Saturday, October 05, 2013

E-Mart wows and woes

Went to E-Mart this evening. I was on the lookout for several items:

•floor wipes for my studio
•paper towels (for home and office)
•a standing paper-towel holder (like this)
•a second utensil-storage container
•laundry pods (or powder, if no pods were available)
•a mattress cover
•a proper ironing board
•psyllium fiber
•art supplies

I got the floor wipes, paper towels, utensil storage, ironing board, and some markers, but failed to find the paper-towel holder or a proper but-pen (a sponge-tipped calligraphic brush pen). The ironing board was a pleasant surprise: before, E-Mart hadn't stocked any regular, normal-looking boards; instead, they'd had some sort of stubby-looking contraption that sold for almost $80. No way in hell was I going for that. Today, however, next to those stubby, expensive ironing boards, E-Mart had some standard boards out, and they cost less than $30. I gladly tossed one into my shopping cart.

I did find mattress covers, but a single cover (100cm x 150cm) cost W38,000, which was outrageous. I don't know whether Daiso sells bed linens, but I can't see myself paying more than $10 for a single fitted sheet (see this for some perspective). The same was true for the fiber: I went to the health-food section of the store, knowing full well that all the prices for health-related items would be jacked up. I asked whether the ladies there had any fiber tablets; they showed me a very nice-looking, cigar-box-shaped container that would have cost me W37,000 had I bought it. Fuck, no, ladies! They were very nice, though. They asked we what country I was from; I told them I was American. They said they'd thought I was Korean. I explained that my mother had been Korean, and they obligingly nodded and said, "Ahhh..." I wish I could always part on good terms like that, after not buying anything from a Korean seller. Some sellers give you the stink-eye if you walk away from them.

The laundry pods were pretty expensive. I think I regret buying them. W24,900 for a package of 32 (about 12-16 weeks' washing for me, given how often I use my washing machine throughout the week) strikes me as rather steep. Walmart sells a 72-pack of Tide pods for $33. I bought the pods, though, because the powdered detergent doesn't seem to remove enough of the funk that builds up in a well-worn shirt (and continues to build up when the shirt sits in a laundry pile for a couple days). That's one reason why I miss clothes dryers: they cook odor-causing bacteria to death. I'm hoping these pods can provide a more intense cleaning, thus compensating for the lack of a dryer.

I'm going to check the local market for the paper-towel holder and the mattress cover. I'm hoping I can get a more reasonable deal there than I can at E-Mart. If I become a Costco member, I'll have to see whether Korean Costcos sell psyllium fiber for semi-reasonable prices. Back in Virginia, Target was my supplier: I could buy a 160-tablet bottle of psyllium for only $4.40. Compare that with Walgreens, whether a 320-tablet bottle could set you back about $16-$18. It's going to be a sad day when I run out of my current fiber supply. That shit keeps me regular.

Meanwhile, I'd say today's shopping foray was a decent hunt.



Beavis said...

Hehehehe. You said, "Butt Pen!" Hehehehe.

John from Daejeon said...

My local Homeplus actually had mattress covers on sale last week for 9,900 won, so you might want to check them out. I was just happy they had a deal on bramble (blackberry) jelly (re-branded with a sticker as jam--which it is not). I do find it odd that it is being sold in 1 lb. jars (labeled 454 grams). I would think that they would now sell it in 500, 100, or 50 gram increments instead of using the old Imperial system. If you do need jelly, Costco has a good deal on Welch's grape. Three two-pound jars for 11,000 won. At least the Costco membership here is a bargain at 35,000 won. Also, dryers are now being sold in more and more places in South Korea, just get ready to pay a steep price if you really want one, but you might find one at a second-hand shop or maybe ask the proprietor of the shop to be on the lookout for one for you.

Kevin Kim said...

Great info. Thanks, John. I think there's a Home Plus in Gyeongsan City, next door to Hayang. If not, there's certainly one (or more) in Daegu.

John from Daejeon said...

Kevin, how hard is it to get Swiss citizenship? $2,800 monthly income for all adults is very tempting.

Charles said...

Homeplus is pretty awesome. They are run by Tesco now, so they have a lot of imported (UK) stuff. I've found Captain Scott's Strong Blend Tea to be perfect for recreating that afternoon-milk-tea-in-London experience. They have the best cereals overall, too (although my most favoritest cereal in Korea is Dorset muesli, which they sell at E-mart... but only during the summer for some reason).

John from Daejeon said...

Charles, you might want to check out Costco. They are now stocking this magically delicious cereal in South Korea.