Lesson 1: To go shopping

I have come to realize that I’m not completely at ease with the Hungarian way of packing your groceries. You see, there is no real place for collecting them once the cashier scanned them. The only space left for the cashier to place your groceries on is a tiny platform barely big enough to hold a few peppers and a bottle of Pálinka. But, after numerous times of incorrectly packing my bags “the Swedish way” and therefore holding up the whole cue I realized there is a system. In most of the smaller to midsized shops, you will first unpack all your things from your basket only to quickly throw them all down into another basket as soon as the cashier scanned them. After that you take your things, and your plastic bag that you hopefully remembered to ask for (that is; if you you for once remembered how to say “bag” in Hungarian), to a small “packing station” where you can calmly pack all your things into the bag. If I’d only known his from the beginning! However, just because I figured out how that system works, it doesn’t mean that my troubles were over. You see, in the supermarket there is a completely different system. The platform at the end of the cash is slightly bigger but no matter how much you look for one; here you won’t find any packing station. Instead you’ll have to pack your things as quickly as you can before they start piling up (which they are most likely to do, if you go to the supermarket, it is usually for your weekly shopping which means – lots of stuff). Sooner or later you’ll find yourself with two things in each hand and nowhere to put them and the cashier will resolutely start filling your bags for being able to continue to scan the rest of the things. Being from the north where things have a tendency to move slowly, I find the whole situation rather stressful, I don’t want the cashier to feel like she has to do my part of the job just so she can complete her. And, imagine if she wouldn’t pack te things my way?  Maybe she will squeeze the eggs?! The Hungarians on the contrary seem all to be satisfied with this system and not at all bothered. What is it that I’ve missed? Are they all packing experts or is there a system within the system that I yet have to discover? I guess I will have to continue to do what I always do when shopping; intensively stare at the person in front of me to see (and one day hopefully figure out) how they succeed to complete this in my eyes highly complicated procedure. I might look really stupid but I guess someone should fulfill the stereotype of the weird foreigner, so in the supermarket, why not just let it be me?

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