April 27, 2010

Cash flow

The sari-sari store is a distinctly Filipino phenomenon. At least, I've never heard of any other country that has anything like it. Literally, the word sari-sari just means "variety" and they are variety stores, though in a limited way—they sell snacks, canned goods, toiletry products and stationery supplies from rooms and kiosks usually built into the owner's home. But what makes them different from convenience stores and supermarkets is the fact that you can buy everything by the piece—one piece of candy, one cigarette, one foil pack of crackers and, in this particular sari-sari store, one egg. We have a word for it: tingi. The closest English word I can think of is piecemeal. And it doesn't end there. You can't afford a 100-sheet pad of paper? You can just buy ten sheets. You just need a single serving of soy sauce, vinegar or cooking oil? They will pour out what you need from the bottle into a little plastic bag. At least, that's what they used to do when I was younger. Manufacturing companies have addressed the cash flow problem of the majority of Filipinos by packing liquid, cream and gel products into sachets, and they're all available in sari-sari stores too.

sari-sari store


Jacob dear, you once asked me in my Happy at Home blog if we have large refill bottles of liquid soap. Not in retail stores, unfortunately. As you can see, our products tend to go the other way, size-wise.

24 comments:

CafebyJW said...

Are they getting many customers? I bet they do, as they are all of everything hmmm..

Beautiful color of brick.

bfarr said...

Very interesting. There were times when I wished I could buy just 'one' of something.

brattcat said...

I would be quite content to shop this way.

Louis la Vache said...

«Louis» takes it from your recent post that you escaped from your cruel Gallic prison warden and the squalid conditions on that island prison where you were trapped for a few days...

We are happy you are safe and sound after such a torturous experience!

Kaori said...

I think this is a great idea. When you're living on your own, you really can't buy things that are family-sized :)

Jacob said...

Hi Hilda...thanks for the comment on liquid soap...which is rather prescient as we just bought two big bottles!

No, I have never heard of stores like this in the States. Well, I should amend that because when I was a child (elementary school) we did have corner "variety" stores where you could buy candy by the piece and other items, too.

But even those really don't compare with what you describe...

Hope you have a wonderful week filled with all good things.

AL said...

I have also learned that they also sell, repacked sugar for a Peso, soft choco candy that some Mothers buy as pan de sal filling for the kids and you forgot to mention tube ice, pakong bakya, bond paper, staples LOL!

peppermint said...

I wish there's a kind shop like this in Jakarta. Sometimes we just need to buy a small amount instead of big one.

Olivier said...

je connaissais pas ce système, très original et très adapte à ce temps de crise.

gogouci said...

Interesting idea. I would imagine the profits are pretty good with this supply/demand strategy.

arabesque said...

i used to buy knick knacks when i was a kid, haha, more on kornets and chips. ^0^

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

We have never heard of that before - it's a very good idea.
Thanks for sharing!
Darryl and Ruth : )

Lois said...

How interesting Hilda! I am always learning something new while blogging.

VP said...

The only thing I remember like this was that when I was a kid tobacconists sold single cigarettes, but this is an old memory now...

Halcyon said...

I think this is a great idea! Just buy what you need.

I think we in the US are very wasteful with packaging and such. In Europe refilable bottles are common and like Jacob said you can refill them from pouches.

Photo Cache said...

we used to have one - makeshift in our gate, just to while the time. but mom stopped it, in her words: iisang itlog na nga uutangin pa :D

ρομπερτ said...

How very interesting indeed. Making one able to feel good to be able to buy something, while having only a little bit of money.

A wonderful Wednesday for you.


daily athens

Misalyn said...

You made me smile Hilda. We used to have one...madalas ginigising ako ng maaga ni Nanay pag weekends para magbantay ng tindahan.

George said...

There are times when I wish we had something like this over here. I think it is a good idea.

Dina said...

What a fine idea.

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echo delta said...

This store is beside my old house!! It's called 'The Brick Store'. I live in another country now but I used to buy candy here when I was five and I couldn't see past the window into the store. As I got older, I started buying beer. We'd hang out here in the summer evenings long after the store closed.

echo delta said...

I also bought a lot of chocolate milk in this particular store when I was a kid. They'd have different things depending on the time of the year, sometimes you could get halo halo, noodles, barbecue, fried bananas, donuts, fried sweet potatoes and sago.

You had to drive to get to the 7-11 in this area so this was really convenient.

JsI. said...

Where does this particular store located? :)