Don't get me wrong, I love Penny markt for it's low, low prices and the fact that there is a branch two minutes from my flat, but it does manage to anger me in ways I had previously never thought possible. First of all, there are the general problems with all supermarkets in Germany - very few healthy/low fat options, fruit and veg on sale that is clearly past it's best, utterly, utterly random items for sale...the list goes on. Secondly, a problem that is especially true of my local Penny, is that they will not open a second till, even if the schlange is halfway round the shop and people are looking distinctly mutinous. No, instead of just halving the queue by putting an extra person on the tills, the staff of Penny markt will continue to potter about, ordering the meat in the fridges and generally just looking a little bit vacant and soulless.
This is all fine, and sometimes really quite funny, except for the fact that occasionally, you are in a hurry. Occasionally, you don't want to stand in a queue for half an hour to buy the eggs, milk and bread you 'just popped out' to get. Going to Penny at any normal hour of the day, or indeed, in the hour before closing time (10pm) often requires the precision planning of a military operation. You speedily traverse the drinks aisle, skip ice-cream and frozen pizza altogether, swing through dairy products, grab a bag of frozen veg ('frisch' is not the word for much of the the produce sold there) and barrel down the bread section into the queue. Always try to get ahead of those doing a big shop. Avoid trolly clashes in the ridiculously thin aisles. Do not get between a man and his Milka.
If ever you decide to visit/live in Germany for a while (and I would highly recommend that you do), save some time to visit Penny. Take in the atmosphere of borderline chaos...and then go to Rewe. It's my supermarket of choice when the madness of Penny is too much, and when I want some quality ingredients. Or beef.
P.S, here are some pictures of the madness of the German Supermarkt...
From the top...Bizarre advertising. Exeptionally useful 'Easter Grass', Black Power Chocolate. Sweetcorn-flavour yoghurt, and a miniature wheelie bin. Utterly inexplicable.