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Ain’t No Convenience Store Chains in Vietnam!

Here is a stark difference between Thailand and Vietnam: The Convenience Store Scene. In Thailand, every two hops you take you will smash against a 7-Eleven. Multinational colonization is pulsing strong in Thailand!

On the positive side of this situation, globalization allows any tourist to satisfy her Big Gulp craving from the top to the bottom of Thailand.

Unfortunately, however, this multinational dominance also meant that most of my Thai temple pictures have 7-Eleven signs peeking above the holy rooftops! It also means that much money is funneling into multinational hands rather than Thai ones.

In Vietnam, in contrast, Vietnamese nationalism has a firm grip on the landscape. It seems that nearly every property, from hotels to stores, is Vietnamese-owned. This is lovely because it keeps the money within Vietnamese hands. In contrast, how sad it was, while visiting the Dominican Republic, to realize that every beachfront hotel we stayed in was Italian or German-owned!

Unfortunately, however, the lack of multinational chains in Vietnam means it can be frustratingly difficult to locate and buy basic goods. If you want water, soap, or dried squid, great! Every three sidewalk squares boasts a different grizzled and cone-hatted Vietnamese women ready to sell to you. The small corner stores shown in these Hoi An photos also teem with your most basic tourist desires.

If you want to buy anything more complex, however, you are relegated to desperately hand-signing your desired item to the woman as she looks at you like a crazy person, then produces from behind the counter something utterly unrelated.

Please take a moment to visualize how this would look for the word: “tampon”.

The bottom line: multinational companies have their pros as well as their cons!

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