Thursday, April 20, 2017

Do you see a difference?
Barge Date: 13-04-2017 

Underwear, sheets, and stores in Belgium

In one of my earlier posts, I noted that I traveled to Europe with no underwear. You might ask yourself why does he want to talk about this again? Well, it is all about economics.

True, I did find underwear but for an old man they were just not my style. So I watched and I looked and finally I spotted boxer style underwear in a store not far from the boat. I put off this purchase for some time but gave in as the need was important. (I don't know why this picture appears as a video.  Some day I may learn the iPhone).

What would I pay for underwear in the US? Well, I know I can go to a Walmart and get six pairs of Fruit of the Loom underwear for about $10. OK, maybe I should have asked the price first, but I did not. I selected two packages a total of four pairs and proceeded to make the purchase. In Belgium, this underwear cost me €12 EACH. Buyer beware.

But my entry into Belgian economics continued. I needed just one sheet for a bed on the boat. OK, off to buy one sheet. I should have asked the price first. This is just an average, run of the mill store here in town; nice display windows, nice people working inside. But one sheet cost me €43. Is there not an alternative to these stores on Main Street?

I was told about a store at a distance of maybe 15 km that was primarily described as a large hardware store and with better prices than the local store here in town. I tried to get directions to the store as I did not know the actual name or the town it was in. But thinking that I would be able to find it, I took off and traveled, to and from, about 30 km and no store. I returned to the boat to do research.

And I found it. In fact they have two stores, one nearby and another in Bruges/Brugge. With better directions, I took off again on the bike and realized that if I had traveled just 2 kilometers further during my first trip, I would have found the store. It is out in the country for some reason, sitting all by itself. But inside was a lot to see. I would say it is a marriage between Walmart and Lowe's.

From garden supplies, tools to some lumber to clothing and baby toys, it had a range of products to keep me exploring for an hour or more. Some of the items were of a better quality and some not so. I did take note that they sold sheets that I could have purchased from them; 2 sheets and 2 pillowcases for €33. Lesson learned.

As I left the store, I asked the cashier why the name “Stock America”. She says that the store was designed in the format of stores that we might find in the US, hence the name. I have been back several times.

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