November 19, 2007

Shopping

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 3:01 pm by Jenn

I feel that I would be doing this blog a disservice if I go one more day without commenting on the shopping here in Minsk.  We were told prior to coming to Minsk that we should bring warm clothes, peanut butter and spaghetti sauce and to be prepared for a “cultural” shopping experience.   I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Our first night here we were taken to a place called “KOPOHA” pronounced, Corona.  KOPOHA is basically like a Walmart in the states, you can buy everything from underwear to toys to live fish to milk, fresh veggies, etc.  One interesting side note is that the vodka section is larger than the canned fruit/vegetable section combined.

After buying some essentials that first night I thought to myself “this won’t be so bad” (it was a Wednesday night).  That weekend we had to return to KOPOHA and there the nightmare begins.  If you think Walmart on the weekend is bad well you won’t want to go to this place.  Not only are the employees rude, the customers are rude.  They bump in to you, invade your space, cut in front of you, and they DON’T say excuse me (I know the word exists in Russian, because I know it!).  The first few times I shopped I thought I was just being overly sensitive, now I just makes me angry.  I have KOPOHA rage!  Last night we went to get some items needed for Thanksgiving and I knew it would be bad for two reasons, Sunday night and no carts waiting inside….OH NO!  We made it through with minor bumps and bruising only to realize I’d forgotten the potatoes!

Today I went to Oobelini or ЮБИЛЕЙНЫЙ.This is a local neighborhood market where KOPOHA is a hypermarket.  I purchased 3.9 kilos or roughly 8.7 pounds of potatoes for the equivalent of $1.50.  A 1 pound bunch of celery was $3.00.  There are also open air markets which I love for their selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, but in the COLD weather the selection is not as good and well it is just downright miserable to shop outside in the cold and snow.

Below are a few pictures from the outdoor market. Now I call it an outdoor market, but there is a good deal of shopping under-roof. These markets are what were available to the local population before the hypermarkets came 3-4 years ago. Again, inside is very crowded, the people are rude…

Inside market meat sectionFruit/Vegetable sectionOpen Air Market

There are also mall type shopping centers where you can go for items like jeans, shoes, coats, etc. (you can also buy all these items at the open air markets, the best locally is Zdanovitchi, I will post on that another time). The shops are SMALL, about the size of a bathroom in the US (8×8). The shops usually sell one type of item…example, if you want shoes there is a store just for shoes, if you want jeans you go the store for jeans.  Some shops sell a little of this and a little of that.   The malls are just for clothing or accessories, any food or household is purchased at the markets with few exceptions.

There is also a “state” store called NeMega…I don’t know the Russian spelling. This is like a department store. The thing that I found interesting was that when you purchase something here they wrap it in brown paper and hand it to you. Many people have their own bags for shopping. Again…thank you Vera Bradley for designing the Villager.

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