THE PROBLEM AND THE BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Sari-sari store is the term used in the Philippines for small convenience store. It is from the tagalog word “sari-sari” which means “variety”. Such stores form important economic and social location in the Filipino community. It is present in almost all neighborhoods, sometimes in every street.
The store is often attached to or part of the owner’s house but it may also be a freestanding store just in front of the owner’s house. Many stores have advertising material alongside the store name on the signboards. Sari-sari stores vary in appearance but they all have certain traits in common. First, the customers do not enter the store during the transaction. It is only through a small window and sometimes it has a long counter in front. Items are being displayed by hanging some of it from the ceiling, or it can be on the walls and in front of the store to save space and so that items can easily be seen by customers. Candies and other small items sold by pieces are placed in transparent jars and are arranged mostly in front. A lighter is tied to a string, being hung up and displayed in front of the small window or counter. Often it is not possible for every kind of item in the store can be displayed, but customers can be assured that the most basic needs are available.
The storekeeper waits for customers inside the store. Sometimes, benches and tables are also provided in front. The cover of the window or the front portion of the store is being placed above when the store is open. It is being brought down to cover the window or the front portion of the store when the store is closed.
Sari-sari stores sell various everyday necessities in small packages or by pieces, a practice called “tingi” by Filipinos. For instance, shampoo can be purchased not by bottle or by dozen but it is by sachet. There are miniature packets of just about every commonly needed item. Most of the items are sold by pieces.
The sari-sari stores also allow credit purchases from loyal customers. It is called “suki” in tagalog (repeat customers known to the owners). The owners usually keep a record of their customers’ outstanding balances on a notebook and demand payments on paydays.