The Tops Experience

Of course, living in Bangkok means you go shopping. I don’t know how many times I have been to my local Tops Supermarket, for instance. But every visit shows you something new and unexpected, especially if you arn’t from Thailand.

Take meat, for example. Nothing special, some pork for tonight. But look at the label… “Hygienic pork loin slice“. This raises the questions “where do you buy unhygienic meat?” and also “who buys it?


Then there is the milk section. Back in the UK and – I would guess – most of the western world you get a simple range of milk (different amounts of fat, perhaps a couple of flavours). Not so, here. This morning I stood and counted around 18 different types of milk with about 15 different colours. Of course you had your standard low-fat and full-fat options, but the flavours… mango milk? One day I would love to buy one bottle of each, just to taste. If I were Tops I would have “Farang tasting nights” so westerners could come along and see what it’s all about.

Finally the dried squid products. I can just about deal with the prospect of a dried squid as a snack, albeit one I won’t be snacking on anytime soon. But they have over 20 feet of accumulative shelf space dedicated to this (and other such things, like cuttlefish). I must also mention that, at any given time, over half of the dried-fish range appears to be endorsed by that most popular of Japanese pastimes, Ultraman.

And I don’t know who buys all this stuff. The supermarket is full of Thais and Westerners and noone has a basket full of oil-paint coloured milk. There are no shopping bags overflowing with dried squid.

Maybe noone buys it. This would explain why they are never out of stock of these items. And why they are always out of stock of more standard things.

4 Comments so far

  1. Paul (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2004 @ 12:09 pm

    Thanks for patronizing a Central Retail store. I’ll be sure to pass along your Farang Milk Tasting Night suggestion to the Tops president if I get the chance to meet him =)

  2. him (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2004 @ 12:37 pm

    I must admit, i didn’t know Tops was Central-owned. Sometimes it feels like they own… everything.

  3. Ben Harris (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2004 @ 3:11 pm

    Central owns the other half of Thailand. That is, the half Thaksin doesn’t own.

    Hey Paul, while you’re speaking to the Tops President, can you ask him to build one near my place?

  4. scuba (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2004 @ 4:46 pm

    Hey Him – you really want to know where to buy unhygienic meat and who buys it? From the reports that compe out of the public health department, it sounds like pretty much everywhere and everyone! Re the milk – how about a Coroba Milk Bar a la Clockwork Orange?

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