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What's our take on shopping questions? Specifically, ones around buying home comforts, such as foods from where you're from?

As an example, thinking of an Aussie expat living in London, who hankers after a taste of things from home, are any of these going to be ok?

  • Buying Australian Food in the UK?
  • Buying Australian Food in London?
  • Buying Vegemite in the UK?
  • Buying Vegemite in London?
  • Buying Vegemite in Southwark, London?
  • Buying Australian Food outside of Australia?
  • Strategies for finding foods from home when you're abroad?
  • UK customs rules on bringing a few jars of Vegemite into the UK?

Which do we think are too broad? Which too specific/localised? Which might qualify for Travel.SE but not here? Which ones (if any) look about right to ask here?

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The answer is, we won't know until we find out.

Questions such as:

  • Where can I buy (food) in (country)?
  • Can I bring (food) to (country)?

.. will probably not give us the problems that lead to our general guidance of avoiding these types of questions. Why? They're quite narrowly scoped, which means that they won't attract a bunch of answers (in fact I worry if some will remain unanswered for extended periods of time) - and I don't think they'll overtake the site.

Where can I buy bock choy in China for less than (store X) sells it? is an obvious off-topic example. That's a purely regional question that has nothing to do with being an expat, we've got a good litmus test for that.

I'm not sure on the general strategy one, though I am a proponent of having a default canonical for when no regional specific question exists. If you can't find out where to get Utz chips in Panama, at least you've got some guidance to turn to, although I'm not quite sure what could go there.

However

These types of questions must be extremely narrowly-scoped, and the answers that we provide to them need to consist of much more than a link with a terse amount of text. These particular questions will be more aggressively moderated than others, so expect that.

Expats isn't Stack Overflow, or Programmers, or Super User - it's a brand new site that's going to have its own set of challenges and problems to solve. Lets solve problems as they become problems for us.

I'd love to be able to find out where I can get my hands on fresh Kale in Metro Manila, I love me some roughage. That fits our general rule about problems being exacerbated simply by living abroad, so, go for it as far as I'm concerned.

Everything in moderation, as they say - just keep that in mind.

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I think these questions present a very interesting dilemma. They are guaranteed to get asked, tons of them and often. But they are of little use to most visitors aside from the question author.

And either most or least importantly, depending on your politics, is the simple fact that while expats may desire foods or other things from home, making it easy to get those things by staring at a website is actively harmful to the expat experience. Being an expat can be about much more than eating your favorite cheese from home while working in China. If you focus on keeping things the same when they are clearly not the same, you may limit the depth of your experience in many ways. It's daunting to re-learn all the brands and products and shops and conventions, but isn't it great when you've done so?

With that out of the way, I'll take a crack at your specific examples:

  • Buying Australian Food in the UK?
  • Buying Australian Food in London?
  • Buying Australian Food outside of Australia?

Too vague, nobody can be sure what "Australian food" is, and it will end up being a popularity contest among foods that answer author A enjoys vs author B vs C.

  • Buying Vegemite in the UK?
  • Buying Vegemite in London?
  • Buying Vegemite in Southwark, London?

Too specific, and London is hardly uncharted territory. A web search should get you started, or you can just pop over to Marks & Spencer, which you hardly need a Q&A website to tell you about.

  • Strategies for finding foods from home when you're abroad?

There can't be a right answer. From what I know of other StackExchange sites, this would be a non-starter, as it is a sort of list or poll.

  • UK customs rules on bringing a few jars of Vegemite into the UK?

Customs rules, now we're talking! This could have specific answers, which could address much more than Vegemite (canned spreads or so), and might not be immediately clear from a web search (I haven't checked this specific one, but similar ones definitely aren't always clear). That said, there's no reason to have this on Expats instead of Travel--an existing site which if they'd take this question, would be a better fit as it would have a wider audience there.

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As a new expat, I have to say "where can I buy X" is something I'm constantly asking myself and people around me. Sure, it's purely regional, but it's the kind of thing most people don't talk about unless they're new to the area.

Also, specific to my New Zealand locale, "Where can I buy X for less than Y sells it" is another question that I'm constantly asking, as it's quite often that certain items can be purchased in a big-box store or supermarket, but not for a reasonable price. However, there are all kinds of little places here which locals take for granted which offer good prices on specific items.

To generalize, I think it's good to allow purely regional information so long as it meets two criteria.

  1. It's the kind of thing locals take for granted
  2. It's the kind of thing expats ask with a disproportionate frequency, especially when they're new to an area.

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