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Grocery shopping in Italy

Shopping in Italy can be quite a pleasant activity no matter what you are seeking, even in the cities. Often, simply strolling the streets will yield surprising outdoor markets and specialty stores, as well as larger grocery stores, or supermarkets. In these stores you can use coupons and buy larger quantities, but the local markets are more colorful and full of human interaction.

Below is a series of short conversations between a shopper and various staff, managers and owners of stores. Have fun reading, and next time you are in a store in Rome, try some of these useful phrases:

1) Conversation between a vendor and a client:

Venditore ambulante = hawker or local vendors (V)

Cliente= client (C)

Il venditore invita i passanti a comprare alla sua bancarella urlando: verdura fresca, zucchine, ciliege appena raccolte…… Buongiorno signora, come posso esserle utile? = Vendor is inviting passers by to come to his stand and he is yelling: fresh fruit, vegetables, zucchini, hand-picked cherries… Good morning madam, how can I help you?

C: Vorrei 1 Kg di questi pomodori Pachino e ¾ di ciliegie (750 gr). = I would like 1 kg of Pachino tomatoes and three-fourths of cherries.

V: Va bene! I pomodori, li vuole fare in insalata o per fare un sugo? Perchè i Pachino vanno bene per l’insalata e gli altri per un sugo = Would you like the tomatoes for salad or to make a tomato sauce? Because Pachinos are good for salads, the others for a tomato sauce.

C: I Pachino vanno bene! = Pachino tomatoes are good!

V: Qualcos’altro? = Anything else?

C: Un mazzetto di basilico, dell’aglio ed 1kg di melanzane = a bunch of basil, some garlic and 1 kg of eggplant.

Bene, quant’è? = Great, how much is it?

V: 10 euro = 10 euros

2) Conversation in a grocery store:

Cliente = C

Aiutante, assistente = A

C: Buongiorno, dove posso trovare le uova? = Good morning, where can I find eggs?

A: Dopo i prodotti in scatola = Next to the canned products.

C: Grazie = Thank you.

C: Mi scusi, sto cercando le mele = Excuse me. I am looking for apples.

A: Sono nel reparto frutta, tra le bevande e le merci in scatola = They are in the fruit  section, between the beverage and canned goods sections.

C: Grazie = Thank you

A: Prego = You are welcome

C: Mi scusi, sto cercando la pasta = Excuse me, I’m looking for pasta.

A: E’ nella corsia 6 = It’s in aisle 6.

C: Grazie = Thank you.

3) Conversation at the register:

A: Come va oggi? = How are you today?

C: Bene, grazie. = Well, thank you.

L’aiutante fa la scansione degli articoli = The assistant scans the items.

A: Ha la carta fedeltà? = Do you have a loyalty card?

C: No.

A: Allora sono 15euro. = Then that’s E.15.

A: Ecco il suo resto e lo scontrino. = Here is your change and your receipt.

C: Grazie = Thank you.

A:Grazie e arrivederci = Thank you. Bye.

4) Other conversations about food:

C: Vorrei 200 grammi di olive, per favore. = I’d like 200 grams of olives, please.

A: Qualcos’altro? = Anything else?

C: Si, vorrei 10 fette di prosciutto. = Yes, 10 slices of ham please.

A: Qualcos’altro? = Anything else?

C: No è tutto. = No, that’s all.

5) More conversations about food:

Responsabile = Manager (R)

Cliente = client

C: Non so dov’è il reparto carne = I don’t know where the meat department is.

R: Cammini lungo questa corsia, e vedrà la scritta reparto carne = Walk down this aisle all the way, and you’ll see the sign for the meat Department.

C: Grazie = Thank you.

La cliente cammina lungo la corsia e va al reparto carne ad ordinare della carne macinata magra e qui lei trova il macellaio = The client walks down the aisle. She goes inside the meat department to order lean ground beef. She meets the butcher.

Macellaio = butcher (M)

Cliente = Client

M: Come posso aiutarla signora? = How can I help you, Ma’am?

C: Ho bisogno di carne macinata magra senza grasso. = I need some lean ground beef.

M: Ci sono dei pacchi di carne macinata senza grasso fuori sugli scaffali. = There are quite a few packages of lean ground beef out on the shelves.

C: Sono là? Perchè non ho visto nessun pacco fuori. = Are they there? I didn’t see any ground beef out there.

M: Va bene. Le mostrerò dove sono esposti. Venga con me, prego. = Okay. I’ll show you where they are displayed. Come with me, please.

C: Bene, grazie. = Okay. Thank you.

A questo punto, il macellaio accompagna la signora al reparto dove sono esposti i pacchi della carne macinata e la cliente ne prende 2, quindi  va alla cassa e paga al cassiere 9 Euro in contanti. = At this point the butcher takes the client to the meat section where lean ground beef packages are displayed, and the client takes two packages, goes to the cashier and pays 9.00 euro in cash.

Ecco! A grocery shopping adventure, one that results in a wonderful assortment of food, and hopefully a great meal.

By Elisa Bressan


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