My first mission when we moved to Beijing was to find a grocery store where I could do my weekly shopping. It has been quite a roller coaster eight months since we have arrived in Beijing. I have found normal markets, big supermarkets, small supermarkets, international supermarkets, and Chinese supermarkets. I have tried online grocery services, but something always went wrong. I had heard of METRO supermarkets but the idea of needing a membership card was just a bit daunting. I tried to get the METRO membership card online but it did not work so I continued to shop at Carrefour, Jinkelong, Jenny Lou’s, and the Sanyuanli market. However, shopping regularly at these spots can be bit of a hassle with a toddler.
As with loads of difficult situations as an expat, conquering these hurdles was just a matter of putting on my brave adult boots and trying to find a solution to my grocery woes. I sent an email to customer service at METRO asking if I could get a membership card in the store. The service representatives informed me that I could. My ayi wrote down the address for the closest METRO in my taxi book and off me and my daughter went to the location.
When my daughter and I arrived we found enormous shopping trolleys, unfortunately with no children’s seats, but since my daughter is almost four she just sat in the trolley and occasionally walked herself. They do have a public toilet and seating area by the entrance of the store.
I took my passport, address, and phone number to customer service and filled out the majority of the form, after which a nice gentleman filled out my address in Chinese. The employees at the service desk were very friendly and helpful even if they did not speak English. After filling out the form, the lady put all the information in the computer and printed my free membership card. I then had to scan two QR codes so that if I forgot the card at home I could still use the digital WeChat membership code.
We entered the Aladdin’s cave of grocery stores. One has the option to buy in bulk or simply buy regular portions of items. They have everything Carrefourour has and more. The cleaning supplies, personal care, and canned goods are all cheaper than anywhere I have been thus far. I have found several hard to find products like: pizza bases, frozen peas, and sugar-free yogurt.
The grocery store is surprisingly clean and devoid of ladies screaming through microphones. METRO has home delivery service and if you spend RMB 2000 they will deliver all the groceries for free, in the area, on the same day. If you want to get home delivery but not spend this amount separate your groceries and take the fresh supplies home with you, as they don’t guarantee same day delivery. Make sure to inform the cashier that you want home delivery before they start scanning your groceries.
This place is great for a monthly grocery trip, for the needs of big families, and batch cooking. I felt so happy after this grocery shop experience that I felt compelled to share this information with my fellow expat shoppers. My experience at METRO was as easy and relaxing as a grocery store experience can be with a toddler in tow.
Pauline van Hasselt has been working for beijingkids since October 2016. Born in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, she moved with her husband and her 3 year-old daughter to Beijing in June of last year. Prior she lived in the Netherlands, Belgium, Paraguay, Texas, and London, studying and working as a chef. Pauline enjoys biking around Beijing, finding markets and new restaurants, reading crime and fantasy books in bed, and most importantly, turning her house into a home for her family.