Russia is similar to America in that there are different categories of stores. In America near the small town where we lived, there were three main grocery stores you could choose from: The Dollar Store, The Wonder Market (family-owned store), and Wal-Mart. In Rostov, Russia, there are three main grocery stores too. Each store has its advantages and disadvantages. Among those are selection, convenience, prices, and whether you have to pay for bags.
The first option is Dixie (Дикси), and at least in our town, it is comparable to The Dollar Store. In the towns and cities I have visited, you can usually find a Dixie store fairly easily. These stores have a lot of the quick-stop type of things or last-minute things a person might be looking for. There is a pretty good choice of things a person could purchase. However, you might not find the size, brand, or variety of thing you are looking for. For instance, they have trash bags, but not the big size. They have toilet paper, but only four-roll packages. They have fresh vegetables and fruit, but not a vast variety you could find at one of the other stores. You don’t have to weigh the fresh vegetables and fruit. They do that at the checkout counter. You have to pay for the bags to carry the groceries. The bags are bigger than at Atroos.
A second option is Atroos (Атрус), which is comparable to the Wonder Market. It is a bigger store with more to chose from. There is a baby section, a decent toy section, variety of certain clothes, more options (brands) of cleaning products, hair products, personal products, kitchen items (including utensils, cookware, etc.), a bigger frozen food section, more bakery options, and a deli. The prices are comparable to Dixie, and you don’t have to pay for the bags to carry the groceries. The bags are not as good quality as at Dixie. Your children also get little toys for free, depending on how much you spend. Think of the little machines where you put in a quarter and get a ring, gumball, etc.
Magnit (Магнит) is a third option, and it is more comparable to Wal-Mart. It is a much bigger store with a lot more to chose from. In addition, it also has a pet store, a jewelry store, a home-decorating store, and an electronics store. The selection of items available is much better, as is the variety. There are groceries, household items, tools, clothing, shoes, a seafood counter, deli, and bakery. The amount of choices and variety is greater too. You can also purchase bigger quantities (sizes) of items. You have to weigh the fresh vegetables and fruit yourself, as well as certain frozen food items. They have packaged frozen food, or you can bag your own. You have to pay for the bags to carry the groceries, but they are even better quality than the ones from Atroos. The prices are slightly lower than at the other two stores.
I like each of these stores for different reasons. Dixie and Atroos are just a couple blocks from where we currently live, so they were very convenient for us when we didn’t have a car. They are still very convenient when I just need to get bread or juice. Magnit is about ten minutes away, so I don’t frequent it as often. I usually go there only if I need something in particular that I can’t get at one of the other two stores.
Since storage space is currently limited, we have to go to the store at least twice a week to buy food. Once we have our own house with more storage space, we will be able to “stock up” more, like we used to do in America. All three stores have debit card machines which are very helpful, so I don’t have to worry about having cash with me. They all have ATM machines too. All three stores are very clean and well-stocked. There’s also no problem finding a salesperson to ask a question. All three stores have some American brand-name products too.
In an upcoming article, I’ll discuss prices of various items that we have purchased, giving an idea of what it takes to feed our family of ten.