There are many things I consider superior about the way that Germans shop and the products offered. Despite most people being determined omnivores, vegetarian and vegan options are very much in fashion, as are organic and free range options. My favourite accidental finds are chocolate soy milk and vegan ice cream, both without the price increase that is standard for vegan products in the UK.
The bottle deposit system is also a wonder of modern times: you pay a ~20 cent charge on every plastic bottle you buy, which is returned to you once you bring the bottle back to a shop and put it in the machine to be recycled. Even if this doesn’t get everyone to recycle, it does provide an incentive and also gives homeless people or those in poverty a way to get a small amount of money while helping the environment.
Aldi, my favourite UK supermarket, is even more popular here. It is just as stressful a shopping experience here as it is back home. I have actually seen a cashier slam some products into a customer’s basket because they ‘weren’t moving quickly enough’, which in my opinion wasn’t even true. And of course, the aisle of random products you never knew you needed is just as fertile a ground for impulse purchases. Am I an adult? Yes. Did I buy an elephant cushion because it was fluffy and not very expensive? Guilty as charged.
It took me a surprisingly short amount of time to adapt to shops closing early on weekdays and completely on Sundays, so much so that even back in the UK my instinct was to defensively stock up on food on Saturday, so I could survive the following day with no access to modern shopping facilities. For families this surely means that Sundays and bank holidays are treated as more of a family day, since very few people are working or out running errands, but equally that does mean that only Saturday is of any use to people who work full time Monday to Friday, despite Munich being a large and very modern city.
Surely these factors must have an effect on the way citizens lead their lives. I wonder to what extent…?