Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tough Being Poor

One of the first things I noticed upon arrival in the Philippines was the proliferation of motel sized goods for sale. All the single serve sachets of general household goods ranging from shampoo to the ubiquitous 3 in 1 coffee, sugar and whitener. The staple goods of trade for the Sari Sari stores, of which there are thousands.

Within 20 yards of our front door there are 3 Sari Sari stores all selling essentially the same things and all with a steady stream of customers. The supermarket we patronize the most also caters to the Sari Sari stores and on weekends getting through the checkouts takes considerably longer than filling the cart. It is not uncommon to see shoppers with 2 or 3 carts full of a dozen items of this and a dozen items of that and all of them individual servings.

Being affluent enough to buy my coffee by the jar, milk by the carton and sugar by the 2kg bag a cup of coffee costs me 2.8 pesos. A 3 in 1 sachet from the Sari Sari store costs 6 pesos. For so many Filipinos the concept of a weekly or fortnightly shop is not an option, spending 500 pesos for a months supply of coffee just isn’t in the budget. Consequently the least able to afford to do so pay the top dollar for their purchases.

Sari Sari Store

3 comments:

airah said...

Hi, I'm a Filipina currently in Seoul via a student exchange program. Been going over this blog and I must agree with Prof.(?) Saroca's comment (w/c you so aptly posted below the blog title).

Try visiting the Cordillera region. I'm sure there'll be a lot for u to ruminate on there, plus pretty pics to boot. It might show u how worlds apart and yet how intrinsically alike regions in the PI can be.

wandering storyteller said...

i know! it's hard being poor... and there are very few real opportunities to help the masses here.

sigh.

Cordillera sounds good. you could also visit the south, henry Ü


(changed blogs, by the way - slither dude)

pissedpoet said...

Thanks for your comments airah & dude, just by chance I went bush last weekend into the wilds of Batangas. Working on the pics & words for a post in the next day or so. You are so right airah.