Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Life in Austria. Part 4a. Shopping: Sticker Shock

Back with some more of the Life in Austria series. It's been awhile.

This time, ladies, we're talking shopping. I've been wanting to tell you about this for awhile now, but without photos..it ain't so fun (or even believable). So, I finally bit the bullet and have been risking my residence status snapping crappy iPhone pictures in the stores.

They don't like it. They think you're trying to copy their displays or possibly show people outside of Austria (who know better) how ridiculous their prices really are (which is exactly what I was doing!). I was caught only once in my sneaky endeavors with a mere scolding. And if any of you own an iPhone (I'm guessing half of you do) you know how long you have to hold that thing still after you snap or else the whole things a blur. Makes for harder snap and go's.

Ok, so back to the topic at hand. I will sum it up with this statement:

except olive oil, ice cream and flowers

Ok, so some things are about the same, but I would venture to say that 80% of things are more...and not even a little more, but at least 35% more...sometimes double, sometimes triple. The Euro has been declining in the past 6 months, so the conversions to dollars aren't quite as appalling as they used to be. (Today we're at $1.23 for every 1,00...they use commas as decimals and decimals where we use commas...just to be canty.)

When Art's dad was over here, he almost fell over when he saw a flashlight at a mom and pop store marked at 85 . He owns the same flashlight in the States that he bought for $25. (Believe me..it was the same..he and Art know their gadgets.) That's an extreme case, although not rare...welcome to our life!

So, without further ado...a glimpse of hell:



Kitchen stuff kills me. Especially since all of our nice wedding gifts are sitting in my mom's closet at home! (At least they better be..Mom..are you usin' my All-Clad?) Williams-Sonoma is Bed, Bath & Beyond (in prices) compared to what we got here.

I used to read my American magazines at the store (look at pictures really), but I don't even bother anymore. Occasionally I can read about these celeb bimbos in the gym in the German versions...and it's more entertaining in German.


Cosmetics are one of the worst offenders. I've been having my visitors bring over a Laura Mercier concealer here, some econo-size Biosilk for my hair there.



And, I believe Oil of Wizard of Olaz runs about the same. Stash up on that sh!t and lather your life in it.

And, I'll be back later this week with a trip to the grocery store and some other stuff...

In the meantime, go to Target and give it a kiss and hug for me.


Sneaker Teacher said...

I could not believe the cost of the Kitchen Aid mixers when we first moved! My husband wanted to get a power converter so we could use ours from the US and I convinced him that making sure the butter is soft enough and using a whisk is just as good. I haven't used electric beaters or a mixer since we arrived and I am just fine....WAY too much money!

Edelweiss Cowgirl said...

I hear ya! And where we live, things tend to be even MORE expensive because we're just across the border from Switzerland. I'll buy maybe one pair of jeans a year in Austria and then wait til I'm in the States again to stock up. I always travel back home with one empty suitcase :-) The only things I've found that are cheaper here are flowers and wine. The wine prices in the US are outrageous!

Juliette said...

it is HORRIBLE, isn't it?? We spent $40 in the US on a transformer so we could use our 3 US appliances over here and avoid the astronomical cost of re-purchasing everything. Best $40 we EVER spent! We can use our American Kitchen-Aid, Cuisinart, DVD player, and now a digital camera b/c you know I'm not buying a camera in Germany when I can get one from the US!

Yeah, and my fave Clinique brow liner is about 25 Euro here...ugh. I'm going to the US next week and am totally stocking up! =P

Rachel in Graz said...

Prices have always been higher in Austria & Switzerland than the rest of Europe (apart from Andorra and Monaco of course!) - something to do with mountains? Generally though, people are much better off than in the rest of Europe, some consolation for being burdened with a yokel accent?! Ice cream and flowers are also cheaper here though. Love your undercover reportage, you should try & get arrested then you could be in the Kleine Zeitung ;p

Anonymous said...

you are of course right in general, but with regards to the magazines: the ones you have picked are british. the german/austrian version is much, much cheaper! it would be like buying german magazines in the US, of course they are stupidly expensive as they have to be imported. try buying local goods (if possible)-saves you some money. hope you still enjoy shopping though! jules

Carolyn said...

Hi Jules.

I know the German versions are cheaper, but I can't really read those so well! Getting there...slowwwwlllyy.

Erin said...

oil of wizard of olaz. LMAO like whoa.

Molly said...

WAIT. not okay! I was planning on doing a bunch of back to school shopping in euro. i thought the dollar was getting a little stronger over there? h&m is still cheapy right!? i gotta have me some austrian fashions for senior year!

Unknown said...

I know, it's a trying thing. For years now when I come to visit family or shop in Europe for things I love I'm washed out...
But there are great things as well which are not so expensive! And good! I am not always looking at high end brands!


Kimberly said...

I know. I know. I know. It is painful here in Perth too, oh wise webmaster. The lil ol playkitchen that Amy gave/sold for cheap to me for Chloe was $65 new in US and I have seen it for $200 here. Kitchen Aids are also in the $700's. Loved the post. I guess at some point you just stop having sticker shock and really think about what you NEED. I do so miss those Target raids though!

Don Sislbe said...

You hit the nail on the head, Carolyn! We would always ask our visitors to bring us OTC drugs, cosmetics, and the other stuff you can't live without. We were also fortunate to have magazine subscriptions come through the inter-office mail. Maybe friends could bring you a few mags, too.

But when you go to the grocery store, be sure to check the prices on (real) champagne and good French wines. We'll be buying some of that this summer, as well as all those yummy meats, cheeses & breads. BTW, a wand mixer (purchased at Media Markt) made great frijoles out of red kidney beans. (Don't laugh until you try it.)

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jja said...

Kitchen Aid is really expensive, but only because it is foreign brand ;-), similar gadgets from Bosch or Siemens are 50% less but not less good at all.
Why it has to be Kitchen Aid? I guess german bread is also not cheap in USA.
And some german cosmetic brands are really cheap (3-4 e for a oisturizer)and good. For shoes, you can find good leather shoes for less then 80,00 € regular price. About food - we have to learn less is more, most of diseases we have last years are simply from having too much of food...
and yes, cheap meat full of hormones is worse then organic steak once a week.

Krista said...

Wow...i never really shopped for that kind of stuff here in Europe. I shop on the military base or order online. People always tell me its cheaper to buy on the economy but once you convert it over to dollars they can be so outragiously priced! But I bet its more expensive because the American stuff is imported.

Jenny said...

Really? The Kitchen Aid is 599€ in Austria? I live in Germany (I'm German) and saw them at Media Markt the other day... for 725€!!! I never knew there was such a big difference between prices in Austria and Germany! I knew that gas was cheaper, but this is insane!

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