I know that my title could be considered a bit mean. I am not a mean guy, in my view, though. But, sometimes you just have to call something what it is, and not sugar coat it.
A while back, a fellow named Barry left a whole series of comments here on LiP. Each comment was a complaint. A bitch, and a lot of moans too. The article on which Barry commented was about S & R. I am sure many of you are asking… “What is S&R?” Well, S&R is a Membership shopping store in the Philippines. A big box store. Just like Costco or Sam’s club, but in the Philippines. At one time, Costco owned part of S&R, and it is possible that they still do, I am not entirely certain on that.
S&R has been in Manila for years already. They opened in Davao City, where I live, about 2 years ago. My wife and I love S&R. We go often. I often joke with people and tell them that S&R Davao is only about 5 to 10 minutes walk from my house. Because it is so close, I go there very often. That is both a blessing and a curse!
It is a blessing because S&R has many imported products. Wide selections of products from the USA and Europe too. Mostly from the USA, though. Since I am an American expat living in the Philippines, when S&R opened, I started being able to get American products that I had not seen in years. I have been very happy with nearly everything I bought from S&R, and have really enjoyed having them here in town.
Why is S&R a curse, if I enjoy it so much? Well, S&R is a bit expensive. Especially after having lived in the Philippines for many years, and paying Philippine prices. Most things are somewhat or significantly cheaper in the Philippines, compared to the USA. So, when you start seeing those brands of products that you used to love so much, you really want the stuff. Nostalgia kicks in. Your stomach starts quivering and your taste buds start watering. But, then you see the prices! Not only are the prices USA prices, they are actually higher than USA prices. Of course they are. Because S&R must ship all of this stuff from the USA to the Philippines, and that costs money. There are also import fees and such. So, prices are fairly significantly higher than you would pay in the USA.
That is why it is a curse to live so near to S&R. Because we go there all the time, and it can get expensive.
We don’t have a problem with the prices
But, for us, we don’t feel they are overcharging or anything of the sort. If you want to purchase and consume imported products, you should expect to pay more for it, no matter where you live. That is our attitude, and we do enjoy the things that we purchase from S&R.
When Barry commented about S&R the other day, he was just ranting and raving about the things that S&R didn’t have. Complaining that they don’t have this brand of meat or that brand of meat. On and on. Barry was particularly enthralled with “Columbus” brand meats from the USA, and was quite upset that S&R didn’t have that brand.
Well, it became quite obvious to me that Barry must have only lived in the Philippines for a short time. When I moved to the Philippines some 15 years ago, we could not even buy butter or cheese in our area. You had to travel around 4 hours each way to find those products.
When S&R came to Davao 2 years ago, i started seeing brands of products that I had completely forgotten about over the years. Many of those things have become a regular part of my diet. Barry did not complain about prices, that was just something I mentioned. But, Barry was quite upset about the brands that he wanted, but were not available at S&R.
Anybody who was an expat here 10 or 15 years ago would understand that compared to that time, the selection of products and services available in the Philippines is so wide now! I can’t believe the things that I can walk into an store and pick up now compared to before. And, if you are talking S&R, the selection is out of this world. For example, one thing that Barry was really talking about was Salami from Columbus meats. Well, they have many different types of salami at S&R, just not the Columbus brand. Know what? They have many Salami brands from Europe – Italy! Where was salami originated? Italy, of course! I would have to imagine that salami from Italy is at least of equal quality to salami made in the USA, and probably superior!
So, my point here is to expats, no matter what country you live in… be thankful for the products that are available these days! You can bet the situation is a lot better than it was in the past! I know it is here in the Philippines!