Wednesday, October 3, 2007

How to Make Money in South Korea

How to Make Money in South Korea:
1. You must look like a Westerner.
2. You must live in an area of South Korea that has little or no Westerners (this would never work in Seoul).
3. You need to be purchasing something where actual won is exchanged.

This has now happened to me twice so it's time to blog about it. The first incidence occurred a month ago at our local Home Plus. When I put my purchases on the conveyor belt at the checkout, the cashier was clearly shocked to see me. As he rang up my items, he continued to just stare at me. When it came time to pay, I
looked at the register which showed the amount owed and I gave the cashier the money. I should have received back under 2000 won ($2.00 U.S.). He overpaid me by 8000 won. I tried repeatedly to return the money only to be denied. I finally just had to leave since I was holding up the line.

The second incident occurred yesterday. I had to mail a package at the post office and this was my first time at a Korean post office. I walked in and really didn't know what to do. A Korean led me over to a table, noticing I had a package and gave me a customs form. He then led me to a counter and called a girl over to help me immediately. I could tell she was quite nervous and didn't know what to do. I called Helena, my Korean friend, and I told her what I needed. She talked to the clerk and we got the transaction done. The cash register said the total was 21,000 won. I gave her EXACTLY 21,000 won. Since the Home Plus incident, I am VERY careful with money. She gave me my receipt and 9,000 won. I said "anio, anio," which is no in Korean. She refused to listen to me and basically shooed me away.

I have now talked to a few of my Korean friends about this and they all have the same conclusion. In the area we are living here in Suwon, there are Koreans that have probably never seen a Westerner. They are so shocked to see me that they are struck senseless and that is why this is happening. I feel so bad about it and I hope it doesn't continue but what did we do with our extra cash?

We went out for "army soup", better know as Budae jjigae . It was 6000 won ($6.00 U.S.) per person.

It has hot dogs and Spam in it. It was pretty spicy and very delicious. Would you like to try it at home? Here's a recipe I found on the net.

4 comments:

CreekHiker said...

Is there any way to avoid SPAM there?? The soup does look good!

Helena said...

That's wild! (Surely foreigners aren't *that* unusual in Suwon.)

I must admit I've never had budae jjigae. It just doesn't seem appetizing.

Becky said...

Holly, SPAM is a delicacy.

Helena, I don't about other parts of Suwon. I know I didn't have this trouble when we lived by the Suwon Station.

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