Essential Polish Vocabulary – Shopping

The shopping opportunities in Poland — like many aspects of life in this country following the fall of the Berlin Wall — are rapidly changing. Large, modern shopping malls are becoming more and more common, with the capital Warsaw’s huge Arkadia mall being the largest in the country and boasting some 200 stores. Well-known international brands are also increasing on Poland’s shopping streets, with high-end fashion and cosmetics brands now the norm. However, old habits die hard, and shopping hours can still be erratic, with many stores closing early on Saturdays and being closed altogether on Sundays, while traditional food and flea-markets are still found across the country.

One of the great shopping opportunities Poland offers is the chance to buy locally made arts and crafts items. Amber jewelry (Gdańsk’s Ulica Mariacka specializes in amber shops), brightly colored pottery from the south western “Ceramics City” of Bolesławiec, carved wooden objects, and leather goods and folk art are all favorites and allow visitors to take home a piece of Poland. Craft markets, like those found in Kraków’s historic “Cloth Hall,” offer a huge variety of artisan-made products, but they may be offered at a higher price than in smaller shops away from city centers.

For grocery shopping, Poland is a real treat, and you can enjoy some of the wonderful produce that Poland has to offer. Grocers are usually open very early, but they may close early too, and specialist delicatessens and bakeries offer delicious, authentic Polish specialties at reasonable prices. Poland’s food markets offer a dazzling array of fresh fish, meat and vegetables, as well as ready-made pierogi and other pre-prepared dishes. The Poles take high-quality, local produce seriously, and during the autumn mushroom-picking season you will encounter vendors selling their hand-picked harvest off the street. Even if you aren’t looking to buy, a visit to a food market is well worth the effort to get a flavor of everyday Polish life.

Phrase in Polish Phrase in English Pronunciation
Robić zakupy To shop Robeech zahkoopih
Sklep A shop Sklep
Sklepy nocne All-purpose shop (24-hour store) Sklepi notsneh
Piekarnia Bakery Pyekarn-ya
Delikatesy Delicatessen Deleekatesi
Sklep spożywczy Grocer’s shop Spozivchi
Apteka Chemist Apteka
Księgarnia Bookshop Kshengarn-ya
Dom towarowy Department store Dom tovarovi
Centrum handlowe Shopping center (mall) Tsentroom handloveh
Targ Market Targ
Pchli targ Flea-market P-klee targ
Wyprzedaż Sale Vipshedash
Ubranie Clothes Oobran-yeh
Jedzenie Food Yedsen-yeh
Buty Shoes Boo-teh
Biżuteria Jewelry Bee-zhooter-ya
Bursztyn Amber Boor-shtin
Ceramika bolesławiecka Bolesławiec ceramics Tse-ra-mee-kabola-swa-veeitz-ka
Sztuka ludowa Folk art Shtooka loodova
Prezent Present Preh-zent
Cena Price Tzenah
Drogi Expensive Drogee
Tani Cheap Tan-yee
Portfel Wallet Port-fell
Proszę Please Prosheh
Dziękuję Thank you Djenkoo-yeh
Dzień dobry Hello Djen dobri
Cześć Hi/Bye (informal) Chesh-ch
Do widzenia Goodbye Do-veedsen-ya
Rozmiar Size Roz-myar
Mały Small Mawi
Średni Medium Shrednee
Duży Large Doo-shi
Kasa Till (checkout) Kasa
Godziny urzędowania Opening times Godjeeni oozendovan-ya
Przepraszam Excuse me/Sorry Psheprasham

Slang/Commonly Used Expressions:

Expression in Polish Expression in English Pronunciation
Czy ma pan/pani… Do you have… (pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman) Chee ma pan/panee…
Tylko się rozglądam. I’m just looking. Tilko sheh rozglondam
Czy jest coś tańszego? Do you have anything cheaper? Chee yest tsosh tanshego
Czy pan/pani akceptuje karty kredytowe? Do you accept credit cards? (Pan if addressing a man; pani if addressing a woman) Chee pan/panee akzeptoo-yeh kartee kreditoveh
Czy mogę przymierzyć? Can I try it on? Chee mogeh pshim-yeshich
Za drogo. It’s too expensive. Za drogo
Ile kosztuje? How much is this? Eeleh koshtoo-yeh
Gdzie jest bankomat? Where is an ATM? Gjeh yest bankomat