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What do you like about Poland?

BritinPoland 6 | 121
26 Nov 2010 #61
There's a lot of Ena Sharples-type senior citizens.

The younger people are more respectful of their elders.

The food is much better generally although you will find monosodium glutamate additives in more foods than in a typical UK supermarket.

The fresh milk is generally of an unpleasant smell, I have no idea why, I've tried different brands.

The best economically priced tea that tastes closest to UK tea is Saga (try 2 bags). Even Tesco's black tea is not recommended here. I also was very unimpressed with several other brands that I won't mention, just stick to Saga if you want something fairly like UK tea and get a good quality UHT to go in it, there are a few brands that do not taste like UHT at all and more like UK fresh milk and with no smell. Customer Services at some of the supermarkets here if you have a problem with a purchase is a far cry from the UK. At one well-known chain's huge store, customer service became sarcastic when asked to refund me for tea that tasted like dust. They carried ;o) on like this: "You should've bought xyz brand! Send it back to the manufacturer!" she laughed, and despite several protests, refused to refund the 4zl or so, repeatedly laughed in my face and then served the next customer. As did the managers. This was not the first time I'd taken something defective back and been told to as good as get lost. Mention EU consumer laws and they make excuses or laugh. Caveat Emptor - don't buy anything unless you are prepared to write the money off, some of the massive supermarket names here don't give a fig about customer satisfaction. Shop around too, I save 30% on some items simply by buying elsewhere. Even the cheapest of hypermarkets are sometimes undercut significantly on certain lines by grander supermarkets elsewhere, for example soya milk is cheapest by far at Alma.

The cakes are great, most supermarkets have a fab range. Cheesecakes in particular. Fresh veg is superb and your eyes will pop out at the size of cauliflowers and other veg, most of which are reasonably priced and delicious. If you don't cook here, you're missing out. You'll have to cook anyway, as the range of ready meals is very limited and what there is tends to be double or triple the price of that in the UK.

Beers, what can I say? I have been unable to go wrong.

If you're unattached, the majority of women everywhere take care with their appearance, are much slimmer than in Britain (generally), mostly well above average in looks, usually educated and friendly-ish. However, as I'm not any sort of adonis myself I can't say what they're like as girlfriends and I don't bother chatting anyone up etc, no experience of that side of things at all, other than they're usually polite and friendly to blokes like me (ie obviously not on the hunt).

Few people speak any significant English. However where they do, you may be a bit amused if you can detect they have lived in England and picked up a regional accent as they speak English. I couldn't help but smile when I met a security guard who spent 2 years in Birmingham, he was really Brum as he spoke English!

Religion plays a much greater role here than in the UK. Families and younger people embrace the church far more.

The roads are less safe and generally less maintained too. Cross at crossings or risk a fine for jay-walking, or so they say. Cars are often noticably reluctant to stop at pedestrian crossings, cross with caution.

Apart from the old bill, there are also a couple of police-like authorities, like UK PCSOs except they carry cuffs and a baton (not sure if they carry a gun) and presumably can arrest you.

Where I am the telephone service displays even international numbers, so you can see who's calling you from the UK. Pretty handy if you miss a call or want to ring them back at no expense to them.

They have many of the UK's popular game-shows on Polish TV with a Polish twist or slight modification. They have Family Fortunes, Name That Tune, Millionaire, to name a few.

A Santander Zero card may reduce the costs of withdrawing UK bank cash from ATMs here, if you've got one. Possibly the Halifax Clarity card is quite good too.

Fast food bars serve far better and more nutritional stuff than the UK versions of take aways. And much cheaper.

I am yet to find a launderette/coin-op laundry!

Beware when going to markets, just like the UK some clothes and other items are slight seconds, sometimes worse.

Consider Jajah IP telephony for phone calls home to chat to mates etc, cheapest way that I know of. No special phone needed, use any phone nearby and your computer or you can use Jajah direct if no computer (I think).

Bring thermals!

Enjoy Poland, its beautiful countryside and special places - have a great time!
jonni 16 | 2,485
26 Nov 2010 #62
"You should've bought xyz brand! Send it back to the manufacturer!"

