Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Mittal: My experience perusing World Market with 20 bucks

I don’t normally love shopping in person — especially during the holiday season. I often feel the pressure to escape crowded shopping malls with items I could have leisurely looked for in my bedroom.

And yet, I found myself staring at the holiday-decked interior of World Market on Cyber Monday, trading online-exclusive deals for bright lights and a scavenger hunt for post-Black Friday discounts. I was on a mission to stretch my $20 budget, to somehow afford five holiday-themed items from five different countries. Conveniently, World Market features the country of origin next to the price tag for most of their products. 

Past contestants of this $20 challenge (namely, former Daily Gameday Editor John Riker) either had lofty expectations or aimless quests (apologies for the critique, John). But I was bringing an asset (or rather, two) that previous contenders lacked: trusted companions. Perhaps the presence of three frugal college students hunting for quality sub-$4 items would expedite the operation.

We truly spent the first 20 minutes in the store thawing our frozen limbs from the dreary and frigid walk from North Campus, feasting upon free samples of Hibiscus-flavored tea. We also made a few rounds of the food section.

The most obvious target was the array of holiday snacks spanning multiple aisles — after all, food comes in many shapes and sizes that could cater to our budget. Walking past the aroma of imported coffee beans, we came across our first item added to my basket: Quadratini Ginger-Chocolate, creme-filled wafers from Austria priced at $4.99. I’m snacking on them as I write this, cherishing the sacred ginger flavor reminiscent of snickerdoodles. Then I realized the product contained hazelnuts (which I’m allergic to). Beware of allergens.

Next, we strolled to another aisle — filled with peppermint and hard candies — to visit Sweden. The $3.99 Grenna The Original Polkagris Peppermint stick caught my eye, partly because it was a solid price but also because I absolutely love peppermint. And unlike its chunky appearance, the handmade peppermint stick was on the softer side, which I’m sure my teeth appreciate. The aisle was filled with other goodies I tentatively placed in my basket, including Meronne Milk Chocolate Spoons from Turkey and Hot Cocoa Floaties with assorted Hot Cocoa Toppers from China.

We kept circling the foods in the back of the store, unable to find more affordable holiday snacks to add to the mix. Migrating toward the ornaments revealed a pleasant surprise — more delectables, and at even better prices that helped me fulfill the challenge. I immediately flocked to the penguin Wawi Chocolate Advent Calendars from Germany — a $2.49 investment that satiated my love for penguins and chocolate. In the neighboring aisles, I was able to find a cheaper substitute for the two hot cocoa products, grabbing holiday gummies from China — a purchase that was well worth the $1.99, according to one of my friends.

At this point, I had already completed the task but had a few dollars left in my budget, so I grabbed the Polish Kopernik Iced Gingerbread Hearts on my way to the cash register. And just as we were about to check out, a 49-cent Ritter Sport marzipan bar with dark chocolate was placed on the conveyor belt — a last-minute stop to France as we concluded on our world tour. 

Though our subtotal came out to around $21.50, the budget exceeded our expectations, affording us holiday goods from seven different countries. While I still prefer to browse online, the vibrancy, companionship and convenience of international commodities all encapsulated in a store just a few blocks from my apartment made the experience pretty great.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

Angeli Mittal is a McCormick graduate student. She can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.

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