August 2, 2008

Hole in the wall

At almost every street corner of Metro Manila (except in posh neighborhoods, of course), you'll run into one of these: a sari-sari (variety) store. These small home-based convenience stores are usually run by the stay-at-home mom/wife or older children of the family. Common items kept in stock are softdrinks (soda pop), chips, biscuits, candy, instant noodles, canned tuna and meats, instant coffee, milk, bath soap, toothpaste, shampoo and feminine hygiene products. Most of the items for sale would be of the smallest size available—usually single-serve or single-use packs, in fact. Unlike commercial convenience stores, sari-sari stores are not open 24/7. When the person tending the store goes out or goes to sleep, it closes. When that happens, all you have to do is walk another hundred meters and chances are good that you'll find another one that's open. STUCK IN TRAFFIC SERIES #5

sari-sari store

14 comments:

melanie said...

Intéressant ! Ces petits magasins de proximité donnent une raison de vivre aux familles et rendent sans doute service. Ils contribuent aussi à l'animation d'une rue et favorisent les relations. Mais comment font-ils ? Sont-ils rentables ? Pourquoi sont-ils fermés par une grille ?

Chez nous tous ces magasins ont disparu. Il y a des petites commune soù il n'y a plus rien. Mais les choses sot en train de changer avec le prix du carburant.

Hilda said...

Melanie:
Yes, most of them are profitable, in the sense that they do not lose any money. There are no fees or rent to pay and many of them are "informal" businesses, which means they are not registered and therefore do not pay taxes on sales. They're just meant to augment the income of the main family wage earner, but they do not really make a lot of money.

Priyanka Khot said...

This sounds like a perfect idea. I would any day prefer small shops where I can have a personal relation with the shopkeeper rather than huge malls that are totally impersonal.

Layrayski said...

my auntie has a small sari-sari store, but she still has to pay tax. Too bad. So Manila doesn't tax their sari-sari entrepreneurs? It would really help the small time businesspeople if they don't.

ken mac said...

is this the curbside window and do they serve you from there? This is kind of like are local bodegas....but they are not as colorful as this. Nice angle! Did you shoot from on foot or from your car...oh, right stuck in traffic!

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

This is what I like about DCPB - we learn about small intimate things about a community that we don't otherwise get from mainstream media.

We have similar things in Indonesia. They are called "Warung Kelontong" (literally, convenient store). Their existence, however, has lately been threatened by chain convenient stores, especially in big cities like Bandung.

My parents used to operate/have one. But it's closed now.

Hilda said...

Lyra,
IF you register with the SEC or BIR, then yes, you have to declare your income and you get taxed. But some don't bother and as long as they don't sell alcohol and the store doesn't cause inconveniences (noise, traffic, istambay, littering, sidewalk encroachment), many barangays will ignore them. But if they get caught by the BIR, well…

ken mac said...

Hilda, storeroom or warehouse would mirror a bodega, they carry everything from mouse traps to cheese to soap!

babooshka said...

A local one stop shop is the equivalent here, but not as colourful
as this place.

Boise Diva said...

I love seeing the every day workings of a city. This is unique.

Chris said...

Very interesting. . . .It reminds me, in a way, of Ireland where a lot of people open their homes as bed and breakfast inns to travelers.

• Eliane • said...

I like learning about this and what a cute name "sari-sari". Very colorful.

Jules said...

I loved these stores - we saw them in Vietnam a lot!!!

Thanks for your kind message on my blog. The accident was horrific with a family devastated - their Mum killed, and her 2 teenage boys critically injured. The only saving grace - the youngest child got out with only scratches. Life is short so we must make the most of it everyday!!!

Anu said...

We had such small stores in many parts of Mumbai, but they are a rare sight now.
Very nice photo!