Grocery Shopping: A harrowing non-adventure

You know what I’m really looking forward to? The day when I can go to the grocery store without breaking into a nervous sweat.

I ventured to Lidl [LIE-duhl] today, the little grocery store in the next building, all by myself. Yay for the convenience of grocery shopping next door. Boo for the nerve-wracking language barrier.

At our Lidl, there’s a lidl square of counter space where the cashier plops everything as they ring it up. You have to bag yourself, so it’s kind of a game (but not the fun kind) to bag faster than they fill up the space, and not hold up the customer behind you. When we’re together, Dennis and I have a good system: I pay, he bags. But alone this time, I prepped for some well-orchestrated moves of paying and bagging in under 30 seconds.

I unloaded my overloaded basket onto the conveyor belt, and pulled out my credit card. Good thing, because before the clerk started ringing up my toilet paper, yogurt, etc., she saw my card and proceeded to say many sentences to me.

My damp nervousness turned into full-fledged flush.

Luckily, I do know the very useful phrases, “I don’t understand,” and, “I don’t speak Czech.” So I said, “Nerozumím, ale…” pointed to my card, and asked, “Ne?” (“No?”) She shook her head and pointed to the next lane over. I packed everything back into a basket, including my pride, squeezed past the mother and daughter behind me, and unloaded in the next line.

This time, I was ready. Pointing to my card, I said to the cashier, “Nemluvím česky, ale, it’s ok?” He assured me it was fine, rang up a few items, and then, “And I speak English.” Well thank goodness, because in all the eye-darting I did from one line to the next I couldn’t find any signs or clues that distinguished one lane from another. And I’m almost positive the man in black behind me was snickering. Turns out the machine in the previous lane broke last week.

Once I made it back to the safety of my apartment, I decided two things. One, I will look for that cashier every time I go to Lidl. And two, I need to relax. What’s the worst that can happen? Figuring anything out in a cold sweat is worse than figuring it out with confidence.


That brings back some memories! LOL! Don’t worry though, you’ll get really good at Charades and you’ll give other people something to smile at (I guess that’s both a good and bad thing)! But hey~ at least you came home with some groceries! Success!!!

Oh, I would MUCH rather have the person behind me snickering than making impatient huffing noises. You know that guy went home and told his wife, “I HAVE to tell you about this funny little American girl at Lidl…” :o)

i’m sure you can charm any huffiness out of them! but i do feel your pain. nobody likes to feel like they’re the only one who doesn’t know the rules of the game.

great story Amy………lmao…..what’s all that lemon juice for? I completely avoided those situations when I lived in Germany even though most of them knew English, I didn’t want to find the clerk that didn’t since most of my German amounted to Left, Right, Straight Ahead and Volkswagen………

Everyone goes grocery shopping but every country does it differently! Reminds me of El Salvador where you have to weigh and price your produce in the produce section before bringing it to the register. Yeah, forgot do that twice and both times the cashier sent an annoyed bagger running off with my produce to figure out the price of it.

I feel for your foreign language grocery store snafu. Once I held up a line when Darby got her finger stuck in the bars of the cart at check-out. She was two, screaming her head off (in English), and I had to ask twice before the clerk would go get me a bottle of liquid dish detergent (we were speaking the same language, but somehow there was still a barrier). :)

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