You get to see them everywhere In Korea. Whether it is on your way to work or after a good night out with friends. They are always present. The convenience stores found in Korea are a great pit stop end route to your destination and they make for a safe ‘convenient interim meet up spot. Whether you need a cool beverage, a quick bite or even a warm hide-out while you catch your breath, Korean Convenience stores will always be there.
The culture behind convenience store revolves around their product and service offerings. The convenience stores in Korea seem to have really become a staple in weekly purchases as they offer easy access to imported beers and drinks which typically wouldn’t be stocked in restaurants. This combined with the variety of ice cream and ramen have made them an easy go to snack.
The true selling point of the convenience stores is that they are really not hard to find. They are situated (on average) and I kid not, roughly 200 meters away from each other. You are far more likely to see a convenience store in Korea than you are likely to see a foreigner. To some this might not be peculiar however to me it’s a huge change from the landscape in South Africa. Firstly convenience stores would be located in the city and away from residential areas. Secondly the stores in themselves will be well spaced and far from the other. Having lived in Korea for two years, having the convenience of not having to get in a car, to get a snack or item I might need is by far the epitome of convenience in a ‘convenience store’
There are a variety of stores located around the country; these would include Emart24, GS25, CU, Mini-Stop and the well-known 7-11. Most of them are open 24 hours a day. The Set up in the stores is typically uniform throughout all of the franchises. They all maximize every square space available to them. The aisles are narrow but maneuverable. Depending on the store you go to you can expect to find a bench outside for you to eat your food if you have time. I would personally advise you sit down and enjoy your snack if you don’t want the labouresome chore of finding a bin to throw away you wrapping. In addition most stores have a microwave, oven and ramen cookers. Usually you will find one person working in the store who rotates with other colleagues.