, two shoppers can go through the bagging process simultaneously. When one finishes, the wooden divider is slid over and the next shopper’s groceries are slid down the counter.

To get a shopping cart you have to insert a 5 or 10 kronor coin into a slot in the cart and this pops out a small metal bar attached to a chain on the next cart in a line of carts that are all pushed together like you see in American supermarkets. When you are done shopping, you roll your cart into a line of empty carts, push the little metal bar into the device on the push bar of your cart and out pops your coin. It took us forever to figure this out the first time we used a cart. Mariette had never seen it when she lived her growing up.

Some foods are almost literally dirt cheap. I bought 11 pounds of potatoes today for $1.50 and a pint box of  cherry tomatoes for 75 cents and a loaf of bread for 40 cents. Also, a pound of almonds for $3.75. Not even Trader Joe’s can match that. Most other produce is comparable to the U.S. Some stuff is more expensive, like yogurt. And cottage cheese is basically non-existent and the stuff you can find is inedibly chunky and dry. Yech. Meat is really high quality. And the fish, well, nothing can beat having a fish stand 400 meters from your house.

If you want to buy anything stronger than 3.5 beer you have to go to the state run alcohol store of which there is one in the entire city. (Alcohol used to be a big problem in Sweden and the legal limit is 0.02 or one quarter of what it is in the U.S. That basically amounts to one beer.)

On the other hand, I had a copy of a key made for our garage and it cost more than $12. For one key!

The water temperature is now a less than tepid 8 degrees centigrade which is about 45 F. Still we came upon an elderly couple going for a dip this afternoon. They are the two white dots in the photo.

Mariette has a 75 year old uncle who goes skinny dipping on New Year’s Day. These folks are either hardy or nuts.

Was hoping for a nice sunset but the overcast wiped it out for the most part.

I took these shots at 5:00 this afternoon, which means that with the end of daylight savings time tonight that is what we have to look forward to tomorrow at 4:00.


4 thoughts on “Day 111 — Grocery shopping

  1. Re: Groceries very interesting I noticed the same thing in France when we were there for 3 weeks in 2010. And of course the check out lady is always sitting in a roll away chair (nice). AND if you dare swipe your card while she is checking the items you will be scolded, (happened to me). You must wait til she is done checking all items. I like the idea of paying the token for your cart, and getting the return when you do in fact return it- very proper.

    Hope you have a nice daylight saving time end of period day (3:30 pm) sunset. It’s not that bad ours will 4:45 in a few weeks.

    The Texas Rangers completed the worst choke job since the 1986 Red Sox.

    • Funny about the lady scolding you. Typical French. You could be right about Texas, though the Giants in 2002 was awfully disappointing too. Overall, though, it was a really good series.

  2. Interesting differences in shopping especially on the shopping carts. Watching the #6 Stanford & USC game “Sat nite game” and flip flopping with the Cal & UCLA games. Looks like an upset happening.

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