When you step inside a German grocery store, try not to drool. These places are large. They have things called choices. Not to mention the long lost concept of a freezer section.
It can all be a bit overwhelming for the shopper used to stores the size of a closet. If you’ve got your camera along, you just might be inspired to take a photo of the wonder of it all. There’s a reason shopping across the border is called “consumer tourism.”
Cheaper prices. Bigger packages. More selection. What’s there not to love about a little shopping in Deutschland?
Oh yeah, Swiss import limitations. Read about them here. But don’t let them spoil your fun in bringing home a few bags of tortilla chips that are three times the size of what you can find in Switzerland and half the price.
According to the International Herald Tribune, about 7-9 per cent of the Swiss population shops in Germany once a month. Last Saturday, like usual, the parking lot of the Famila in the border town of Waldshut, Germany was filled with an abundance of Swiss license plates.
Since 2007, the entire area around the train station in Waldshut has expanded and now includes three grocery stores: a Rewe, a Lidl, and my personal favorite, a Famila. It’s especially convenient for transport-challenged shoppers like yours truly who can simply take a 25-minute direct train ride from Baden to Waldshut and revel in stores big enough for two shopping carts to be going in opposite directions and not collide.
The novelty of personal space would probably make the trip worthwhile in itself, but let’s not forget the prices. Take ice cream. For the equivalent of SFr3.65 not only I can get a package of the same Mövenpick ice cream that costs SFr9.50 in Switzerland, but I can choose from a much larger variety of flavours.
And meat. Chicken is the equivalent of SFr14.65 a kilo versus about SFr34.50 in Switzerland. The only danger is, if you go to the counter, you just may forget the real German word for chicken and have to resort to asking for “poulet.” But not to worry. The German meat people are used to it and won’t make you feel bad.
While prices in Swiss grocery stores have fallen due to increased competition from German grocery stores like Aldi and Lidl making themselves at home in der Schweiz, according to my recent reading of Blick am Abend, Swiss grocers still average 33 per cent higher prices than German ones.
But most Swiss people say they could care less about these price discrepancies because they prefer “quality” over “price”. After all, who in their right mind would want to save money when they can have Swiss Qualität instead?
A foreigner like me. That’s who.