Shopping in foreign climes can be fun – and challenging. Will you find what you are looking for easily? How do you overcome language barriers? Is everything somehow in English as well as the local language?
My experience over the past two weeks shopping in Berlin has been “interesting”….here’s why.
Thank you Google Translate!
It was on my very first trip to Kaisers, a big retail chain in Germany, when I felt lost and most vulnerable. Everything, I mean even the minutest detail on the label of every product is in German!
Since I wasn’t prepared the first time, I ended up buying just beer and a sandwich that looked edible.
The next time onwards I was more prepared so I turned to my oh-so-amazing Google Translate app (https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/google-translate/id414706506?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2) which translated information on products, helping me know the things I need to before making the purchase. Amazing!
I am still not quite sure what a “Saftwürstl” is though……;) no doubt one of our Munich colleagues can help me.
Who Can Advise me?
Usually, I am a rather independent yet informed shopper, I like being left alone to make informed product and brand choices. However, whenever I did face some difficulty shopping in Mumbai, all I needed to do was look up and there was always someone around to help me out.
In Germany, however, when I stepped into DM to buy sun block, I used the Google translate app and narrowed down to two products.
However the app failed to tell me the difference between the two products of the same brand. Since there was no one around to help me out with knowing the difference, I ended up selecting one, purely based on my instinct.
Where’s the Butter?
Another small, yet quite challenging aspect was that the packaging of categories – such as butter – look quite different here.
I realised this when I wanted to get some butter and couldn’t find it at all easily.. In India, it is usually wrapped in butter paper and then boxed in a cardboard carton, here it is wrapped in an aluminium foil, which made me totally miss it when I walked past the section about 2-3 times.
Despite these challenges, I really enjoyed shopping because it brings in some adventure to routine chores.
Apps such as google translate are invaluable – help you understand just enough for the “strange” to see “exciting” and not just a bewildering array of unfamiliar signs. Lost in translation is a great film, but the feeling can be a bit scary.
Next time anyone is visiting Mumbai, maybe you can do the same – go shopping, share your experiences in a blog, and drop by our offices of course ;)
That’s it for now – next week and my final blog post from Germany……Mumbai street food coming to Berlin!
Watch this space!