That's the law in Poland - shops are just distribution points; responsibility for something actually working lies with the manufacturer or importer.

Mention EU consumer laws and they make excuses or laugh.

They've still got a while before having to implement the rules.

Cars are often noticably reluctant to stop at pedestrian crossings, cross with caution.

Yes - even if there's a red light, some cars don't bother stopping.

and presumably can arrest you.

I think (but am not 100% sure) that they can detain you until the police arrive.

Fast food bars serve far better and more nutritional stuff than the UK versions of take aways. And much cheaper.

Some are great, and the Bary Mleczny are gradually improving, city by city.

Bring thermals!

Yes. And enjoy your stay!
BritinPoland 6 | 121
26 Nov 2010 #63
Thanks Jonni, I wasn't aware that was the law here about defective goods, I assume the EU laws don't apply for some reason or apply yet? That's very disappointing but useful to know, thank you. In the UK, being told by a retail shop to take your defective product direct to the manufacturer would make a decent Trading Standards officer very cross indeed.

I forgot to say before - amazing how many Polish people have a dog! In the mornings it's a "walkies fest" round my way! Dog after dog pulling their owners along the (often very poorly kept) footpaths. But little or no dog mess around. And it seems Polish people are allowed to park on the footpaths? Everywhere I go, car after car in my way.

Thanks again Jonni.

Regarding the milk I recommend, I think it's a UHT, it's called Mleko Na 5 Plus by Spomlek,

The tea I mentioned and recommend as best budget buy in Poland by far for taste:
landora - | 199
3 Dec 2010 #64
The tea I mentioned and recommend as best budget buy in Poland by far for taste:

You really like Saga??? I mean, I know it's cheap, but... :(
I often buy Tetley and it's exactly the same as Tetley I used to buy in the UK. Tesco's own brand (but not the cheapest one in the blue-white box) is ok as well. Plus, you can get Dilamh, Twinnings and other more expensive brands in the shops. Then there are special tea shops which sell rather good quality (though pricey) tea.

As for the milk, why do Brits insist on having "fresh" milk? I convinced my fiance to use UHT and he doesn't complain ;)

Lewis, which city are you planning to live in?
BritinPoland 6 | 121
3 Dec 2010 #65
You really like Saga??? I mean, I know it's cheap, but... :(
I often buy Tetley and it's exactly the same as Tetley I used to buy in the UK.

Saga tastes the closest to UK tea in my opinion for its (reasonable) price.

I have not tried Tetley in Poland, however it is approx 2 to 3 times the price of Saga.

I do not consider Twinings offers value for money on black teas and on some of their range there are cheaper, better-tasting alternatives. However, their fruit tea ranges are good value.

Dilmah I had never heard of prior to coming to Poland. Ditto "Ahmad Tea of London", considering I lived 20 mins by bus from Oxford Street in London until '05 I must've somehow missed it.

Dilmah is a satisfactory cup of tea but no better in flavour than some supermarket brands in the UK. Ahmad is in my opinion quite good but again nothing I would go out of my way for.

Tesco black tea here in Poland with the string and tag does not impress me at all. In the UK, Tesco's supermarket tea is perfectly good, however.

It is usually only fresh milk that does not impare the flavour of tea taken white.

I also notice many tea houses here and in the UK are unaware that most or all black teas should be made with boiling rather than less than boiling water (including most herbal teas). It's necessary for the brewing process to be boiling hot as the water is poured on to the leaves. But, of course, green tea should be made with off the boil water, likewise most coffees.

Edited to add: Isn't Earl Grey popular here! Easy to find good value EG here unless you are a real fusspot!

From the UK Tea Council:
Make a perfect Brew
·Use a good quality loose leaf or bagged tea
·This must be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature
·Always use freshly drawn boiling water
·In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once.

