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Duty free shopping

10 Apr

One of the benefits of flying so much internationally is the ability to purchase goods in the airport that are either not available regularly in China, or at much reduced prices from what I can get here.  In an overarching generalization, Chinese citizens are firm believers in buying as much as possible from duty free shops – to the point that most folks have at least one if not two bags that they will carry onto the plane.  Alcohol is of course popular, as are cigarettes, make-up, perfume, designer handbags and my favorite – chocolate.

Unfortunately I’ve also gotten a bit snobbish – US duty free stores – at least the ones in Chicago – are not up to par with the stores in Asia or even in Europe when I went to Paris a couple of years ago.  But, because I fly at least once a quarter to parts elsewhere, I have ample opportunities to browse and/or select things at the stores.  I’ve purchased the occasional Christmas gift there and looked at new technology and even considered (but didn’t purchase) buying some new luggage.

During my last business trip, I was feeling a bit peckish when in the airport ready to fly off and so passed the time browsing – knowing that soon I would be in the same seat for 5 and a half hours.  I didn’t want sweet, but I was looking for something salty and I wasn’t in the mood for typical Chinese snack food.  The only thing that I could find in that flavor profile was a bag of Combos.  Combos are a pretzel with some type of flavor in the middle – cheese, pepperoni, garlic, pizza – all very processed and not typically something I would choose.  I haven’t eaten Combos since high school, but after deciding that yes, I really did want salt, I purchased a bag – which was industrial sized – from the duty free store.  During the remainder of that trip I munched the combos – Pizza Flavor – until the point when I landed in Singapore and felt rather ill.

I actually snapped a picture when on the plane as I could tell this was not going to end well!

The remains of the bag went into the trash.  Uggh.

Be careful when duty free shopping.

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