Friday, February 16, 2018

Shopping at Myeongdong

This post is going to be about my experience and tips for shopping at Myeongdong! As stated in my Haul from Korea post, I went on a trip which included a 6-day stay in Korea! (I also went to Taiwan and Japan, where I hauled some other things, but that will be for another post!)

For those of you who don't know, Myeongdong is one of Seoul's main shopping districts. There are a TON of stores that include food, fashion, cosmetics, and skin care.

There are so many stores, it's a Kbeauty enthusiast's dream!

I live in California and typically buy Kbeauty stuff online.  So, it was a dream come true for a Kbeauty enthusiast like me to walk among these streets and get an opportunity to shop in these stores.

I only had enough time for about 2 hours of shopping (due to time constraints). Since I was short on time, I was speeding fast through the stores, so I couldn't vlog or document my entire shopping experience for my blog like I was originally planning to do.

Anyways, here are my notes and tips from my own experience:

1. Do you research ahead of time

There are SO many stores and products. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by it. My suggestion is to research ahead of time on the products that you are most interested in buying. Of course, buy what you like if you see it. But if I were to do it again, I would have made a list and taken my time browsing. There were definitely things I wish I could've or forgot to buy AFTER I came back home…so research and make a list!

2. Create a budget and save for it 

Things add up fast! There are SO many cute things from every direction and you will want to BUY THEM ALL. I literally wanted to put everything in my cart for each store I visited. It's very easy to get carried away and spend way too much.  So create a budget and save for it.

3. Talk to the sale associates

I was very pleasantly surprised about the sale associates. They were all very friendly, made me feel comfortable, and some of them were able to communicate with me. Being in another country, you can't assume that everyone can speak English. However, SOME (not all) of the sale associates can speak a few languages, including English. When I had any questions or concerns,  they were there to help me or point me in the right direction. They're knowledgeable and can make the right recommendations for your skin type and skin concerns. They also know what types of sales or promotions the store is currently having, which brings me to the next tip…

4. Pay attention to the deals/promos/sales
There are always some sort promotion or sale going on. If you are unsure, you can ask the sale associates. Some of the deals or sales can be a reduction of prices, buy one get one free, or packaged bundles at a lower cost. For example, I made purchases on some sheet masks, and I was able to get another set for free. It can definitely be more cost effective to buy the things that are on special.

Buy one get one free
5. Samples/Goodies

You will take a TON of samples home. There will be two ways of getting samples. The first one will be  when you're walking through the streets. As you walk by the stores, there will be people handing out free samples to you. Just a warning, this is the way they try to get you to come into the store. As soon as you grab the sample, the person will hand you a basket and usher you into the store. However, you are NOT obligated to purchase anything at all. If you browse and don't find anything you like, you can leave and still keep the sample. I'm just giving you "a warning" in case you feel uncomfortable. You don't have to take the sample, but it's free regardless if you buy anything in their store or not.  

The other way of getting free samples is after purchase. No matter big or small of a purchase, each of the stores will let you leave with some kind of goodie or sample. Many of the stores were SUPER generous in their samples/goodies. Some of the samples included skin care, sheet masks, and even full size products.

Sheet masks I got for free
Samples I got for free
6. Tax Free/ Refund on Tax

When you go to Myeongdong, bring your passport with you.  If you do not live in Korea, you are not subjected to the taxes. As a result, you can save more money. The only thing you have to do is show proof via your passport. When you show proof, they will take away the taxes at check out.
 I had no idea about this and didn't bring my passport while I was shopping, but I was still able to save money through another method. If you don't have your passport on you OR you don't want to carry it around, just simply ask or tell the person at the cash register you don't have your passport and they will print you out your receipt and a tax refund slip that has a barcode. DO NOT lose these slips. If you lose them, you will not be able to get a refund on the taxes that you paid.  When you go back to the international airport and after you pass customs, there will be signs that direct you to an area where you can use a kiosk to input the receipts and get a refund on the tax.

Receipts for Tax Refund

One of the envelopes to hold receipt for tax refund. It has instructions on how to get your refund

I ended up getting around $25 USD back! So, if you want to save more money, then use your passport or go through the process at the airport.

Well, those are all my tips from my experience at Myeongdong! Hopefully, they help you out! I loved shopping here, and I really look forward to coming back and taking a lot more time next time.

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