The 9 Days of Korea: Day 4

4. Shopping

Dionne and I were both named after famous singers of the past, who now do infomercials.

Cher: Dionne and I were both named after famous singers of the past, who now do infomercials.

Young adults in and around Seoul are high maintenance and fashion-oriented. They also are petit in build compared to Americans and are definitely into the hipster movement but with a more refine style.[1]

I love to shop and when you have my spending habits mixed with the blind spending that comes with tourism, you start to feel like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. The markets and shops were all great, but what I really loved were the malls. Call me Alicia Silverstone.

Malls in Seoul – Take a hotel and give each floor a different department. There’s always a main escalator (and of course elevators) that lead to a different floor that is a different department.

The ground floor may be parking, the 2nd floor could be the men’s department, then the  3rd could be the women’s department, then the 4th floor could be the grocery store, the 5th floor could be all restaurants and so on and so forth. Do this for about 15 floors, and you have a mall that’s in Seoul.

Each department is clean and organized. Think of the complete opposite of a Forever 21 store.

Two things about shopping in Korea that stand out right away are: a) The average ratio of workers to customers is around 2-to-1. So there are a bjillion people in a department, yet more than half of them are workers. Yeah… and b) it’s painfully obvious how much more pride Koreans take in their work. Whether it be at the local McDonalds, working in the malls or whatever; wherever you go in Korea, workers are attentive (speak many different languages, a requirement to work in the big malls in Seoul), efficient, friendly and extremely focused on helping and caring for customers. They are all in uniform and never on their cell phones.

Again, think complete opposite of a Forever 21 store.

Malls in Jeonju – I only went to one mall in Jeonju, but it was this inside-outside mall with different floors, a driving range, a movie theatre, and over 300 stores. Part of the mall was outside (great for summer) and part of the mall was inside with an underground car-garage. I will take a picture and post it here when I return.

Also, on the way to the mall in Jeonju, my birth family stopped and got gas. After the transaction, they were given a tissue box (it was a full service gas station) and I never figured out why. #coolstorybro

Anyway, I leave for Korea in 48 hours and I feel more excited then when I was 8 years-old on Christmas Eve.

[1] A men’s t-shirt size large over there, would be a size small in US. No joke.


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