September 19, 2007

Shopping

Posted in Day to day life, Shopping tagged , , , , at 5:15 pm by expatdiane

Shopping in Greece is a very different experience compared to that in the U.S. For starters, stores here are not open 24 hours and are closed on Sundays.The first and most obvious difference while shopping at the supermarket is when you have to insert a 50 euro coin piece to unlock a cart for use. The cart wheels swivel, making it difficult to get around especially if your cart is full. As you go through the check out line, you put your purchases on the counter and as they are checked through, you bag your own groceries. You then return the cart by locking it to the others and that’s when your 50 euro cent piece is returned to you.

Besides the supermarkets, there are specialty shops such as the butcher, bakery, produce and fish. The bread and desserts, are by far, the most enjoyable products in Greece along with the cheese of course. The breads are baked daily and you can smell that fresh bakery fragrance once you begin your approach. The desserts and pastries are also baked daily and they are very proud of these products, as they should be. Prices in specialty shops are usually cheaper then in a supermarket.

As for prices, if you attempt to live solely as you might in the U.S., prices are high. Fresh fruits and vegetables come from nearby and are usually great. The range of foods available used to be narrow but have widened over the last few years and it includes many American items or their equivalents. Of course you can’t get everything, but as time goes by, you learn to live without. Generally, food is fresher because it is seasonal and doesn’t travel as far than in the U.S. Location plays a big factor as can the season.

Shopping for clothing is another thing all together. There is not a great variety of products – what you find in one store, you are sure to find in another. Location plays a very important part on how much you will pay for an item. In one part of the city, an item might be a few Euros higher while in another, it is a few Euros lower. The same goes throughout the country.

Greeks are very fashion-conscious and buying more expensive appeals much more to the consumer. In the U.S., we prefer comfort over style, while here in Greece, it is the total opposite. Fashion is very important here and there is a large consumption in brand name clothing. Popular styles go in and out very quickly (one to two months). Clothing for babies are not made for comfort either (where are the snappy crotches?).

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July 29, 2007

Who wears short shorts?

Posted in Day to day life tagged , , , , at 9:03 pm by expatdiane

Greek women, that’s who. The theory among women here has always been less is more, but then again, that has only been when it comes to clothing. As of the summer, shorts are finally being worn out in public and it is acceptable attire. As the years have gone by, each summer, I have watched how clothing such as pants have started becoming shorter and shorter. I was very surprised when cropped pants hit the market and never thought I would see a Greek woman wear them. From there, came shorts, but those were only purchased to wear at home and never in public.

Who would have thought that it would have taken so many years. In the past, those wearing shorts out in the streets were only tourists. But don’t be fooled into thinking that we cannot figure out who is a tourist and who is actually Greek.