Bagging up cultural differences

By Hannah Dustman


Colorful groceries, Florence. Photo by Hannah Dustman

FLORENCE, Italy – I bought several apples, a couple of ripe bananas and a soft loaf of bread on my first trip to Conad, an Italian grocery in the historic center of town, totaling just around €3.

I always thought traveling, especially abroad, would be expensive. But a carton of raspberries was roughly €2 and I have paid upwards of $4 for approximately the same amount at home. Even with the exchange rate favoring the euro, this is nearly half price at $2.28. Additionally, a box of Conad brand pasta was only 44 cents. While it is relatively inexpensive to buy pasta in the U.S., it is not usually 44 cents-cheap.

Another thing I learned from my first visit to the Italian grocery store was each shopper bags and weighs their produce and adds the price label themselves before going to check out. Being unaware of this, I had difficulty understanding what the clerk was instructing me to do. It was like he was speaking a foreign language…oh wait.

“I’ll know better next time,” I said with a nervous smile, not in Italian. Back to the moment at hand, I bagged up, reminded that I was half way around the world.




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