Saturday, September 13, 2008

Get Out of My Way; I'm Coming Through!

That is what it felt like tonight at E-Mart (Korean Wal-Mart). Sunday is Chuseok Day, but people the celebration starts on Saturday. Monday is the final day. There were so many people shopping. E-Mart has three floors for shopping. The basement is the grocery floor. The first floor is the clothing and cosmetic floor, and the second floor has books, electronics, appliances, toys, and household goods. I went to the basement so that I'd have something to eat because I'm not sure if the stores will be open during Chuseok. It was so hard to get around because there were so many people. There was a long line of people waiting a get a cart. I've never seen that before. According to Lonely Planet, Koreans believe that there is no obligation to be polite to somebody whom one has never met. Therefore, people are unlikely to say "excuse me" and likely to shove others out of the way. On the basement floor, there was a bottleneck at the escalator. I had to weave in around the people with carts to go back up. I decided to go up to the second floor to pay because it is usually not as busy; it was not tonight either. It usually does not take very long to get through the lines at the checkout. They have most of the lines open and people get through faster. All the clerks do it ring up the stuff and take the money. They do not do any bagging or load any carts. Once it has passed through their hands, it's your responsibility. The same goes for Home Plus. At E-Mart, many people do not bag their items because they charge 50 won (about five cents) per bag. After I paid on the second floor, I had to go to the third floor because that is the only place to go when you pay on the second floor. It took a little longer than normal to get an elevator down to the first floor. There was one that came, but it was packed and it was going up. When I finally got down to the first floor, there was a big crowd of people waiting to get in the elevator. In the United States people crawl out of the woodworks the day after Thanksgiving; here, they do it the day before.

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