By Anika Michielsen
Here in Korea, I don’t recognise any of the tissue brands that I’m used to in Belgium, so that really affects what I buy. When I buy tissues here I mainly look at the price, I don’t care much about brands or where they’re from. I just pick the one that attracts me the most in terms of packaging and price.
The main difference I’ve noticed between tissue products in Belgium and those in South Korea is the unavailability of the small packet of tissues. They do not sell them anywhere. I have a hard time finding them and when I do, it’s usually sold as a single packet rather than in a pack of 12 or more. When we go to the supermarket in Belgium we usually buy a big pack of 12 smaller packages of tissues. It’s impossible to find these in Korea.
At home, I buy tissue products just when I need them. When I’ve run out but don’t necessarily need it, I don’t run to the closest store to stock up. It’s only when I realise I need it for something that I would go out and get it. Then I go to the closest supermarket rather than a convenience store, as despite the convenience store being located closer to my place, the tissue products there are more expensive.
I use only wipes, kitchen roll, and then napkins when I am in restaurants. Here in Korea, I usually have a very hard time finding normal tissues for everyday life, so I use kitchen roll or toilet paper instead.
In Belgium, I do care about whether the product is environmentally friendly or has green credentials, as I understand what is written on the packet. Then I look for environmental certifications. In Korea however, I don’t understand what’s written on the packages; so it’s all down to how appealing the packaging is. I haven’t especially looked for tissue products with environmental certifications, but I also don’t think I’ve seen many.
I have no preference over branded tissue products or supermarket own-brands, but at home in Belgium we usually have brand products. I’m more willing to buy those in the supermarket instead of supermarket brands.
I also carry tissue products when I travel long haul, either flight, in a car or a bus. I always try to have a package of tissues in my bag.
Caption 1: Born in Belgium, Anika Michielsen has just returned from a year in South Korea where she was studying a masters in business administration, majoring in international relations. She tells TWM of her contrasting tissue experience.