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Philippine style convenience store by EM2019年12月5日

Good day everyone! This is T. Em once again for another blog. For this blog I will be sharing about a type of convenience store that has a unique “Philippine style” if you’re wondering about what I’m talking about let me ask you first a quick question. What is your understanding of the word “retail”?

If you’re going to check Google it says; the sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale.”

That’s easy to understand, right? In the Philippines the word “retail” is taken into a different level, try to imagine this, when you go to a supermarket and buy groceries, you’re already buying goods in retail, right? Here in the PH (PH = Philippines) there is still another level of retail than what you already know and understand.

Anywhere and everywhere in the PH you will find these small stores commonly known as “sari-sari store” they are usually in residential areas or even built as a part of someone’s house. These stores offer different varieties of products and merchandise that you can avail with the smallest amount or quantity possible. You can find these small convenience stores in big cities and in rural areas alike. Some of these stores are like 711, they’re open 24/7 especially if the store sells alcoholic drinks. The word “sari-sari” means “variety” in English, it’s amazing how some of these stores sell frozen food, dairy products, snacks, sweets, drinks, condiments, cleaning products,  personal things, alcoholic drinks, a variety of grilled meat, assorted office supplies and sometimes e-load (for those who have no idea, e-load is electronic load for prepaid mobile phone credits) for example; you can buy 1 piece of hamburger patty, 1 piece of egg, 1 bottle of Yakult, P5 worth of salt, 1 tetra pack of dishwashing liquid, a few pieces of paper, 1 sachet of shampoo and conditioner, 1 bottle of San Miguel Beer, 1 stick of Marlboro cigarette and P10 worth of e-load and many more. For places that are quite far from supermarkets these small stores are very convenient and especially if you just need a small amount of something. Snacks and drinks are also very common in these stores. Some F2F students can vouch and usually go to these stores to buy and purchase something.

When buying or doing a transaction with the store owner we commonly use the phrase “pabili po…” meaning “I would like to buy something.” We also use the phrase “magkano po?” meaning “how much is it?” These stores are also used as common “tambayan” it means a place to hang out for some people. Some time ago, these stores are also used as drinking places, you buy the alcohol and some snacks then you can start drinking right there and then (these days, it is prohibited to drink in front of the store but in rural places, I think it’s still possible). These stores are also famous if you would like to get the latest “tsismis” or “gossip” in English about things and people in your neighborhood, last but not the least and probably the most interesting of all is the use of the phrase “paki lista muna” meaning “I’ll pay later, just list down what I got.” It’s like a credit that you can have, written in just plain paper or at the back of cigarette cartons, the payment for the things that you have already consumed is usually settled at the 15th and the end of each month (commonly pay dates in the PH when employees get their salaries) but, try to remember that you can only do this if you personally know or you’re friends with the owner.

As weird as it seems to foreigners these things are common and a big part of the Filipino culture, reading and understanding it is one but experiencing it is a different story. I’ll try to write more about interesting things in the PH in my next blogs, I invite you to check the details on the website about how to enroll and take English classes in F2F, because if you study here it’s not just English that you will learn, you can also experience the culture, until then… enjoy the rest of your day and remember to always be happy…


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