True to my Rocky Mountain roots, I shop on quality and price, not on brand. If I have a choice between two things of equal quality but one is brand name and more expensive, I take the cheaper, off-brand item. If I have a choice between two things of equal price, but one is a lesser quality item from a well known brand, I take the higher quality, off-brand item.
In other words, I don’t fit in too well with most Asian shoppers. In a land where I see women with brand-name handbags that cost more than this computer on nearly a daily basis, and where even my eight year old students obsess over the brand of their pencil cases, I stick out like a sore thumb. Pretty much anything in a department store costs 50% more than it would back home, and things bought at smaller markets are of erratic quality and can’t be returned. There aren’t many stores that are inviting to a price/value optimizer such as myself. There is one, though.
愛買 must be the best named store I know of in Taiwan. 愛買 means “love to buy”, and that’s exactly what I do every time I go. It stocks huge quantities of high quality stuff, and the prices are great. I just picked up a new pair of running shoes, a big bottle of vitamins, a bottle of cod liver oil, and a new fan for only $2,000 NT. Considering that I usually have to go to six or seven stores before finding shoes suitable for my gigantic feet and that this is the first time I’ve ever managed to get them for under $2,500 bucks, this is amazing. This time, the shoes were only $900! I really do love to buy!. If you do to, go to the Yŏngchūn MRT and take exit one.