Grocery shopping is a task people do all over the world. You don’t think much about it, nor is it something you would worry about doing elsewhere. However, I quickly discovered during my first grocery-shopping trip in Buenos Aires that it is not the same everywhere nor is it always as easy. First of all, language is going to be the obvious challenge, so be patient and allow ample time for your shopping trips. In addition, shopping is a fantastic way to learn food vocabulary, so take time to enjoy it! However, there are a few customs here that are very different (than those of the United States at least) and may confuse or frustrate you.
First of all, you are definitely going to learn a lesson about patience during your stay in Argentina. The Argentines are a very relaxed group of people. They take their time to eat, to socialize, to respond to emails… to do pretty much everything. Therefore, you will be better prepared and less frustrated if you just accept and embrace this. Your shopping trips are not going to be as quick or organized as they are in many other countries.
Secondly, when you arrive at the register, the checker will ask you, “¿Enviar a domicilio?” The checker is asking if you want your groceries delivered to your house. I did not know this my first time shopping, so I was really confused about what was going on. I could not figure out why the checker was asking for my passport number and address. I thought she was asking rather personal questions. In addition, I did not know my groceries were going to be delivered until after they had packed all of the food. Unfortunately, they had also packed the food I was buying for my lunch, so I had to search through and pull these items out.
Another good fact to know is that someone will only bag your groceries if you have them delivered to your house. Otherwise, it is up to you to do the bagging. Therefore, you might as well get busy while the checker is ringing in all of your food. While food delivery is wonderful for those who do not have a car and want to buy a lot of groceries, there are several drawbacks as well. The whole delivery process really slows the line down. Asking for everyone’s address information takes a great deal of time, so you may find yourself in the line for at least 20 minutes on a busy day. In addition, it can take up to three hours to receive the groceries at your house. Consequently, you may have to give up other plans you had, at least until the food arrives.
On that note, this is just another example of where you will learn patience. Your daily tasks will most likely be more time consuming than you are accustomed to. However, with time, you will learn to go to the little neighborhood stores for quick items and the little veggie stores for the freshest vegetables. Be patient with the customs in Argentina as well as with yourself. You will eventually get the hang of things, and soon grocery shopping will just be another daily task.
Popular Grocery Stores in Argentina
- Jumbo – has food, clothes, items for the home, etc.
- Easy – items for the home
A Jumbo Supermarket and an Easy Supermarket are located in the same shopping center downtown.
Avenida Bullrich 345 – Capital Federal
4778-8011 / 22
Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 22:00 hs.
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