·Measure the tea carefully
·Use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served
·Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring
·Brewing tea from a bag in a mug? Milk in last is best

Maybe 12 | 409
3 Dec 2010 #66
Since moving to Polska, i've knocked tea and milk on the head. lemon and black tea lipton is what i prefer now, especially with a splash of Chivas :)
BritinPoland 6 | 121
3 Dec 2010 #67
I may give that a try, it certainly would reduce my milk bill and I can put that saving towards the Scotch :o)
3 Dec 2010 #68
I've never heard anyone to go back to shop and demand money back because of untasty food. No one do that... that's really weird. Do you really can claim money in GB because of untasty food?
BritinPoland 6 | 121
4 Dec 2010 #69
That's not something you or anyone should be proud of. What's more "weird" is why anyone should part with their hard-earned money in Poland and get rubbish in return, and yet shrug their shoulders and accept it. That's the weird part.

If a product is misrepresented or defective, the consumer certainly has rights within the UK and probably the whole EU. If a food product is sold as tea but tastes like dust because the percentage of actual tea is very low or absent, thus the product is either defective or misrepresented.

If no one in Poland complains when they discover their food purchase is of unsatisfactory quality, they can expect to forever be walked on by big companies and smug, rich locals who own the supermarket franchises. It will then continue to be the Polish consumers' own fault for submissive consumerism.
4 Dec 2010 #70

you can bring back a defective product to a shop. It calls "złożenie reklamacji".
I think that you can bring back even food but rather when it's rotten or you find an inscects eggs despite the early date of production (of course you can do that day after not week after). But taste is not a defect. Taste is something unobjective and if you don't like the taste of something then it means you should buy a different product next time.

Btw I will shock you even more. In "hipermatkets" it's common practice to change a product date or sell unfresh, rotten meat (they wash it in some special mixture to make it look fresh). There were such scandals discovered few times and it seems everyone still do it. So do not ever buy a half priced food - there must be something wrong with that.

Also the ready dishes (garmażeria) are often made from unfresh products (it's easy to hide the taste and smell by useing much spice). So as you see client comfort is not important in Poland. It's all about sell products by all means.
BritinPoland 6 | 121
4 Dec 2010 #71
Nikt, a product sold and packaged as tea that does not taste of tea is either defective or misrepresented. Either way, the consumer is entitled to a refund/redress (in the UK at least). It's as simple as that. Whether Poland is implementing these laws or Polish consumers are still behaving as if shops are doing them a favour by even serving them, is something I just don't know. But there is absolutely no way it is acceptable in the UK to sell an item marked for example as tea and for the customer to find it tastes nothing like tea and appears to be at best tea dust. In fact, where a customer is not allowed to "taste and try" prior to purchase, the case for a refund is much stronger. For this reason, many UK delicatessens and supermarket delicatessens used to have a sign saying "Please ask if you would like to taste and try." Much of the law for consumers is based on common sense. Caveat emptor does not go far with food sales and shopkeepers should hang their head in shame if they hide behind it here.

There is absolutely no question at all - if a product is sold as one thing and tastes of another, particularly if it tastes unpleasant or like dust, the product is defective or misrepresented. Or do you enjoy a nice hot cup of dust with milk, Nikt?! No question at all, don't let anyone BS you otherwise. If you are a shopkeeper and you have been unchallenged on this, either the law does not apply in Poland for some reason (disappointing to say the least!), you are benefitting from consumer ignorance of their rights, plain apathy or shameful submission.

As for repackaging of Use By (out of date) items, this too has been going on in the UK, with one or two major supermarkets repackaging chicken that was on the day of expiry. This has been in the newspapers there. Indeed, I encountered this myself, finding raw chicken with 5 days to go during the winter was smelling badly in the fridge.
landora - | 199
4 Dec 2010 #72
It is usually only fresh milk that does not impare the flavour of tea taken white.

Possibly :)
I'm not breatsfeeding => I don't drink tea with milk ("bawarka") - bleeee =>I wouldn't know :P

But you do realise that this milk is pasteurised, so not exactly "fresh" either?
BritinPoland 6 | 121
4 Dec 2010 #73
Well, UK pasteurised fresh milk is all I like in tea, given a choice. Of course, we also in the UK have extra-filtered fresh milk which stays fresh for much longer and still tastes like normal, fresh milk, with no offending odour. Cravendale is the best known dairy for that, but supermarkets have developed their own versions.

