Wednesday, March 20, 2013,
I'm at a loss of how to explain convenience stores to Western people who don't have the equivalents of convenience stores. The best way I can put it is like this, think of a mix between a gas station and a Walgreen's, but without the gas. A store where there's a limited supply of anything and almost everything you would need, drinks, snacks, cosmetics, stationery, you name it. However, everywhere! Replace every McDonald's, Walgreen's, and gas station with a convenience store, and you kind of get the idea.
I like convenience stores because, as you can imagine, they are very convenient! Whenever I need something I can just walk to a convenience store, I don't need to rely on anybody else to take me there. They always have the regular processed snacks available, but they also always have a selection of fresh food also. Salads, sandwiches, sweet potatoes, and hot pot! This is nice, because if you don't know anywhere else you can buy food, you can still buy food that is like a real meal.
I don't like convenience stores because they are expensive, and for the same reason that I do like them, they are too convenient. Although if you directly convert the prices in to USD the prices of items in convenience stores are equivalent to the prices of the same products in a Walgreen's, everything else in Taiwan anywhere you go is really cheap, so comparitively it's quite a waste of money. I'm constantly buying drinks at the convenience stores if I'm thirsty, I've become too lazy to carry my own water bottle because I know that there will always be a Seven Eleven or Family Mart nearby. That reminds me, what kind of convenience stores are there?
There are four popular kinds of convenience stores. In order of popularity, Seven Eleven, Family Mart, OK Mart, and Hi-Life. The competition between Seven Eleven and Family Mart is pretty fierce, but I'm still pretty sure that Family Mart isn't as popular. The only big difference between these is probably the fresh selection of foods they choose to sell and the prizes they offer if you collect all of their stickers. :) Sadly enough though, the prizes they offer often do convince me to go to one or the other.