While I was home, I found myself using words or trying to explain words that didn’t have an English translation or equivalent. One of these was the sari-sari. Or the sari^2. Or the sari store. Whatever you want to call it, we don’t have it.
“So it’s kinda like a little convenience store?”
Kinda but not really. I guess the Filipino equivalent of one? But…no. It’s tiny. And you don’t go in it…just in front of it?
“So it has pretty much anything you want?”
No. Pretty much anything you need. Unless it’s a brown out, then they will be out of candles. Etcetera etceterazzz.
“So it’s open all day and night?”
Yes…but no…errrrr. They are usually connected to someone’s house, so they can wake up if you need something. But…you wouldn’t want to wake them up…but…
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T EXIST IN THE STATES?
The sari-sari store.
It’s your typical lazy day. Wearing the same clothes that you wore to sleep. A few water bottles and chip bags litter your bed. You’re watching the same episode for the 3rd time. There is not a chance you’re accomplishing anything today.
As you watch character A make a funny quip at character B and the canned laugher plays, you suddenly realize you are hungry. More than that, you are craving popcorn. And a drink. And candy. And chocolate.
You’re gonna have to put on clothes (maybe even shower? I don’t remember), warm up the car, drive to a supermarket or gas station, purchase your stuff and head back home.
You’re having a party! The music is playing, people are starting to say inappropriate things, and act weird- so much fun! But wait! Everyone has consumed all the beer and alcohol! It’s past liquor store hours! What do you do now? Call someone to pick up some more for you? Pull out the board games? Send everyone home?!
Not in the Philippines, my friend! Each street is lined with multiple sari-sari stores, which will cater to each of your unique survival and Filipino needs.
Don’t wanna ruin your perfect lazy day? Head on down to the sari-sari store which is conveniently located next to your house! They don’t have what you need? Walk a few feet down the street to one of the dozen other stores and ask the next ma’amsir! No need for hygiene or socially acceptable clothing, and minimal movement required!
Don’t want to ruin that hoppin’ party? Head on down to the sari-sari store! They’ll always have a steady stock of Red Horse litros, Pale Pilsen bottles and maybe even some Beer Na Beer to meet all your party needs! You can also buy individual sticks of cigarettes for that friend who is trying to cut back on their smoking! No need for a sober cab! Time of the night doesn’t matter if you’re having fun! If you’re lucky enough, you might even run into a videoke party on the way!
Sari-sari stores have everything you need. Snacks, drinks, cooked food, uncooked food, ice, phone load, household supplies! Instead of going to the store, sari-sari’s bring the store to you! Well…across the street. But, same thing.