Follow by Email

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shopping Blunders

I'll start out by saying I'm an indecisive shopper even in the States. I dwell and get chooey about which product to pick. Which flavor/color? Which brand? Which is cheaper? Which is the better value? Oh I forgot I needed [insert item located on the other side of the store]...

I come to Korea and instantly, even if I plan to be in and out, the excursion takes forever... Because obviously, I can't read the labels. Now some products will have a little English on them but for other things, you just have to guess.

So here are some "shopping blunders" I've made in the two months I've been here:

1.     Laundry detergent and fabric softener. Not the same. And most of those packages do NOT have English on them. So for the first...three weeks or so I washed my clothes with fabric softener. And even worse, it took me two weeks to discover the mistake. I just thought Korean laundry detergent was really liquid and smelled really good...

2.     Produce... You know how in America if produce is nice and packaged, there is a set price for it. So you can just take it up to the checkout and they can scan it, etc etc...? Well in Korea they do have pre-packaged produce. But is the price on the package? Nope. Found this out the hard way when I was checking out. Several customers behind me of course. And the lady yells some Korean to another lady who dashes off towards the produce section. With my unmarked produce.

You have to weigh the package on this fancy scale and push a bunch of fancy Korean buttons and it prints you a nice label to put on your fruit. Easy enough. For Koreans... Last time I bought fruit there was a nice worker who "manned" the scale. Not tonight. After standing in front of it like a clueless waygook for a few minutes I decided to try myself. Put my fruit on. Punched in some numbers. Then some other buttons. Then the machine made a loud noise at me. Clearly not the right combination... So I waited a few more minutes before someone finally helped me. (She pushed two buttons)

3.     It's usually better to pay a little extra for the English on the label. I found out the hard way with salt. For $1 less, I could get the salt in the bag and just refill my old bottle. Easy enough. Until I realized what I got is NOT salt... For a few weeks I just didn't use salt because I was pretty sure I bought MSG. Remember, I can't read Korean. The only characters I recognized on the back was "MSG" and "Warning"...

I did find out tonight, though that it actually wasn't MSG. It's meat tenderizer.

126,000 wan later, I have groceries for the next two months. Yes, Koreans, I am white and I only go grocery shopping every two months. And ride the bus with my heavy backpack and full hands. Don't judge.

1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.