Recently, a new Duty Free Shop was opened in Davao. While it is at the airport, as you would expect, it is located about as far away from the terminal building as you can get while still being on the airport grounds. In the past, when there was a Duty Free Shop in Davao, it was more of an outlet where wealthy locals could find a lot of imported products for sale.
You see, as I think I have alluded to before here, one thing that is lacking in most of the stores around Davao, and really all of Mindanao is being able to find quality goods in the stores. Things have, over the years, been improving on this front, but it is still not up to what it should be.
While I had read in the local newspaper some time back that a Duty Free Shop was opening in Davao, I had forgotten about it. Today, though, Feyma and I had to go to the airport to pick up a friend who was arriving in town. When we got there, we noticed the new Shop, and we decided that after we picked up our friend, we would go over and check the place out. As I mentioned, there used to be a Duty Free Shop in Davao, although it was closed down maybe about 4 years ago. I have never heard any official reason why it was closed down, but I have heard a lot of gossip that there was some kind of impropriety going on there, but honestly I know nothing more than rumors. At that time, the Duty Free Shop was in a local Hotel (Grand Regal Hotel). It was never a place that tourists would go to, although that is what the name implied, but rather a place where locals shopped. Feyma and I used to go there and get goods from the USA that were not available in the regular stores here. While I’ve never been a shopper of Duty Free goods when traveling, this place did get our business simply because they had goods that we wanted to buy.
Well, earlier today, we did go and check out the new Duty Free Shop. It was a beautiful place, and they had a ton of imported goods that could not be find elsewhere. The first thing that shocked me was that when I looked at the price tags, the prices were so cheap! Oops! I looked at it expecting to see Peso prices, and there is a $ sign in front of the price! Yikes! It’s not cheap, it is super expensive! We saw stuff there that was $50 for an item where we could find a local equivalent for under $10. Feyma and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and while we did stay and check the place out, we didn’t buy anything!
After we left, and were walking to the car, I told Feyma that I think the prices were not so outrageous, but rather we had been living here so long that we were already used to the local prices! After we thought about it, we realized that at the old Duty Free Shop the pricing was also in Dollars. We were short term residents at the time when we used to shop at the Duty Free, now we are long term residents! We have become used to the pricing that one can expect here. Now, we shudder at the thought of paying the prices that we would have gladly paid when we first moved here, or when we were still in the States.
I can’t imagine what we would think if we took a trip back to the States to shop! I am thinking that we wouldn’t buy very many items!