Pic #1 – Vick’s by the Pouch

I saw the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge on Chris Donner’s 61 Musings and loved the idea. Then, Chris challenged me to take part.

The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command. I’d love for everyone to try this, but if I have to nominate a blogger, I nominate Wandering Cows because they always do such a phenomenal job with photo challenges.

Here’s my first photo and the story that goes with it.

The Vick's pouches are the blue ones near Frans, in case you can't tell.

The Vick’s pouches are the blue ones near Frans, in case you can’t tell.

The man in this picture is Frans, Dutchman and host of the beautiful joglo guesthouse where I stayed in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. He graciously took me on a walk around the neighborhood behind the guesthouse and showed me life in the village.

We stopped by a school, stopped to greet some villagers, and then popped into this tiny shack-like store. I snapped this picture to show to a friend of mine who works for Vick’s. The brand team often tries to figure out how to sell to small, remote places like Java where people have little money and don’t buy more than they need in the moment. It was exactly what Frans was explaining to me about life there, too. He said that people don’t think ahead in places like Java, where immediate need trumps any idea of saving for the future. If you have a dollar, you spend a dollar. If you need toilet paper, or shampoo, or Vick’s cough medicine, you walk down to the little Mom & Pop store like this and buy a dose, or a roll, or whatever other single-use wares they sell. In Indonesia, that’s how Vick’s does business.

Here in America, we’d look at these Vick’s pouches and consider them free trial sizes. Then we’d buy a bundle of bottles of cough medicine in bulk and take them home to our cavernous cupboards.

Which approach is more like life in your corner of the world?


5 responses to “Pic #1 – Vick’s by the Pouch

  1. Rare, and getting more so, are the small country stores in America that cram a little bit of everything into a few hundred square feet. Walmart and other chains have done in most of these mom and pop operations, but when you find one, they are worth cherishing, like an animal about to go extinct. –Curt

  2. Haha! There I was reading along and I got a bit of a surprise when I saw my name up in “lights”. That’s a great challenge. I’ll have to get my creative juices into gear.

    That’s a really interesting perspective – buying the thing you need now, for the one use. It too made me stop and contemplate my multiple buy habits, and the things that accumulate around the house that I don’t need but just wanted to try … and then they lose favour or are forgotten.

    • :). I hope you accept the challenge. It seems right up your alley.

      A friend of mine here in the States used to go to the store very day to but what she needed. It seemed so strange to me. We do weekly shopping and I view it as such a chore. But her funds were limited, so I guess it made more sense. She couldn’t put out the money for a weeks worth all at once, much like the people in Indonesia. (Plus, it’s not part of their culture.) what’s sad to me, though, is that it’s more expensive to buy one small item at a time. The people who can afford to buy in bulk save money, and they probably don’t need to.

  3. It was always the way back in the day before fridges, deep freezes, supermarkets. The wife ran the home and shopped on a daily basis. She queued at the butcher, the grocer, and negotiated her purchase. Nothing was wasted and thrown away.
    Looking forward to the next in the series Julie.

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