You wake up in the morning, go to make breakfast and plan your meals for the rest of the day, and you realize: you need to go to the store. On most days, this is a non-event. But today? A Sunday, or worse- a PUBLIC HOLIDAY. What do you do? Where can you go?
Luckily, there are a few grocery stores that stay open most days of the year in Vienna. The bad news? Everyone else in the entire city also forgot something and is going to the store today. But, if you follow this guide, you’ll breeze through the store like a pro.
Do: Make your lists in the order of the store
This is something your future self will thank your past self for. Write your list in this order: fruits and veggies, meat, dairy and eggs, alcohol, and then everything else. Billa is set up in a way so you can walk through it one time with the flow of traffic. Along that line…
Don’t: Go back unless you have to
Okay, this sounds a little dramatic. But this isn’t Finding Nemo, you don’t need to swim against the current. People will be annoyed, and only a few will move out of your way. If you forget something, you can of course brave the current- but be apologetic, and move quickly.
Do: Bring your own bags
Austria is super environmentally friendly! Unlike other places, every bag you use costs money. I suggest buying a few reusable bags and using those instead of buying paper or plastic bags every time. You’ll save a little money, and help the environment too!
Don’t: Bag at the checkout
The first thing people remark about the grocery shopping here: checkout is a stressful experience. As soon as the item is scanned, put it back in your cart or basket and move on to the next item. Don’t try to arrange your groceries in your bag at the register- there are tables past the registers meant for that! Just throw everything in, pay, and then go bag everything.
Do: Keep your eye out for another register opening
If there are a lot of people in line, chances are that an employee will open another register. This is usually good, but…
Don’t: Stampede to the second register
It’s Viennese culture to move as fast as possible to the new register. If you think you can make it there and it’ll take less time than the line you’re in, then go for it. But don’t be the guy that elbows an older woman out of the way to get there.
So, the next time you forget something at the store, don’t sweat it- you’re ready to master Billa in Praterstern!