The stars aligned and my roommate needed to go to the grocery store at the same time that I did. A seemingly small detail to most, but it was huge for me. That meant we were going to the cool grocery store in a car. I didn’t have to haul groceries of many flights of stairs through various train stations and elevators. Awesome!
The two main grocery stores here are Coles and Woolworths (affectionately known as Woolys). The Woolworths we went to was up in Neutral Bay, well out of biking distance from home. This grocery store was one of the premier stores in North Sydney.
As with any major city, space is always at a premium. Our building is no exception. The first seven floors are parking for the rest of the building. Even then, the builders looks for every way to maximize space. My roommate’s car was actually underground. A lift brings it up to ground level!
I’m continually surprised by how expensive food is here. Jarlsberg cheese comes from Norway and in theory is equidistant between Sydney and San Francisco. At Costco, the Jarlesberg cheese was about $12 per pound. Here at Woolworths, it was a whopping $42 per kilogram. Translated, that’s about $19 per pound. Ouch!
I’ve often heard people mentioned the drinks are equally expensive here. I found this 24 pack of Coca-Cola that was selling rate at about $26. It wasn’t on sale so I figured that was the going rate. It’s been a long time since I’ve bought soft drinks at the grocery store. Looking at Safeway.com, a 20 pack of Coke is about $9. Doh!
There are also differences in the culture from the language. When I first stumbled across a box of Sultana Bran I had to do a double take as there was a bit of déjà vu. It was clear from the box that it was Raisin Bran. The box looked almost identical to what you find in the United States. Raisins are just not called raisins here in Australia. Apparently raisins are called sultanas.
The night before I saw an ad on TV for Uncle Toby’s granola bars. Being in the store, I figured I’d give them a taste test against Nature Valley. I think Toby wins this one. 🙂
What really impressed me though was the handle on the shopping cart. This thing had everything in Australian power shopper needed. It swivels on a dime, comes with a cup holder and has power handles so you can easily drive it through the store. I could feel my man card jump up piloting this thing through the store.
I’m now easily set for the next 2 to 3 weeks. It was nice getting the bulky items like paper towels, toilet paper and things in boxes like granola bars. In general, I’m not missing having a car. It’s just for certain occasions it makes life a lot easier. 🙂