Interesting Experience

To me, going to the Dutch supermarkets was quite an experience, for a variety of reasons.

I like going to the supermarket, especially in new countries. And I’m used to big supermarkets where everything is organized and on stock on the shelves. 

So, the first time I went to a supermarket in the Netherlands I was quite excited about it.
First thing I noticed was that the supermarket was small, which turned out to be an average sized supermarket, in Amsterdam at least. You can find a few big ones, but most supermarkets are “small”. Also, in that first visit I noticed a special supermarket smell, different than what I was used to. Not a bad smell, just different.

Then, once I was inside I started seeing many shelves almost or fully empty. It was rush hour, when the Dutch run into the supermarket, take what they need without needing to think what to choose, and leave very fast. They are very good at it (I am quite fast for most things, but I often need to stand and think a bit before picking an item). And shelves don’t get refilled instantly like I was used to: once a product is all gone, it might be hours before that product is back there.

Fast and Decided

So, back to my first day: I had no idea what most products were at all, what most words meant, and what should I buy. Plus, I was excited about finding out what everything was. So, I stood in front of most shelves looking, while of course being on the way of other people. But I needed to figure out what everything was!

And after some years, this hasn’t still fully changed: Sometimes I still like to take a second to look at some things and choose what I need. When I go buy a supermarket meal, I need a minute to see which one to choose. Most Dutch people seem to know what they want without stopping a second, is remarkable!

Once you go line up to pay, you need to have your money or card at easy reach, and a bag. This is very important, the bag:
If you don’t have a bag, you must get one or request one to the cashier while she is checking your products, the sooner the better. You need to put everything you buy in that bag as fast as possible, ideally while the cashier person gives them to you. Then, you pay and you are expected to leave as fast as possible. Depending on the supermarket, the table where the cashier puts your products after checking them could have space for your products only, or in other cases there's also space for someone else stuff simultaneously too. If there’s space for your products only, everybody behind you will be waiting for you to remove your stuff fast. And if you forgot a bag and didn’t ask for one, you will be in trouble.

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