Personal property in Korea

Learning the language makes a big difference

In today's Korea Herald, Alecia Widgiz reflects on her time in Korea. She notes:

"The respect for personal property is fantastic in Korea. In Canada you could not leave posters or personal property out over night, because they tend to get destroyed."


When I was first in Korea many moons ago, I noticed that Korean street vendors and store owners would leave items outside over night. The only "security" was a blanket or vinyl covering.

A few days ago I was with a colleague who left his car running with the keys inside. I warned him, but he said, "No problem. This is Korea. Nobody will take it." I was tempted to hop inside to go joy-riding just to prove my point. We came back a few minutes later, the car was still there.

By the way, even though Korean store owners will leave items out over night, I did notice this morning that there are locks on the tanks where live fish and other future seafood are swimming around. So people won't steal fruit but they'll open a tank to steal live fish?

On a serious note, I read a study years ago explaining why people who live in America's inner cities pay more for food than people in suburbs. In addition to a host of other reasons (increased cost of security, hazard pay for drivers in dangerous areas, delivery trucks having to make more stops at mom-and-pop stores instead of one stop at larger department stores), one point was that store owners could not utilize space outside their stores because people were likely to walk off with the items. Once again, innocent people must pay more because of the actions of criminals.