Do’s of shopping in the local area

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
People don't have to walk far to find a supermarket in Germany these days as most villages have at least one nearby that offers anything from beets to bread to beer.

Although they are miniature versions compared to the ones found in the United States, every supermarket in Germany typically carries a large variety of products, including most items found in U.S. stores.

While similar items are carried in the markets here, there are a few differences shoppers will notice and should prepare for before their trip to the store.

When shopping at a German supermarket, people should make sure to carry Euro change, usually 1 or 2 Euro, as most carts require a deposit. The deposit is reimbursed once the cart is returned.

People should also bring their own reusable bags or bring Euro change, about 10-20 cents, to purchase bags at the checkout. Supermarkets here also require shoppers to load their own bags at check out as they do not supply baggers.

Shoppers are expected to either pay in cash or with a German ec-bank card. The larger chain supermarkets will accept most credit cards. The types of cards individual markets accept are posted at entrances, along with the opening times for the store.

Shoppers will also find that most supermarkets here have additional shops in and outside the store, such as a bakery or beverage shop. Fresh breads are available including whole grain products, broetchen, pastries and cake.

Like the states, every supermarket carries a large variety of produce including some organic products. These items are usually located in the front of the market. People can pick the items, weigh them on a scale and place them in plastic bags that are available in the section. In some markets, people may also have to look up the item and weigh it on an electronic scale. This scale is usually similar to the self-checkout scale at the commissary, as it has a touch screen and photos of items. After finding and weighing the item, a barcode is printed to use at checkout for purchase.

The deli selections carry a variety of fresh meats and cheeses to include cheeses from Holland, Belgium and France, and freshly sliced and cut meats, and a variety of different sausages. Cottage cheeses and German quark, which is used to make German cheesecake and is also used in sandwiches and salads, are popular cheese products.

Supermarkets also offer a selection of alcoholic beverages sold to adults age 18 or older only.
Cases of beverages, including sodas, water, beer or others are typically sold in a separate

Getraenkemarkt, or beverage store, located near or adjacent to the supermarket.
German supermarkets also carry items such as household goods, office supplies, books, magazines and everyday items; some markets even sell toys and discount clothes.
People can save money by using coupons, which they receive either at the cashier or in free household flyers and magazines. The flyers are distributed weekly and mention that week's savings.

Unfortunately, the supermarkets do not accept value added tax forms, but they do offer a unique experience and variety of products for people to discover while stationed here.