May 11th, 2004

krazy koati

You'll wonder where the yellow went

Singapore stocks its stores in funny ways. You know how in the U.S. you can buy pretty much anything -- peanut butter cups, birthday cards, DVD players -- at pretty much any store -- Rite-Aid, Hannaford, Borders? They don't do it that way here. Stores actually divide into pretty sharp zones of control here. Mostly this is an ordinary retreat to the logical divisions stores had before the early 80s -- you can buy skin cream in the drug store, not in the 7-Eleven or the grocery; you can buy fresh apples in the grocery, not the drug store or the 7-Eleven -- but a few are bizarre. More than one drug store, for example, has wheelchairs for sale, but not soda. I suppose they weren't concerned about the impulse sales.

Today fortunately I needed to buy only things that came from the same store ... soap, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, lemon-flavored Chapstik analogue (I highly recommend the lemon flavor, in this application), deodorant. That's convenient, although I noticed I had to make basically the same set of purchases from the same store early last month too. While I don't mind getting everything in one sweep, it does leave me feeling like I'm falling apart in synch. Since I know the cashier remembered me I can only wonder what kind of impression I give her.

Besides the lemon Chapstik, there's also apple and peach flavors. In the deodorant there's some lovely scents, including lavender, ``Mandarin Peach'' and ``Iced Tea.'' Those ``hand sanitizer'' hand drops also come in lemon, apple, strawberry, some weird and indescribably petrochemical yet appealing scent, and lavender. One's tempted to see what scents they offer for foot care and for bandages.

Nobody sells peanut butter cups, though.

Trivia: During the five-hour victory procession to Westminster following the battle of Agincourt, King Henry V was never observed to smile. Source: Shakespeare's Kings: The great plays and the history of England in the Middle Ages, 1337-1485, John Julius Norwich.

Currently Reading: Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed The Course of History, Giles Milton.