Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sari-Sari Stores

Considering the mercantile attitudes and sales abilities of the Filipinos the publicist Regalario wrote once: “Give a Filipino thousand pesos and he probably will use this sum as a start-capital for a small retail-business". This thesis seems to be confirmed, if you look in a typical street of a Philippine barangay. With few exceptions one sari-sari store follows the other. You could gain the impression, that every house is or has a little street store - the Philippines as an agglomeration of small and smallest micro enterprises. The ubiquitous sari-sari stores are also belonging to the typical inventory of the Philippines like the Jeepney, Barong or the Sampaguita garlands. They can provide the owners with an additional income.

Sari-sari stores are often little wooden huts. A oversized billboard, emphasizing the importance, can contrast with a narrowly cut sales window. A look into the sales window shows a little room in semidarkness filled with properly arranged goods. Here basic commodities are sold: i.e. rice, salt, sugar, preserved foods, calorie-rich candies, detergents, batteries, shampoo or floor wax. Very often soft drinks and surely also beer and gin are bestsellers. Cosmetics are bringing higher profits, so they are exposed in a favourable position. Fruits (for example bananas) and vegetables can be added, particularly if there is no “Wet Market " with fresh products in the neighbourhood. A western observer can be astonished, seeing the sale of only one or two cigarettes. Sandals can be a special offer attracting possible buyers. Sometimes the exposed range of goods is thinned out to reduce the taxation by official and unofficial authorities. But the range of goods seems to be very similar even if there is a strong competition with other sari-sari stores in the neighbourhood. New products need further investments and the demand may be only small.

Sari-saris have an important social function in everyday life. Here you can hear the newest gossips and you can have a little chat. In the morning you see perhaps women with their children, clinging on the apron strings and pleading for sweeties. Later the pupils come for a Coke or a comic strip. And in the evening men can sit on provisory benches smoking cigarettes or drinking beer and Ginebra, just to forget the frustration of the day or to have some entertainment. With closing time the store gets very well secured, because you never know … read more

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I've been visiting your website now and again to read to catch up with Dinagat Is news and finding it very interesting and I like the way you reference your research.Keep up the good work.I now live in WEstern Australia but my parents is from Dinagat.