Monday, 4 April 2011

More old-school retailing

Step away from the Auchans, Reals, Carrefours and Tescos to get a glimpse of an idealised Poland in the 1980s, one where the State ran the shops and yet they were somehow full. So here we are in the Społem on Marszałkowska, next door to Warsaw's first-ever McDonalds. Twenty years on, and - despite the contemporary brands filling the shelves - a certain quaint old-school aura permeates this retail establishment. Click to enlarge the photo.

Look at the signage; POULTRY, SMOKE MEAT, SWEETS, PRESERVES, GOOD BECAUSE IT'S POLISH, HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS, CHEESES. Staff and clientele are largely middle-aged or old (and this is the very centre of Warsaw). No tourists stray in here - a shame, as its an educational experience.

This is a supermarket within a department store on three levels, although there are some contemporary tenants around, it still has that PRL flavour about it. There's a fresh-squeezed juice stand (a plastic cup of carrot juice 3 złotys, beetroot juice 2.80 złotys). Worth a visit, though you need to imagine only one-tenth of what's currently on display being available on the shelves, circa 1989. Some more old-school retailing in Warsaw here and here.

This time last year:
Easter Sunday - Lent's over

This time two years ago:
Węzeł Lotnisko - site cleared, ready to start construction

This time three years ago:
Classic Polish cars - the Polski Fiat 125P


Sigismundo said...

What astounds me about these old Spolem stores is the prices, they are generally FAR more expensive than the western retail chains.

An example spotted a few months ago at the huge Spolem store in the Warsaw suburb of Grochów: Nescafé Gold Blend 200g jar – 37pln, compared to 23–27pln in the western chains.

And yet these places are frequented by the poorest elements of society, people who have to live on a monthly state pension of about $350. Is that barmy or what?

Anonymous said...

Dropped ceiling and modern refridgerators would have to be removed in order to make this resemble PRL shops. And the "good because it's Polish" sign - a spurios slogan in these times.