Spanish Chinos

If you live or have ever lived in Spain, you’ve undoubtedly heard of or been to a Chino. Typically, these are stores that are owned by people of Asian decent, and the owners have been generalized through the years and ignorance as being Chinese, although they might not necessarily be from China. I’m not going to get into the debate that exists about whether or not to boycott chinos (the stores, not the people) because I don’t understand it nearly well enough to claim anything for either side of the argument.

Political correct-ness aside, though, I’d like to give you all a glimpse into what a chino is like.  Spain’s version of a dollar store, a chino is a magical land full of wonder and mysteries. I don’t necessarily mean this in a good way. And I definitely don’t mean that everything in there costs a dollar. But I do mean that a chino is a hodgepodge store of possibly the most random combination of cheap items that you could ever hope to find. Need new tupperware? Chino. Nail polish? Chino. Bras? Chino. Glassware? Chino. Knives? Chino. Hamster cage? Chino. Clay? Chino. Rip-off Hello Kitty rolly backpack? Chino. Marbles? Chino. Do you get my point yet? Here is some photographic evidence that I captured in one of the chinos in my town. I will preface these photos by saying that this is one of the most unorganized/messy chinos I’ve ever been in, but I wasn’t one bit surprised by it.

I mean, I dont’ even know how to caption this picture. I didn’t get a close up of any clothes, but you can safely assume that at least 30% of the shirts had a strange graphic design on them and that another 20% looked like they might have been popular in 1996. Note also the umbrellas, coffee maker, shoes, bamboo mats…. the list goes on.

Harry Potter metal box, painted porcelain, bathroom towel hooks, unscented candles in red containers.

Shoes, wedge slippers, lamps, ballerina figurines, vases…

Dora backpack, lamp shades, bins full of random shit… notice the really awesome plaid plastic “window cover”

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, plates, Sponge Bob, giant bug, licking lions….

Many many tin Harry Potter boxes, marbles, unscented candles, porcelain mug/pot?, treasure chest…


Dinos and Bullet train toys casually places above the glassware and mason jars…

Oh, you know, just 50,000 toothpicks next to an assorted pile of menstrual pads.

So there you have it. This is the essence of a chino. Of course I have seen many many gems while perusing these stores but was never inspired to write about it until I walked into this one in particular. I just honestly can’t even imagine a store like this existing in the United Sates. The mess, clutter, and disorganization in addition to the shitty quality of products is like… mind blowing. So I just wanted to share.


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