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Living in Costa Rica Storires: The Multiple Supermarket Check Out

The Costa Rican Times has decided to add a column where both our readers as well as our staff can share stories about living in Costa Rica.  If you go outside your house, apartment, or condo in Costa Rica, things will happen to you each and everyday that will both annoy you and have you say in your mind “Are you kidding me?”.  This happens in your day to day activities each day if you are living in Costa Rica.  Read and share your stories today!  (Submission info is at the bottom of each article in this section)

The Multiple Supermarket Check Out

Going out in Costa Rica is always an interesting event, you should get used to something odd or unusual or frustrating happening each time you venture int the wild that is living in Costa Rica.

This next story although short you will run into about 50% of the time you are out picking up groceries.  It does not matter if you are headed to Mas x Menos, Automercado, Pali, or Perimercado this happens at all of them.

If you are single or shopping for a family you will, venture up and down the isles getting either your daily or weekly rations of food.  I always used to enjoy looking at the women that were there, although I was told the supermarket was a great place to meet women I never had to balls to go up to a woman dragging two kids with her to ask for a date.

After gathering all the things you need you will then head to the check out.  Most of us look for the line with the least number of people in it thinking that this will be the quickest way to pay and get home before the ice  cream melts.  In most places this would be the correct choice.  Do not expect that to be so in Costa Rica.

50% of the time you are going to get the multiple check out person, which is lots of fun.  They will have 1 basket fuoll of items and after sending 5 to 10 things across the scanner whip out the 10,000 colones that their aunt gave them to pay for that.  Then after the next 4 items they will present the 5000 colones in change that their sister game them.  Finally, they will make the purchases for Uncle Jose and themselves.  Each time paying with the money that the family member had given them to keep track.

After all the 4 unique check outs have been accomplished you will notice that the line with 3 people had been checked out for about 15 minutes.

If that was not enough you can also count on the shopping while in line person.  This is the lovely person that parks their basket in line and sends the 2 kids and/or husband to complete the shopping while they are in line.  In most cases not finishing the shopping until they have held up the line and the cashier for about 10 minutes.

Bring a good music playlist and enjoy these fun quirks of Costa Rica.

Share Your living in Costa Rica Stories by submitting them to [email protected].  Stories should be no more than a page and a half in Microsoft Word.  You can submit your name if you want, if not that is fine as well.  Some people come to CR and experience culture shock and leave, lets tell the truth about day to day life in Costa Rica.

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  1. Joe de Tambor said:

    I have been in Costa Rica twice: in 2006 for 2 months with a residence in Tambor (at the tip of the Nicoya peninsula) and in 2012 for 1 month with a residence in San Ramon de Alajuela and a lot of time spent in Palmares de Alajuela, too. I did visit San Jose and other parts of Costa Rica, as well. My experience in most retail stores was not that much different than what I experience in the U.S.A. where I have lived for 69 years.

    The *problem* customers that can sometimes be in front of me may have differenct reasons in the U.S.A. than the multiple purchases described in this article, however, they still have the same effect; that of making me stand in line for a long time.

    By the way, when I go to large discount stores in the U.S.A. I am usually buying for 1 or 2 other people so that I separate each group of purchases in order to have a single receipt for each purchase. ;^)

    I don’t mean to say that there are no annoying things that happen in Costa Rica; like the very slow response from any government office to any request; and like the often incorrect or misleading signs in stores, on the street, etc.; and of course the missuse of the Spanish language by local people when making signs; and the way most drivers seem to try to run people off the street. All I’m saying is that every country has its own special types of issues that will be annoying to both residents and tourists. And, generally, I felt my time spent in Costa Rica was very pleasant and enjoyable so that I am considering establishing residency in the country.

    • admin said:

      Joe while I respect your opinion and believe it has merit I think you need to spend about a year straight living here to really understand the inefficiencies. Costa Rica can pull the wool over anyone’s eyes for a short period of time. Great place to vacation (1 month or 2 is a vacation), and a great place to retire but not the greatest place to try to make a living and work.

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