Even Buddhist Monks Shop at a Big-Box Store

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Photo: Athit Perawongmetha

In search of the lowest prices on the robes, books, and candles you'll need for your anti-consumerist, anti-materialist life as a Buddhist monk? Thailand’s Hang Sangkapan — rough translation: Monk Supply — has just the thing. Inspired by big-box food stores like Carrefour, founder Sakol Sangmalee opened the first-of-its-kind Hang Sangkapan six years ago, The Wall Street Journal reports. For the country’s 300,000-odd monks, the Costco-style membership club offers conveniences such as air-conditioning, a parking lot, and saffron robes ranging from $33 synthetic numbers to much more "sumptuous" (and expensive) cotton robes. At traditional monk shops, the products have no price tags, whereas Hang Sangkapan advertises deals on the Internet. The proprietor of a local, family-owned Buddhist-supply shop told the Journal that Hang Sangkapan is just in it for the business, which Sakol added, is recession-proof.

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