Sunday, January 8, 2017

North American Consumptive Behaviour

People in big cities across North America think nothing about zipping to the store for whatever they need.  Shopping is a pastime.

Here, shopping is about the necessities - unless you go to San Jose.  We made such a pilgrimage this week.  48 hours of shopping, eating, driving, spending.

We went with specifics in mind - outdoor dining furniture, outdoor clothes dryer, water filter cartridges, sodastream, pendant lights for the kitchen, BBQ accessories, pressure sprayer, gas can, extension cords . . . . EPA, Walmart, PriceSmart, Cemaco

And there was also the mule list - the "oh, you're going to San Jose - can you get me a ..." list.  Never a bother to help the neighbours as they have helped you before and will again.

2 nights at a hotel (Studio Hotel in Santa Ana) and 2 nice meals (Lo Spago and the Studio Cafe, Bar and Grill) with the days filled with shopping.  All in all a productive but exhausting excursion.

Items of note - 

We wanted outdoor dining table and chairs for the gazebo.  A friend said to check out CR Patio.  It was near the hotel, and WAZE said to turn into this dirt drive off the highway (yes, the toll highway has all sorts of little drives and lanes on and off - we aren't talking offramps - a drive with potholes and ruts that you need to move through while trying to get your vehicle off the road where everyone else is going 100km).  Just off the road was a metal gate and guard.  We told the guard we were going to CR Patio.  He raised the gate and pointed around the side.  There was a giant transport truck parked and unloading patio furniture into a lot - no way in.  The guard motioned around the other side - the whole place was a equestrian center - or was at some point - paddocks, walking rings, jumping equipment, but no sign of horses or activity.  Another guard came out ahead and walked us through a set of gates and pointed down the stairs.  This place was obviously a clubhouse as some point, with what looked like a restaurant sitting on the second floor overlooking the action and the abandoned swimming pool down below.  Down the steps, a guy stopped unloading the truck and came over.  He took us into the "showroom" - clearly this place was not meant for public access, dusty and cluttered.  He showed us stuff - all intended for large spaces - all high end Castelle furniture for what seemed like a steal.  We didn't buy anything, but it was well worth the experience.

We wanted a SodaStream (beverage carbonation system).  Until recently they were not available in Costa Rica, but I found a place online and had connected with a representative.  With rough directions we tried to find the place without success.  A phone call the next day got us better directions, so off we went.  The company was in Pavas - one of the San Jose suburbs, near the National Stadium.  We drove around and finally found the landmark - the Pizza Hut corporate office - it was supposed to be in front of this - no obvious sign of Pura Vida Co2.  Another call - there is a drive and a chain next to the Koehler showroom - tell the guard you want Bodega 12.  Ok - a whole warehouse complex - no obvious signs for any of the businesses - we ask one of the many people coming and going - #12 is pointed out - a half-full warehouse - plywood and such - an office on one side - oh yes, this is the place - turns out SodaStream is a side business for a custom melamine cutting company (state of the art computerized cuts for homes condos and resorts).  A cup of coffee - conversation with the owner - a tour of the plant - we leave with our SodaStream.

Just 2 adventures in our retail therapy!  Not just another trip to the mall.

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