For those of you that know me, you know that I hate shopping. I hate the crowds, the music, picking through the worthless with a faint hope of finding something sensible, but mostly I abhor the consumerist bullshit that everyone buys into. You might be surprised to find out, however, that I love going to the supermarket. I like going to all the different stores in search of superior prices and particular products.
When I first moved to Germany, you can't imagine how out-of-place I felt in every one of these stores. They felt so small, unorganized, and jam-packed full of products both new and foreign, but all in a package with which I was unaquainted. It felt a little strained and uncomfortable, but I did enjoy the exoticism, the nuance. In my first months, I especially relished a chance to visit one of the bigger emporiums - like Real, for example. Although I've always hated The-Store-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, the high ceilings and knowledge that I could get all my little, random items all under one roof (veganism leaves you looking in strange corners for prized products), gave me a feeling of comfort. Ah, neophobia.
You may not be a foodie or a vegan and you may not live in Germany, so I wanted to give you a way to relate to all the different markets. I thought it'd be funny if we did this in metaphor. Would The Clash approve it if we spoke of boyfriends instead of getting lost in talking about just plain old supermarkets?
Aldi is the boyfriend that thinks an awesome date is sitting out on a lake with a pair of 40s. Sometimes they have specials in there that I'm pleasantly surprised by: asian or italian.
Edeka I'm often surprised to find myself in. It's usually for urgancy or at the insistance or request of my host family. It's the boyfriend who buys (and drinks) some fancy scotch or Jack Daniel's. In addition, he finds it vital to keep Coke and ice in good stock as well. He wears Lacoste and Abercrombie & Fitch (I once read a book about the latter clothing outlet.) or some fancy vintage things for which he paid more money than they're worth. REWE and Kaiser's are like this, but usually a bit smaller and located closer to the city center.
Plus seems to fit a pleasant medium. This boyfriend drives a Jeep, but it's kinda old, beat up, and covered in mud, but it doesn't matter that much because it does it's job, right? He keeps a Lowe Alpine backpack because he knows it's good, but it smells like butt from his last extensive camping trip. I think that Norma may be like this. They're found in smaller towns, I think. Norma can be the punk boyfriend that wears Vans.
Real. "Ein mal hin, alles drin," or, "One time in, everything in." I never go to this store. It's usually on the outskirts of a city because it's so big. This is like the boy that I don't believe I've ever dated. I'd say it's unremarkable, but it does fulfill all most everyone's needs.
Delhaize is a Belgian store that may just be an Aachen thing because that city lies on the border of Belgium and Holland. Delhaize is like the European foreign exchange student. It feels a little fancy, but mostly because there's different products there.