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Home > Shopping > Shopping Soviet-style

Soviet Shopping System
in Saint Petersburg

A number of small general shops/stores still operate with the crazy Soviet method of shopping. What is this? The following will attempt to enlighten…

General Shop Layout
Shelves storing products wrap around the perimeter walls in a seamless manner, but do not be fooled. The shop is split into "invisible" departments each manned with a reluctant server.

Servers ("Assistants")
These are usually grumpy old women with a serious attitude problem. Customer care is unheard of - in fact many fail to realise the benefit of customers, we are only there to annoy them!

Without the all-important receipt you will not be able to touch any product. You get this at the cashier desk labelled 'KACCA' - pronounced cassa.

'CASSA' (payment desk)
A little booth tucked away somewhere in the shop where you part with your roubles and in return get the invaluable receipt. Don't even think about reaching for your credit card for payment - cash only.

Bags and Packets
Plastic bags are usually available from the cassa and cost a couple roubles. However many shoppers tend to bring their own.

The Procedure
Up to now it's quite straightforward - now the treat… the infuriating procedure: -

1. Queue (Line up) at the "department(s)" where your desired products are stored, some items are sold loose and need weighing and pricing.

2. Make a mental note of all items along with their prices and the department where they are stored.

3. Queue at the KACCA, then relay the items, prices and the department(s). Pay the cheerful cashier and pickup your receipt and any change from the little dish where it was thrown!

4. Queue at all the departments where your paid products lay waiting.

5. Hand your receipt to the smiling server for it to be scrutinised. If satisfied, your goods are slammed on the counter – success!

6. Forgotten something? Or got the price wrong? It's back to step 1 for you!

It's a horrible and annoying game, but a great way to kill a few hours.

If you think the "rules" have been exaggerated then try it yourself. But before you do...please contact this site for our shopping list!

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