Frequently-asked questions – Shopping

Where do I find shops near where I live?

Go to In the box labelled “Was” (What), type in “Supermarket”, “Butcher”, “Baker” or “Department store”, for example. Enter the name of the town where you live in the “Wo” (Where) box, for instance “Köln” or “Hultrop”. It will then display a list of businesses.

Where can I get cheap groceries and products?

Usually products in larger shops are cheaper than small ones. If you want to save money, it’s best to shop in supermarkets or department stores. You can also buy cheap groceries at the weekly market. You will also find special offers in many shops. Flea markets are becoming increasingly widespread. You can buy especially cheap second-hand clothing, used furniture and many other household items there.

Additional information for asylum seekers

Second-hand clothing is also distributed free of charge by various aid organisations. Cheap clothes can also be obtained in second-hand shops, for example.

You can save a lot of money if you avoid buying branded products in stores and purchase own-brand products instead.

You can also often find special offers. These offers can often be found in promotional flyers. It is then possible to buy certain products cheaper for a limited amount of time.

Do not buy a plastic bag with every purchase. It is best to bring a fabric bag with you that you can use on every shopping trip. This way you can save money and protect the environment.

Where can I buy materials for home improvements?

In a DIY store (Baumarkt). You will find everything you need for home improvements here. They often sell furniture, plants and household items there as well.

Where can I buy a washing machine?

In some department stores and in specialist shops. Department stores and specialist shops will deliver the appliance to your home. But then it costs more. You can find used washing machines in the classified section in the newspaper. Or you can look on the internet. You usually have to collect second-hand washing machines yourself.

Where can I buy products from my home country?

Sometimes that is difficult. Some products are not available here. But cities often have smaller shops that sell products from many countries around the world. Major supermarkets also frequently stock international products.

Can I shop on a Sunday?

Generally not. In larger towns there is usually a grocery store at the main railway station. You can buy drinks at a kiosk. Fuel stations also sell drinks and groceries. You can also order food from a delivery service on a Sunday and in the evening.

Is internet shopping secure?

Not all offers are genuine. On the “Welcome to Germany” you will find some tips on safe shopping on the internet.

I have bought a faulty product. What can I do now?

Was the product faulty when you bought it? Then you are entitled to a two-year guarantee. You will be given a new product. Or you can return the product and have your money back. Or you don’t have to pay as much. What if you didn’t notice the fault until 6 months after you purchased it? Then you have to prove that the product was already faulty when you bought it.

I have questions about contracts of sale. Who can help me?

You can find important information about contracts of sale on the “Welcome to Germany” website. If you have problems, you can get help from the consumer centre. Click on the state in which you live on the home page. This will take you to advice centres or services via a link.

What is the difference between a drugstore and a pharmacy?

In a drugstore you can buy toiletries, household items and health products that do not require a prescription from the doctor. It is often possible to also buy food and organic products there.

On the other hand, a pharmacy mainly offers drugs and medicines for which a doctor’s prescription is often required.

Which basic food stuffs are native to Germany and where can I find some basic cooking recipes?

German basic foodstuffs include, for example, bread made of various cereals, pork meat, beef and poultry, fish, fruits and various vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, lentils and peas, onions and garlic, sugar, salt and pepper, cow’s milk and various dairy products such as cream, butter, cheese, yoghurt or curd, and beverages such as mineral water, juice, coffee or tea, etc.

You can find some recipes here, for example:

More questions? Contact the advisors at the Youth Migration Services.