I live in the Subic Area of Luzon and the shopping here is very good because of the high numbers of Kano’s Canadians, British, Australians and plus a few folks from Europe who live and shop here. The stores know the type of products we want and tend to cater to our needs, maybe because they just really like us, or it could be that we are willing to spend a little extra cash to get what we like. Or profit motivation?
A couple of years ago there was a large influx of Koreans here in the Subic area and some of the stores jumped on that band wagon, and tried to satisfy that group to the exclusion of all others, that have been their bread and butter since the early 90’a when the US Air Force left Clark and the Navy and Marine Corps left Subic.
But the Korean love affair stopped after six months when the store owners found their shelves full and their registers empty. They reverted back to normal once again, because it seems that some Koreans opened small markets scattered around the Freeport and that is where these folks preferred to shop. As those stores could order direct from Korea and make their customers happy. I hope you know I’m talking about South Korea and not the crazy hermit kingdom to the north. This information was passed to me by a few Koreans I have met here.
Most Items being NIS are imported products that will never end, but if it’s NIS today, it might be there the in the next week or two. Or maybe months down the road. Which is kinda good, as now we have something to look forward to? That can add a bit of excitement to our otherwise mundane lives, and gives us something to bitch about over a couple of beers at the VFW, the Fleet Reserve or the American Legion clubs. My glass is always half full as long as it’s beer we are talking about. And the other groups of people and locals I mentioned above are welcome to US Service Clubs that are scattered around the world, The Brit Club in Hong Kong (AKA China Fleet Club) is one I have been too many times and a better club would be hard to find. We have informal agreements with other countries militaries.
But my biggest disappointment in stores is the S&R Store in San Fernando, Pampanga; we just let our membership lapse, the Department Store side is fine but the grocery side had gone downhill in a hand bucket. If you notice in a small local market when the stock is low they fill the space with spam? Or a myriad of other items that come in great supply? What will happen is after a week, no one can remember what used to go in that shelf space so it is never reordered again.
My last tour of duty in the Navy was the glamour filled job of Commissary Store Officer at Naval Base Roosevelt Rhoads, Puerto Rico, and I found that my employees we doing that same thing. I printed the inventory listing and checked every item we were supposed to carry and ordered all missing stock. Within a month my customers were happy but my sale floor and warehouse crew were not smiling.
So the question I have is; why would I drive one hour each way to San Fernando to buy spam? Hell, the Sari-sari across the street sells spam and Century tuna!
I go there for English Muffins (Not Thomas Fork Split) but damn good ones just the same, they have been out of stock for three months and are made here in the Islands, is the company broke, or just pissed off at S&R? I have no idea but there is none in the store, but lots and lots of Hot Dog Buns where the muffins used to be. Thank God they didn’t fill the rack with Spam.
Someone could knock over my half full glass (Of beer), if the manager of the S&R doesn’t text me when (Or IF) they restock the English Muffins and the rest of the store. (As he promised he would) So this is what I know, my OPPO phone will sit for years on my dresser waiting for that text, I will not be holding my breath, I’ll just breathe normally and not have to drive to San Fernando’s S&R Store anytime soon. The Home Depot in San Fernando; now that is a different matter. I go there now and then just to pick up tools and grunt, but I don’t buy them anymore because I don’t need them. I hire people who have their own tools. Yes, it’s 2017 and the trades are buying their own tools! Ah the good old days when I had to lend my tools to the people I hired, I miss that. But because of an abundance of “Brother-in-laws”, my tools are now “Not in Stock” thanks to them.