Tesco Lotus, Hat Yai
Tesco used to be quite grotty little grocery shop outfit in the U.K. I can still remember when they bought out the "Victor Value" chain of grocery shops - and they really were the pits.
They are now regarded as one of the best run companies in the UK and they may in time challenge Wal-mart on an international basis.
In Hat Yai they seem to be selling just about everything, much of it locally sourced, and at very keen prices. It also has a food court which seems very hygenic and well run, although the system to buy food seemed somewhat confusing.
Just round the corner to the shop (you will see it on the way) is a Buddhist Monestary with a giant Buddha - well worth visiting.
What to buy: Very handy for stocking up on travel items and western goods.
A little way out of town is the Tesco Lotus superstore. It's a huge, American-style shopping mall that sells just about everything. In addition to the main shopping area there are a number of small retailers in the building and also an outdoor market in the carpark.
Inside are some expensive cars on display that cost more than the average Thai will earn in a lifetime.
As I walked through the door I was nabbed by a salesman selling expensive massage chairs. He sat me down on one of the chairs and pressed some buttons that sent strange sensations through my body.
I'm not sure that this is the best place to try to sell expensive massage chairs. I expect that most tourists would not be interested in lugging one home and the majority of Thais do not have the disposable income for such luxuries. Besides, Hat Yai has hundreds of pretty, young, nubile massage girls that will crawl over your body and work out every ache and pain for 120 Baht an hour. A quick calculation shows that for the price of one of these chairs I can get 825 hours of the real thing.
I didn't buy one.