Ah, the Australian grocery stores. We engage in a love-hate relationship, drawing battle lines as I approach its entrance. Some days I win, and others I am beaten to a pulp. Being a stay at home mum, I spend lots of time at the markets and grocery stores and can tell you which ones are better than others. For instance the St. Kilda Coles is awful while the Coles in Elsternwick is pretty good and Wooly’s (Woolworth’s) seems to be better for fresh food, especially as a one-shop-stop with 2 children in tow. Many Coles and Wooly’s also have an attached liquor shop which the state of New Jersey, unfortunately, cannot compete with.
Shopping Trolleys (carts)
Beware of the 4 wheel drive swivel! Apparently, Australians find it easiest to drive a trolley with 4 swiveling wheels rather than having 2 fixed wheels and 2 turning ones. I find it downright dangerous! If you prefer to drive straight don’t use a trolley, they only drive at an angle. Perhaps it has something to do with the Earth’s gravitational pull on the other side of the world, because I know of no other logical explanation. Try steering one of these bloody trolleys up a ramp, around a corner, through crowded aisles just to get a box of cereal (while building arm strength.) I’ve had multiple, minor collisions (watch out, here comes that American again) but I’ve seen locals struggling too. Also note that you need your dollar or 2 dollar coin to unlock your trolley for use and stay to the left. Riiight.
Just to note: I do remember using a shopping cart in Europe somewhere on the border between the Czech Republic and Poland(don’t ask) with only 1 child and having similar complaints (no coins for a cart, running into end-caps, etc.) So perhaps, the US is the odd man out… but the only one driving straight.
Do you like your cheese “tasty?” I do, but I’m not sure I want that to be its cheese category. Well, the Aussies have lots of “Tasty” cheese, “Extra Tasty” cheese, “Light and Tasty” cheese and even “Kosher Tasty” cheese. Personally, I stick to the blocks of “sharp” cheddar.
It can be a rough and tumble experience but Australian grocery stores are an excellent source of amusement for an expat, especially as validation that you are doing it the right way back home.