Sunday, February 1, 2015

Looking after Sari-Sari store is full of wonder

Most of visitors from at least my country Japan, wonder how Sari-Sari store works.

I have opportunity to look after mother in law's Sari Sari store, sometimes, which feed my curiously very well. 

What is the Sari Sari store?
Sari-Sari store, some explain as convenience store. Maybe convenience store may be suitable explanation in term of variety of goods. 

But usually size of store is not big as convenience store and customer is not allowed to take items in his or her hand to have a look. Customer needs an assistant to take a look what you need.

What does Sari Sari store have? daily stuff, seasoning ( stock cube, pepper, sugar, salt, oil, soy source and so on), detergent for clothe and dish, soup, softener, shoe paste, foods (eggs, sometime rice), snacks coffee, powdered juice and so on. I roughly estimated number of items around 100. 

I mentioned it is small store. Then you may wonder how 100 items fits in the small store because each items are relatively small. 

For example, pepper is sold by one small pack (it may be 2 grams or so). Most of all items mentioned above is sold by small packs. Customer comes and buy when s/he needs.

Automatically price per item will be impossibly big. 

What is the best selling items?
Even though all items are related to daily life, but there are sort of trend. Based on my observation, items below are sold very well.

Cellphone load, most of people use prepaid cellphone, which means they have to buy load time to time because prepaid load has expiration. For example, if you load 30 pesos worth, expiration is 15 days. So time to time, people come and load.  

Instant coffee is also one of well-sold items especially in the morning.  

Snacks, in general children come to buy lorry-pop, candy and stiko. Stiko is the best seller! But what is stiko? Stiko is wafer stick with/without chocolate. According to the another sari sari store owner mentioned one plastic container will be sold in a day.

Ice cube especially sunny day, is one of most sell-able items. It takes sometime to make it because owner of store have to pour certain amount of water to the small plastic and tie this plastic nicely. I am not good at that. 

Prices of some items.
cellphone load: amount of load plus 2-3 pesos. 

instant coffee: 5-9 pesos (depends on the brand but nescafe 3 in one is 6-7 pesos now)
stiko: 1 peso/per stick
Ice cube: 3 pesos/1 big cube ( I think 500 ml)
candy: 1 peso/1 candy
egg: 6-7 pesos/1 egg

We would see the store won't earn that much even it have many customer every day. Another store owner said they can earn 1,000-2,000 pesos. But it also depends on the location ( it is nearby the school or there are less competitor and so on) 

Learning local language
Bicol language is dominantly used in local community. And of course, when they buy daily stuffs in Sari Sari store, they speak in Bicol language. Experience attending the store made me learn some vocabularies. 

But at the begging, it was sort of disaster. For example, customer wanted to buy egg but he  used unknown word. I know egg in Tagalog but not in Bicol. I asked him to point it. Then, I could finally figure it out. Egg in Bicol is sogoc.

Problem is not only not knowing local language, but also knowledge of product. Customer often mentioned name of product. I know some of these such as palmolive (shampoo), Joy (dish washing detergent, which also have different sizes)
Sperma...I did not know. It was brand name of candle. Candle in local language is candela.

And sometime, I did not know price of some items. Eventually, I asked mother in law. It happened often.  

I still haven't leaned how to transfer cellphone load. There are various options aside from price. Especially, Smart (telecommunication company) 's loading is complected.  I was quite discouraged to do so then I ended up asking my nephew to do so if he is around :D

Well, I am still having fun to occasionally sit in the sari sari store to welcome customers because through this I somehow see people's daily needs and learn new vocabularies. 

I want to visitors experience buying something from local sari-sari store not in the super market. 

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