Mega Store – Indian Style

“Mom, we have to take you to Spar,” my kids kept telling me. Well, I finally made it there, and it sure was another cultural experience. Spar is India’s version of a Wal-Mart, but with some major differences. Unlike Wal-Mart this store is in the Mall.

The next thing I noticed was the grocery carts. They have these 2-tiered baskets which are rare in the US. The regular basket carts have bigger wheels that rotate 360, making it easy to move the cart sideways, but harder to push straight forwardly. I am not a fan. In the picture below, you see refrigerators for sale. Yes, they are that small.

Another unique part of this experience is seeing women in Burkas. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a woman in a Burka in the US. Muslims make up about 20% of India’s population. The men wear these white knit caps. I have to say, the Muslim rickshaw drivers are the most honest.

In the US we buy things in bulk, however, they are never displayed in this fashion:

That is rice, who knew there were so many varieties?? Also interesting is the size of their washing machines. Check this out:

Having small washing machines make sense here because very few people own a dryer. They do it the old fashioned way by hanging them outside. Dislike.

What I like about Spar is, it has everything! They have clothes, electronics, toys and a huge grocery section. They even a delicatessen! Sandwiches are not a popular food item here, so finding sliced meat is difficult.

Not-so-great about Spar is the service. I can’t watch the guy at the check out station, it’s too painful. But this is typical. Most service in India is slow. At one of my local stores, the guy HAND WRITES each item you buy and adds it up on a calculator. It’s like going back in time. A good lesson in patience. What is the hurry anyway?