France - How to Shop
Small shops are becoming rare in France, but bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and florists, are still around and sell high quality products. The typical French household does the weekly shoppping at the hyper- or supermarket, where groceries are cheaper.
Sales / special offers / promotions
Leaflets with special offers are being dropped in your mailbox. Otherwise you can find special offers in the local newspapers.
- Winter: from the beginning of January until the middle of February
- Summer: from the middle of July until the end of August
Outside the sales periods, shops have 'liquidations' with special promotions and very reduced prices.
Forms of payment
All shops accept payments by cash, credit card and check, but there is a minimum amount of 15 euros if you want to pay by credit card or check. In the hypermarket, credit cards are accepted even if you spend less than one euro. When paying by check, you have to present your identity card or a passport.
Discount using in-store cards
Most of the hyper- and supermarkets offer discount cards, some work like a credit card. For this you need to sign up for a credit arrangement with your financial service. With a discount card you collect points with which you receive more reductions or you can choose free articles in the supermarket booklet.
Most of the time you have 15 days to return an article. To get the reimbursement you need to go back with the receipt and the article, which must be in perfect condition, not used.
For fresh products, you need to go back the same day. The market can either reimburse you or exchange the product. Electronics have a 2 year guarantee. The service called "S.A.V" (after sales service) will repair or replace your article.
For ease of shopping
To find the nearest shop, look in the yellow pages under supermarche and hypermarche.
The newest fashion at the super- and hypermarket are shopping coupons. You can also find these coupons in magazines and newspapers and use them in any kind of store.
To compare two products - such as two cans of soup - compare the unit price on the shelf just below the item number/name. In general, the store's own products costs less and may be just as good as better known brands. It is said that the items placed on the higher and the bottom shelves are generally less expensive, since merchandising practices aim at eye-level!