Grocery Shopping in New Zealand
When we finally made it to our apartment in Auckland that first night we were all tired, hungry, out of our element, and unsure what to do next. We knew we needed to eat dinner, so we decided to make our way down the street to a grocery store that our host had told us about. We came out of the apartment building and headed in what we thought was the direction of the store only to discover as we were walking through somewhat darker, sketchier looking streets that we were headed in the wrong direction. We turned back around and began walking towards more well-lit streets and finally stumbled upon a grocery store. We walked up the stairs and came face to face with more uncertainty. As we stood in the entrance of the store I look around and my heart dropped to my stomach. My first thoughts were, “this is the smallest grocery store I’ve ever seen,” and “what am I supposed to feed my kids, I don’t even know where anything is, let alone what most of it is!” but with kids in hand we began our search for dinner.
As many parents may agree, taking your kids to the grocery store can be a challenge and it can be even more challenging when you are trying to hurry. Now add being in an unfamiliar store, with unfamiliar food, 3 extremely tired hungry children, one of them being so ridiculously picky when it comes to food, and the stress level of the mom is going to go through the roof! Not only did we need dinner but I figured we should probably pick some things up for breakfast as well. We found the cereal aisle and I thought, this should be easy right? No, enter first fight with the picky one.
She takes her first glance at the selection and finds that nothing looks familiar, the pouty face begins and the refusal to eat any of it ensues. I point out a Fruit Loops lookalike – “I don’t eat those” , Corn Flakes – “the box is different and they are not frosted”, and this continues for a few minutes until we finally settle on a bag of Cocoa Crispies and what looks like Corn Chex (Crispix), only to discover the next morning that picky child won’t eat those either because the box says they have Honey on them.
So after 45 minutes in a grocery store trying to find something familiar to eat, enduring sticker shock at what seems to be astronomical prices, and a few (many) arguments about food, we managed to get chicken and potatoes for our dinner, pay for it and head back to the apartment.
I have learned a few things since that first grocery shopping experience a few weeks ago. That particular store was just a smaller version for downtown and getting out into residential areas the stores are “normal sized”. That said, the variety and selections are still very slim. Finding cereal is still a struggle, prices are still higher and I cringe every time I shop. I have managed to find substitutions for our meals to try and make them appear “normal” to my kids so they won’t go hungry, everyone in the store always seem to be rushed and I continue to feel a little bit of stress and anxiety every time I go. Mostly I have discovered that grocery shopping here in New Zealand is an adventure!