Every expat blog I read prior to moving to Taiwan talked about how amazing 7-11 is here. It was fun to read, but when you experience how convenient a convenience store truly can be it makes the convenience stores back home seem fairly useless. I mean think about it… what comes to mind when you think about 7-11?
I think of childhood and going to get a slurpee after a Saturday spent at the baseball field, but other than the childhood memories I think of gas stations, questionable bathrooms, and junk food. Yes, in Taiwan there is still the junk food and questionable bathrooms, but there is a whole new world in convenience. There are four very popular chain convenience stores here and all of them are pretty much the same it really just depends on what is closest to you.
What can you do there? What can you not do, should really be the question. For example, I can pay all of my utility bills, cable, internet, and cell phone bills at the convenience store. If the bill has a bar code, it can be paid at any of the local convenience store. I tend to pay most of my bills at the Hi-Life pictured because it is on our school campus (I know a convenience store at school… so dangerous. True confessions I bought a curry bowl there for lunch today).
I have seen people pay their parking tickets, request a taxi, print-fax-copy services, and send mail (only within the country… it would be even more amazing if I could mail international). Not to mention it has all kinds of junk food and beverages. I think I have mentioned before they will not look at you sideways if you purchase and begin drinking a beer in the store and proceed to leave with it. As you can see there is a lot to love about these stores. Not to mention the one near the house is open late when D wants to make that late night ice cream run. Also, cost of living is still so surprising. Our gas bill below is less than $20 USD! Our water bill was even cheaper around $11 USD. School lunch for the students is less than $2 USD, but I think this is another blog post for another day.