Arguably Britain's cheapest large supermarket,
Asda, own-brand soya milk,
around 65p or 3 zl

About as good as supermarket cheesecake gets
in the UK, apart from maybe one from Waitrose.
Frozen and you then defrost it to eat.
Either way, no comparison to the fresh cheesecakes
you can buy even at Auchan and similar supermarkets
aswell as bakers almost everywhere in Polish towns

landora - | 199
4 Dec 2010 #74
There are doubts whether soya is that healthy at all -]

So you are never safe :P

But you can get fresh filtered milk in Poland - like this:

I don't know where you live, but in some areas you can get milk "straight from a cow" if you find a farmer willing to sell it.
BritinPoland 6 | 121
4 Dec 2010 #75
So you are never safe :P But you can get fresh filtered milk in Poland - like this

Thanks, yes, I heard stuff about soya milk too - not sure what to believe. Seems moderation in all things is the safest way.

Thank you for the filtered milk link :o)

By the way, in the UK you would be surprised at how many people don't know the right temperature for a fridge. When I bought one, I tested them to make sure. Any warmer and you are risking your health.

'Ensuring your fridge is at the correct temperature, between 0-5°C, is essential in preventing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in foodstuffs'

You would be surprised at how many people's fridges are over 5C.
catsoldier 62 | 596
9 Aug 2011 #76
She likes the snow. She also has an accent like she smokes a lot.

She likes that it is easier to organise things

Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Aug 2011 #77
The balance of modernisation (new buildings etc) and old-style architecture. Some striking contrasts whilst maintaining a Polish flavour :)
khanfrompak 2 | 12
4 Oct 2011 #78
Merged: what you liked more about ..POLAND/ POLES

Let us share the impression we got first time we visit Poland or meet a pole....
please share your views here..... hope to keep this thread friendly......
regards to all....

aftab khan....
catsoldier 62 | 596
5 Oct 2011 #79
I like Poland for it's weather in the summer, it's people and it's food.
21 Nov 2014 #80
The cafe culture that's sadly lacking in the UK.
Poland has some really beautiful coffee shops and you just don't get to see that back in England. Unfortunately the UK has become victim to the likes of Costa, Starbucks etc. Poland has them too, but I hope they don't become the norm as they have over here :(

Sernik. I'm deadly serious.

The weather. I don't particularly like cold weather, but at least it's not as damp over there. And summers tend to be much warmer than the UK too.

Beautiful old buildings with amazing architecture.

The countryside.

Haven't seen nearly enough of the country for my liking, but I have to say that so far, I'm favouring Eastern Poland. And there's a noticeable difference in how much friendlier the people there are too.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
21 Nov 2014 #81
I'm favouring Eastern Poland.

I for sure prefer Opole and Dolny Śląsk - a much more down-to-earth approach with the urge to get things done. But for sure no Polonia old-country romanticism. The few times we venture across the Wisła I sometimes think it is another country.
jon357 63 | 15,378
21 Nov 2014 #82
Dolny Śląsk

I like Górny Śląsk for down to earth and friendly people. reminds me of where I came from a bit.

Eastern Poland

Something special about Podlasie though...

The cafe culture that's sadly lacking in the UK.

