At the grocery store, you only get a shopping car (trolley) with a coin deposit. When you return the cart, you get your coin back. So there aren't carts lost in the parking lot and employees driving long trains of them back into the store. People use a trolley and then actually bring it back. It's a great system.
I wandered through the grocery store last night just trying to get my bearings a bit, looking for what was familiar and what was different. And trying to gauge costs. As I wandered I heard "Video Killed the Radio Star" playing over the speakers. Huh.
Here there are lots of different cultures represented so there is quite a bit of variety found in the grocery stores. I had been warned there wasn't much Mexican food, but I found a little section of it at the store and I was thrilled! I bought some Old El Paso Thick and Chunky Chipotle Salsa. I don't even remember how much it cost because there was no way I wasn't buying it. I also found tortillas and tortilla chips. In the Indian cooking section I found lots of the spices I was worried I wouldn't be able to buy here, and they were good prices, and they were large bags. No problem there. I didn't find whole wheat flour in the baking aisle, but I did find it in the Indian cooking section in a large bag for a good price. We're set.
I didn't find coconut milk at the first two stores I went to and I surprised because I thought that was a staple food in asian cooking. I did find oat milk, and since it's the only milk alternative I haven't tried yet, I thought I'd give it a go. All the others mess with my digestive system. So far so good.
Other goodies I found were cheap Ramen noodles, pasta sauce, and oats at a good low price. Actually I think they are cheaper than in the States. And the Nutella is cheaper here! There are also a variety of world sugars. They have different sugars from our the world with different underlying flavors. I got Coconut Blossom Sugar from Indonesia. It says it has tones of caramel and butterscotch. Yum! Across from the milk was pine bark chips. Like the kind you put on your flowerbeds. Of course, pine bark can be found in the dairy section.
What I have noticed at each store is that they don't seem to heat the building at all. I am not that cold walking about outside as I mentally am prepared for the cold and I keep moving briskly, but inside I expect to be warm. After shopping slowly for 30 minutes I realize my fingers and nose are cold and I'm shivering a bit. I wonder why they don't take action to make me want to stay in their store longer. The homes also seem a bit cold and drafty. I'm not sure they are aware of the advances in technology that can make the indoors more comfortable.
My assessment is that I'll be okay with the assortment of food there is here. The basic food staples are not much more expensive and in some cases are less expensive. When you get into prepared and processed foods it gets crazy expensive, but that's not how I cook anyway.