Friday, June 3, 2011

Golden Nuggets VII: Shopping Similarities

Living in a foreign country requires learning new customs and adjusting to a new normal. All those interesting tidbits I learn as I live in Haiti are Golden Nuggets. And what kind of person would I be if I didn't share those Golden Nuggets with others?

Shopping in Haiti is both really similar to and very different from shopping in the States. Today I want to focus on the similarities. The places where I shop are very much to what I'm used to in the States. I buy my food at the grocery store, I purchase presents at gift shops, and I get household things at a place called Handal--which is the Haitian Wal-mart. Even though I don't typically buy anything, I've also been with other people to optical shops (eye glasses), jewelry stores, clothing stores, hardware type shops, and book stores.

Even though shopping in Haiti can be very similar to shopping in the States, there are some differences.

  • First, there are armed guards at almost every establishment--especially banks and grocery stores. They have very official looking uniforms and carry giant guns. Often shotguns or something equally large but scary looking. I have never heard of a business being robbed, so accredit this to the armed guards.

  • Sometimes I like to think of Haiti as a 1950s America. Women wear skirts and stay home with their kids, gas stations have attendants to pump your gas, and bag boys always carry your groceries to the car. I absolutely love shopping at Giant Supermarket because it's new and shiny and makes me feel like I'm shopping at Meijer. Best of all, the bag boys (which are really grown men) bag all my groceries and then carry them to the car for me no matter how many I have. At the grocery store much closer to my house, the bag boys (again all grown men) will even unload my cart onto the conveyor belt for me! It's awesome customer service.

  • Every single store in Haiti has a complimentary gift wrap station. Anything you purchase as a gift can be gift wrapped in the paper of your choosing (normally there are at least 2 options) and will have a nice pretty bow. A friend of mine recently told me about her self-serve gift wrapping fiasco at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It made me chuckle when I told her all stores in Haiti have someone who is dedicated to gift wrapping.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for share. I love learning about different cultures!