Some purchases just aren't worth it in Vietnam


Every now and then i get a "hankering" for food items that I enjoyed as a child or are just my favorite things from when I lived in USA. A lot of these gumptions of mine stem from being a kid and others are just items that cost next to nothing in the US so while I do understand that I am in a whole another country and these things aren't just going to be available everywhere because the locals don't use them. I do get briefly excited when I see them on a shelf.

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I had a small heart attack when I saw this gem staring at me from the shelf in the supermarket. Lucky Charms was one of my favorite cereals as a child. I realize that it is a sugar nightmare and is something that kids (or adults) probably should never eat but when you are a kid you spend the entire day running around like a lunatic, or at least I did so the extra calories were probably not so bad.

The Honey Nut Cheerios next to it are almost as exciting to me. I was fully prepared to buy all the boxes of both items until I looked at the prices below them on the shelf.

Both of these boxes were nearly 200,000 VND which is damn near $10. Now I want to relive my childhood memories as much as the next guy but when you combine this really high cost for a box of cereal. I went over to a Kroger website to see what this costs back in US and A and it was substantially lower.

Kroger probably has similar prices to ever other major store so the fact that it is $2.79 for this size box and the giant box which is more than double the size is a mere $4 you can perhaps understand my apprehension in buying this. I am not poor, I am not rich. I make enough money to get by and save a bit and that works out for me. I do not spend 4x the amount something is worth just because I really want it - whatever said product happens to be is irrlevant.

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Here is another product that I absolutely love. This is available I would imagine anywhere in the world but just like with the Lucky Charms, the supply vs demand dictates the price and unfortunately there is not a tremendous demand for it in Vietnam because the locals prefer traditional noodle soups and those are available made fresh for next to nothing on every street corner. A few shops here make their OWN tomato soup but call me a redneck if you want to, Campbells just tastes better to me. Maybe I enjoy the taste of preservatives.

A can of Campbells tomato soup can be acquired basically anywhere in America for $1. Here, if you are lucky to find the product at all, it is will cost at least 3.

Kraft Mac and Cheese operates under almost exactly the same economics in a 1:3 ratio way.

Other products that are dramatically expensive over here compared to USA is Doritos and Tostitos as well as the Salsas and cheese dips. These are about 4 times as expensive and this is why I never have them which is a damn shame because I do love my chips and dips!

The flip side of this little gripe is that fact that if you want to have almost anything that isn't in a box or can that comes from America, you can get it for a lot less than it would cost elsewhere in the world. I do not smoke but cigarettes are less than a dollar a pack so that makes my smoker buddies happy. Booze at a bar is less than a dollar a bottle depending on where you are sitting and if you are truly stingy most of the minimarts have outdoor seating areas where they encourage you to turn the pavement into a pub of sorts.

You just can't have any Lucky Charms, unfortunately.


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