Monday, August 27, 2012


That's German for a drink market.

What's a drink market, you ask? Why, it's a store, that only sells drinks.. and promotes recycling, a novel, no brilliant idea, that we Americans should think more of.

Let me start by saying something aloud that you already probably already know about me.. I think the Europeans do it better. 'It' being... well, everything. No, I'm not being un-American. And no, you don't get to disagree with me until you have lived both places and can make the call for yourself. So until then, you can just listen to my opinion.

Shops in Europe are set up separately for the most part. What does that mean? You have one shop, a butcher, for meat, one shop, a getränkemarkt, that sells drinks, a market for fresh (and local! another concept America as a whole cannot fathom) fruits and veggies, a bakery that sells bread, etc. There are a few exceptions... stores that sell almost everything... a Wal-Mart, if you will, but SOOOO not as bad at Wal-Mart. These 'sell everything' stores, well, sell everything, but you lose a few things along the way. Quality - obviously. The atmosphere - obviously. And the experience - is that obvious? Going to these individual, locally owned stores, and picking out your fresh product is an experience. You don't go in a hurry to the Wal-Mart that is 2 miles away and try to get everthing done in thirty minutes, the whole time getting annoyed and frustrated with the people who don't drive fast enough, the parking spaces that aren't close enough, the carts that take up the whole aisle, the people in your way, etc. It's quite a concept.

Anyways, back to the getränkemarkt. The drink markets sell all drinks. It's like an ABC store in America, but they don't all look the same and they don't sell only alcohol, although we are talking about Europe here, so there is a plethora of beer and wine - liquor.. eh, not so much. Here at the getränkemarkt you buy your beverages in bulk. Drinks are sold in cases. Yes, you can of course by the individual bottle and if it's something new you want to try, by all means, do that. But for the most part, bulk. Prices are set for the bottle, for the case carrying the bottles, and the pfund (that's German for fund if you seriously couldn't figure that out) per bottle. Here's how it works. Say you are buying 12 bottles of sprudel, my favorite (carbonated water). First, you have to decide whether you are buying glass or plastic. Glass is cheaper. Why? Because it's much easier and much cheaper to recycle. (Side bar: Americans think it's crazy and ridiculous to drink anything except wine and beer in a glass bottle. They go to Europe and see people drinking a liter of water at the gym in a glass bottle, a liter of OJ or apple juice in a glass bottle, etc, and think it's crazy! It's not! It's green!) You pay a certain price for the beverage, the actual Sprudel I'm drinking (cheap, super cheap), a certain price for the bottle (most of which you will get back, that's the pfund), and a certain price for the carrying case (which is also a pfund deal i.e. when you bring it back, you get ALL the money back for it)! Is this confusing? Basically, all you need to know is, you pay more when you check out because basically, the carrying case and bottles are on loan to you and you are paying a sort of deposit on them (and by the way, you have no other option - nowhere can you buy a drink without the pfund amount attached). When you bring them back, empty, you get that money back or it is credited to your next getränk purchase. This whole idea encourages recycling!! You get paid to recycle... or pay if you don't! Ta-da!! Brilliant if you ask me!

Going home with a getränkemarkt purchase. A is one happy man. 

A single aisle at the getränkemarkt. Impressive, no?! 

A in his getränkemarkt heaven! A ginormous selection of beer!!

Our own getränkemarkt?! 

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