Going out to eat then and now: in the supermarket only with a shirt


There were no restaurant visits in the childhood of our author. Today a purchase costs as much as before the crisis a nice trip to the pizzeria.

A person eats a doner kebab

A doner kebab after football – that was something special Photo: Peter Witt/Gonzales Photo/picture alliance

I only know going out to eat from the second half of my life. I would explain the concept to my self from the first half like this: You go to strangers, they cook for you and clean up again, you give them money for it and then go home again. That didn’t happen in the first half because it’s obviously cheaper to cook and clean up yourself.

It is true that the economist David Ricardo came around the corner at the beginning of the 19th century with his concept of comparative cost advantages. The concept states that each country should specialize in the production and export of those goods that have the lowest costs (thanks, high school!). Ricardo explained this using the example of England and Portugal and the trade in cloth and wine. For us (first half) it was – and in some cases still is – and it was passed on into the 21st century and through many generations as a deep conviction – that it is always best to do everything yourself.

That’s why the doner kebab, which we sometimes had on the way home from the football tournament at the weekend, was the only thing that almost came under the eating out category in the first half. But only almost, because then we’d rather eat it on a bench at a rest stop than in a diner: sweaty boys in tracksuits and a grown man sitting together on a noisy street in silence, biting into something wrapped in aluminum foil. They probably sat there because the person who had to make the decision didn’t like being served by others. Even though I’ve gotten used to it now and really enjoy eating out in restaurants, I still get a little uneasy when a stranger brings me food.

Maybe I don’t have to deal with such irritations so often anymore. Eating out could gradually return to me the position it once had for my ancestors. A few days ago I marched through the one supermarket where I always seek refuge from the second half of my life after work. Here, function, price and size come before a pleasant, aesthetically clear shopping experience. Shopping is not just shopping. In addition, the parking lot of this supermarket reminds me of the rest area from back then.

disaster receipt

So I march purposefully through the huge hall that is so familiar to me, intuitively reach for what I usually reach for and queue up at the cash register. The receipt that the cashier hands me breaks the familiarity. I am shocked by the price of buying the pizza ingredients and think of the bill from a visit to a pizzeria not too long ago. Meanwhile, shopping is in the supermarket thanks to inflation, it’s as expensive as eating out used to be. Next time I’ll put on a shirt.



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