SmartyAtTheParty: Duty Free Send Off to Korea (Part1)


On my way to Seoul I stopped in the duty free shop to buy my friend’s father-in-law a gift. I was on a mission to get a tie. A designer tie of course, because I didn’t want to look cheap and honestly he would’ve just tossed it in the bottom of the closet if it wasn’t a brand name.

As I’m perusing Ferragamo, Hermes, Gucci and Burberry… I end up at Burberry. It was the cheapest option at the time ( although $140 on a tie is no bargain). I knew instantly which one I’d buy my husband, but what’s a sixty-year-old Korean guy going to like? So I did what I’m most comfortable doing, I stalked down someone who looked like my key demographic for his opinion.

So there he was, a bit dowdy and old with his wife two feet away. I asked, “Excuse me, are you from Seoul I want your opinion?” He shakes his head, mumbling something. I repeated my question, even slower and of course louder as if that would help the comprehension. “Are you from Seoul, Korea can I ask you a question about these ties?”

He lunges for his wife, clearly not understanding me. She looks and says, “What?”. I repeat my questioning even louder at this point. She huffs and puffs and yells at me. “NO…WE FROM CHINA!”.

Oops… this is a much needed eye-opening trip for this Midwest girl at heart. I’m over here for a little work… in more ways than one. Korea here I come!

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Sarah Zapp
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