Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oddities at E-Mart

Yesterday was a rainy day, so we decided that we'd drive over to Tongyeong (just off the island) to visit E-Mart, supposedly the Korean equivalent of Wal-Mart. Overall, we didn't think it was that much better than Tesco, which is much closer, so we probably won't make a special trip out there again. But we did see some interesting things, including:
  • A huge crowd in front of the grapes in the produce section. Grapes were on sale for 8,000 won for 5 kilos, so people were massing by the grape display to pick up large cardboard trays full of grapes. What will they do with them all?
  • A "cupping set" in the health area. This set consists of several rows of small plastic cups, varying slightly in size, and a sucker that pulls the air out of the cups once they're placed on your skin. It's a Traditional Chinese Medicine thing. We got a big kick out of trying them out. It feels weird.
  • The employees singing, in unison, and bowing repeatedly, right in the middle of the produce section.
  • Free samples of tofu and drinking vinegar.
  • Huge sacks of dried chili peppers for sale.
  • Covers for everything. If you are on the lookout for a tablecloth, you can find on the same aisle cloth covers for tissue boxes, microwaves, washers and dryers, chair legs, and, most amusingly, refrigerator door handles.
On our drive to the store, we also saw some teenagers with a lousy job. The town is having a festival commemorating a battle, and the teenagers, dressed in traditional clothing, were stationed in wooden lookout towers along the road into the town. There was nothing for them to do but sit and look at the road. They looked as bored as it is possible for a person to look. Keegan remarked that it was funny to see one of them talking into a radio, but I reminded him that they were lookouts and they had to have some way to communicate!


chrissy said...

I think we really need some covers...a nice refridge door handle one may be nice. Actually, we really need one for our cast iron skillet. =P

How did you get off the Island? Did you take your car on a ferry?

Ellen said...

Watch out - you may receive some fridge covers when you least expect them!

There's a bridge off the island (pretty much on the other side from where we are). It's faster to take the ferry to Busan, but to get to E-Mart, the bridge is it.

Jamie said...

Just when I feel the tedium of my own job . . . I think of Korean teenagers playing ye-olde-watchtower in the humid Korean summertime.

KIM! said...

i hope that you are discrettly taking photos of EVERYTHING.