Still alive in Warsaw though so many of the old ones have disappeared over the last few years, Poziomka, Bajka, Grażyna, Hortex, Alhambra, u Boryny, Nowy Świat, Lajkonik, Santos; all gone. A few new ones however that aren't Starbucks etc. But that one that sells coffee in the tube-like cups is just a gimmick...
pigsy 7 | 305
22 Nov 2014 #83
I like almost negligible property taxes and no need for insurances except on cars:)))
22 Nov 2014 #84
I like the fact that my wife has a good understanding of all the Polish consumer laws and when other people get told to go away, we get refunds and vouchers and travelling expenses (to bring the items back to store/complain... etc).......there are many other good reasons to like, but this one helps a lot. (just show them a copy of the regulation - always carry one.....has the assistants on the phone to their managers in seconds and then a quick visit from the 'real' manager who does know the rules......then lots of apologies, smiles and refunds/vouchers) It does help that my wife was the manager of a very large American owned retail store in UK for many years.......she reckons she received it all for so long that it is now her turn to dish it out!!!!! Example: (very expensive Italian bath from Le Roy Merlin.......we got a full refund, they sent a plumber to take the bath out, we gave them a bill for the fitting of the new bath...they paid and gave us fuel costs from our house some 40kms away (two visits to the shop) and they delivered the new bath for free. Boy things have changed for the better since this thread started way back in 2010????
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
22 Nov 2014 #85
Your wife is Polish, I assume. She sounds like someone we could all do with (or use, in US English). Could you please ask her if there's any legal right to return a garlic press to a supermarket? The metal on it has already failed after less than 2 years. Also, how about tea bags that turn out to be nothing like tea but more like dust?
22 Nov 2014 #86
What about Christmas time in Poland? The cities are seasonally decorated, there are Christmas fairs, people are nicer .. ;)
sobieski 107 | 2,128
22 Nov 2014 #87
She sounds like someone we could all do with (or use, in US English) you speak Polish at all? I remember you mentioning about needing an English-speaking person in your local Lidl?
InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
22 Nov 2014 #88
No, only a few words, but the manager and some staff speak sufficient English for me to understand that they have no cheese and have never done anything or said anything to suggest they'd order any in for me, as just 1 person. As for legal redress, I take a Polish speaker with me or use a note. Generally, customer service at various shops is nothing to bring a smile to one's face when things are unsatisfactory with a purchase.
Wulkan - | 3,251
22 Nov 2014 #89
No, only a few words

So typical.
23 Nov 2014 #90
On the matter of the garlic press! The rules are much the same as UK (and all of the other main EU countries) The item has to 'do what it says on the tin' ie: those very crucial words: it has to be 'fit for purpose'.....if you think you have a case and the thing failed in use before a reasonable time......then you will have the full weight of the polish consumer bureau behind you......and unlike the UK version, these people 'like their bit of power' and don't pussyfoot about. (example of a bags and baggage shop round here......went in to buy a small suitcase for 'Mum' who was visiting, shop had a huge sign outside and a massive sign in the window proclaiming 50% off......that's all just a massive red band and 50% off in white!!! we went in to buy and when we got to the counter were charged full price....the assistant told us that the 50% off was actually for 4 items on a shelf at the very back of the shop (and poor old stock they were indeed)......My wife asked to speak to the owner, who told her to go away!!! ohh you don't do that to my wife...she is Polish (a proud Silesian)!!!!......she took photos (always go equipped with at least a camera phone and quickly photograph....note: staff will often be called to remove offending items!! or quickly change a display that is clearly illegal!!!) she happened to have a good camera this were sent along with a complaint to the consumer bureau.........who said they would be 'on it'!!!!! 4 days later the shop was boarded up!!!!!! (wife did tell the assistant to start looking for a new job......I really felt sorry for the poor girl). We had a Biedronka incident that was much the same......the shop manageresss actually said "Biedronka are too big to be bothered by the consumer bureau" she blushed when she had to present us with an apology and a free bottle of wine.....who knows what the regional manager said to her.....but the woman apologised profusely for a full 15 minutes on the phone to my wife.....couldn't shut her up!!....I think she was on her knees!!!......and not seen that manageress in Biedronka since!!! maybe she hides when my wife goes in!!!! Trust your consumer the fact that they like to exercise their 'little bit of power'. (ps....don't be put off by an under manager saying something silly like "customers must have moved it to a lower priced area" that is their problem not yours...get a photograph of the item and the price......also do not let them tell you that a "member of staff has wrongly priced the item and you can't have it at that price" again it is their problem not yours and they must sell at the posted price. Even if you feel sorry for them because something like a laptop is obviously wrongly priced.....they are not stupid people and know they are on a sticky wicket.......ask for a big discount....they will take the hit rather than court bigger trouble and you could get yourself a bargain.

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