Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anatomy of a Grocery Receipt

For the purposes of this post, one CHF (Swiss Franc) is currently worth about 86 US cents.

Most Americans (especially families) go grocery shopping once every week or two for the bulk of their food with just a couple small trips for odds and ends peppered in between "big" grocery days. When I was growing up, grocery day was a BIG DAY and the whole family went - we had to because shopping in the military grocery was such a phenomenal pain that mom and dad would fill two grocery carts to keep the number of these trips to a minimum. If mom and dad both went (one cart per parent) that means my little sister and I also went. This brings us to the story of the canned mushrooms and, on a related note, the possible reason I didn't like mushrooms until about a year ago. That story, however, may have to wait for another post because this post is about grocery shopping in Switzerland.

People here typically go to the grocery shop every day or every other day, excluding Sunday, when everything is closed. Most people use only small shopping baskets - if you're shopping for a crowd and need a cart, it's going to cost you a 2 CHF deposit (which is return when the cart is.)

The first item (1) on my receipt ties in to one of the biggest differences between grocery shopping here versus the US - my 30 cent grocery bag. The grocery here does have very very small bags you can use for free, but they're like the bags you use to bag your produce in the US - you might as well carry your groceries in a piece of tissue paper. I always bring my own cloth bag with me, however on this trip I needed an extra bag as I ended up purchasing just a little more than I had planned.

The reason for the extra bag is... there was a great sale on MEAT! (See items 2 and 3) I acquired a pound of ground beef for 7.95 AND 6 chicken breasts (Just under 2 pounds) for 9.85. The chicken breasts I buy are normally about 7 CHF for two, so you can see this is a great deal. Everything is divided and stowed in my freezer now - yipee! The item you might notice hiding between two and three is the 106 grams (or 3.7 ounces) of sliced ham I bought for 4.20. Ouch.

Moving right along, item 4 brings us to the spoiled rotten kitties. 7.95 for a bag of litter and 2.20 for a four-pack of kitty wet food, turkey-flavored. The kitties split one pack of wet food a day for dinner and have dry food to snack on, so the four pack lasts four days, unless they get whiny-cute and I feed them an extra packet.

Item 5 takes us to produce - a box of cherry tomatoes and my other find of the day - a kilo (2.2 pounds) of clementines for just 2.95! Item number 6 is a tasty loaf of fresh bread - it was still warm when I picked it up.

Thanks to today's shopping, we're good on meat for a couple weeks. Hurrah! Have any grocery-adventures of your own to share?


Carl E said...

I think your kitties are spoiled!! Ours get to split a small can of wet food about once a month. Otherwise, its dry food. But ours do get the good stuff... Iams Hairball control, about €9/kg. Definitely not cheap!!

The grocery store is similar here in Brussels. We have reusable bags that cost €1 each. The plastic bags are available at €.03/bag, and they are similar to U.S. shopping bags. Chicken is more expensive than beef as well, usually about €10.50/kg, but we buy it on special when it goes to about €6.29/kg and we stock up! :-) If we ever leave Europe, I will definitely miss the fresh bread.

Miz K said...

Yeah our dry cat food is about 8 chf for a 1.5 kilo bag - it's just Whiskas, though. Our previous cats were on all all-dry diet for ages. When I incorporated just a bit of wet food, we noticed an immediate difference in the gloss and smoothness and softness of their coats. We like shiny kitties (there's actually a brand of wet food here called SHINY CAT) and figure a bit of meat is good for their baby-brains, so we spoil 'em! (I also save all the fat and skin and other stuff I cut off of meat I cook for us and cook that stuff for the kitties as an occasional treat. They love it and it keeps the garbage from stinking!)