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28 July 2004
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Korea Life Blog - Walmart Korea

Since we spend so much time there, thought I'd show some pictures to the folks back home of Korean Walmart. With the heat, Julie and I sometimes go there just to browse around in the humid evenings.

The entrance at night...ooh ahh. I bet you're getting excited to see what's inside.

In Korea, you're supposed to put your bag in a locker before entering the big shopping centers. I don't know why this annoys me so much but it does. Especially if I don't have any coins handy (takes a 100 won coin deposit on the key). Usually I just forget and when I'm already in the store some goonball will run up to me with his security radio in hand and force me to go back upstairs with my backpack.

Some people were telling me Walmart doesn't sell pets back in the states but it's been so long that I can't remember.

Julie has a look at some of the cats. I'm surprised they carry cats actually as the majority of Koreans dislike them (they have scary eyes!) and prefer dogs. My first Korean girlfriend was terrified of them.

This is the one I've been wanting to get. Julie says nobody wants to buy her because she's plain. I don't care about that. She has a great personality and is usually sleeping or playing with the other cats. I pet her for awhile one day. I'm just not sure living abroad as I am that it's wise to take on such a responsibility. I also don't want to support a pet shop. I'd rather just pick up a cat at a shelter. However, seeing this cat day in and day out and knowing most people won't buy her because she's not a breed has been making me think. She costs 60,000 won ($50) but we can probably get a discount. One thing though, cat food and litter is costly here because it's mostly from America.

One more shot of all the cats. At least they have something to do such as jumping around on the stairs, scratching things and playing with each other. All the dogs are kept in plain cages.

Looking at this makes me frustrated and sad. I don't believe any animal should be kept in a cage, especially birds. It's just plain torture and wrong.

An ugly looking mannequin...yikes.

The check-out area. Notice the security sensors in every lane. Seems a little excessive. Back in America there's only one main one set-up as you go out the exit. Also, you're not allowed to walk into the store through a lane in Korea. You have to go all the way past them to get in then backtrack. At least they don't have lockers on every floor at Walmart. Some marts have a check-out area on each floor and you can't bring your purchases from one floor to the other if you want to shop more. So if you have 6 bags of groceries then remember you want a pair of boxer-shorts you have to put all your groceries in your car or stuff them in a locker first. Great concept that is.

Here's where you actually walk in. You're always greeted with a smile and offered a shopping cart at least. Either that or told to put your bag in a locker.

I skipped over the second floor down because it's all basic stuff like clothes and appliances and camping gear, not much unlike back home just customized for Koreans. The third floor down, where we're heading now, is a huge grocery store quite unlike the Walmarts back home. A little ways down the wall is lined with funny photo renditions of happy Koreans shopping at Walmart.

Here it is. Always Walmart. Rolling back the prices on fruits and veggies and - kimchi.

A brilliant shot of a Korean Walmart employee checking the weight scale. Wow!

Koreans love hotdogs even more than Americans. Except, for some odd reason, ground pig lips and assholes don't really taste as good here. I miss Hoffman's brand!

There's a wide selection of homemade kimchi to choose from. Now there's something you won't see back home.

More kimchi, this time of the processed variety. It's a little more expensive to buy this way but it's already aged to perfection.

This little section is the only place you can get cold beer in the Walmart. There's another huge section of warm ones. I need to make a suggestion for them to put a cooler upstairs to appeal to the night owls since this store is 24 hours/day. They'd surely sell a lot more. It's much cheaper to buy it here but it takes forever to get all the way down three floors and then back up to buy one. Compared to back home, by the way, beer is really expensive here. It's usually sold in individual bottles such as these. A regular can of Korean beer costs around $1.50 and it's not much cheaper when you buy it in bulk. A can of America beer such as crappy Budweiser is $2.50, even here at Walmart. Those big 1.6 liter bottles on the bottom are a good deal though at 3,500 won ($2.75)...if you can drink that much.

Not sure if they sell wine in Walmart back home either. They have a huge selection here. We're going to buy a bottle tonight to have with the fresh salmon I bought at the grocery store in Hyundai Department store across the street. Yum!

While most goods are of your basic Korean variety, there are a few bonus American/ international products you don't see elsewhere. There are some new kind of Heinz beans and Spanish Olives (much better than the Marino brand you usually see) which I've gotten Julie hooked on. She never had a green olive until she met me, if you can believe it (not that I had just about any Korean food before I came here). One thing I really miss that I've never seen in Korea are salty deli-style pickles like you get in sandwich shops in America or my favorite, Clausen brand. I really miss those, as whether as other deli items such as sliced turkey breast, various cheese, hard salami and pepperoni. They carry lots of pickles, but they're all the sweet kinds.

Well there you have it. Not too exciting but I thought people who have never to Korea might enjoy seeing how we shop here.


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