What's across the street from Starbucks in the US? That's right. Starbucks.
What's across the street from a Sari-Sari store in the Philippines? You guessed it. Another Sari-Sari store.
One of the ubiquitous features of almost any street in the Philippines: multiple "Sari-Sari" stores. You know how in the US you go mooch an egg or a cup of sugar off your neighbor?
Where we live, SO not necessary.
There are 12 to 15 Sari-Sari stores within a one-block radius of our house. What can you get there?
What CAN'T you get there is the real question.
That is everything from sardines to sugar to monosodium glutamate in little bags to...well I'm sure you could use the stuff in those bottles for some type of cooking.
But wait, there's more. Tired of buying those space-eating Wal-Mart size bottles of shampoo and body wash? We've got the solution. Just buy singles at your Sari-Sari store. No more wasted space! You have to shop a little more often, but the store is only 25 yards away from our house.
And, after a long, hot walk with the kiddos, you realize, there's no soda in the house.
You can buy your orange pop and Sprite for the three kids who LOVE "orange Coke" and "green Coke." And you can get that one bottle of water for your 5-year old who for some weird reason won't drink soda, or any other sweetened drink, and you have instant widespread happiness. Yes, since you ask, they are drinking their pop in little plastic bags.
(**Disclaimer: We very rarely give our children soda, and since one of them doesn't even like it, we must be doing something right.)
And what better way to get to know your neighbors than to hang out at the Sari-Sari store? Aww...that's such a cute baby in the background.
Run out of minutes for your cellphone? The Sari-Sari store has them! Load up on your cellphone minutes while sipping your Sprite-in-a-bag, picking up your spare can of sardines, and chatting with the neighbors.
Where can you get the local gossip? you guessed it.
Power outage at your house? Don't know why? The people hanging out at the Sari-Sari store do. Or at least they have some good theories about it, if you want to hear them.
Could it get any better?!?
Yes, actually, it could. When you see the smile of your youngest child when she finally starts to master drinking soda with a straw out of a plastic bag, you feel a great sense of parental pride.
I bet you wish you had Sari-Sari stores on your street too. Well, that's ok!
We currently have openings for new missionaries...if you wanna come, we have a Sari-Sari store (well, actually a dozen or so) just for you!
But, this is a limited time offer, so pick up your phone now!
Oh, out of cellphone minutes? Wow, you know, if you had a Sari-Sari store on your street, you could fix that problem in like 5 minutes...