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Food Shopping in Italy - Italian Grocery Shopping Guide

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Shopping at an Italian Supermarket - Buying Groceries
supermarket shopping italy, italian supermercato, shopping in italy

Supermarket Shopping in Italy: Selecting Vegetables in an Italian Supermercato

Italy Picture © James Martin, Europe for Visitors
Buying Groceries at an Italian Supermarket is pretty much the same as it is in any Supermarket, with a few exceptions. You can see one of them in the picture. Here are the differences:

Some enormous Italian supermarkets will charge you 1 Euro for a cart. You'll need a 1 Euro coin to free the cart so you can push it around. This is not true of small supermarkets in Italy, thank goodness. In fact, I've never had to pay for using a cart.

The picture above shows me buying vegetables at my local supermarket. Yes, I have plastic gloves on. You'll find them in the section with the fruits and vegetables, and you're expected to use them. Here's the procedure for buying loose vegetables and fruits:

  • Find a plastic bag for your purchase
  • Fill it with item(s) you wish to purchase from a bin
  • Look for and remember the code on the bin's label
  • Place your bag on the scale and push the button that corresponds to the code (usually a number)
  • Wait for a printed sticker to exit the scale and paste it on the bag.

You're all set! And you did it without needing a word of Italian!

If you don't follow this procedure, the checker will have to do it for you when you check out. This does not make the people behind you in line inclined to like you very much.

The other thing that's different in an Italian supermarket is that you might have to pay a small amount for a bag to carry your purchases. After the items are scanned they'll be shoved into a holding area where you are expected to bag them yourself. This is best accomplished with two people, one to bag and the other to try to figure out how much to pay. Paying isn't always as easily as just holding out a bill larger than you think you'll need; Italy is chronically short of small change, so it's likely that they'll badger you for your coins.

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