Pulperías are typical grocery stores commonly found in many Latin American countries, namely: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela. They date back to as far as the XVI century in South America and many struggle to survive in today’s highly technological world.
Up until the first years of the XX century, pulperías were the gathering place where low- and middle-class individuals would meet. Visitors and clients would get together for a beer, a cock fight, card games, and so on.
In a pulpería, customers would normally ask the shopkeeper for the products they needed and the shopkeeper would deliver the products through a window or counter.
Origin of the word: This is a word whose origin is, at times, associated with the word pulpo (Spanish for octopus). The rationale behind this idea, in the case of Central American countries, is that the pulpero (shopkeeper) would get to the store and have to stock the large number of items onto the shelves like an octopus. The stores sold a large range of products: food, beverages, candles, coal, medicines, rice and other grains, liquor, clothes, gas cylinders, and even diapers. Basically, you could find almost anything in a pulpería.
Uno encuentra casi de todo en esa pulpería. ¡Venden más productos que un abastecedor* o minisúper.**
Translation: You can find almost anything at that pulpería. They sell more products than any grocery store or convenience store.
*Abastecedor (ah-bahs-teh-seh-dohr): Grocery store
**Minisuper: Convenience store