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Moscow - Shopping

As an expatriate, you will find that everyday shopping for groceries, sundries, and many other items is quite different than shopping in other countries, particularly the United States. Many stores, even the larger ones, are named for what they sell, rather than carrying the brand name of a chain or an independent store name. Thus, grocery stores bear signs that simply say "Producti" ("groceries") or Gastronom ("grocery store"). Likewise, you will find stores with signs that say "Knigi" ("books"), "Tkani" ("fabrics"), or "Igrushki" ("toys"). Sometimes, the signs will instead read "Dom Knigi" ("House of Books"), "Dom Tkani" ("House of Books"), and so on.

When grocery shopping, you will not be able to stroll through the aisles and load your cart with your purchases. Instead, you will see rows of store clerks, with the items that the grocery has available on the shelves behind the clerks. You will then tell the clerks which items you want, and they will weigh bulk items and give you the price for each item. After you have finished selecting your purchases, you will take your price list to the "cassi" ("cashier") at the other side of the store, pay the cashier, and collect your purchases.

Some groceries and other stores are beginning to experiment with shopping environments that expatriates and tourists are used to. Moscow Books, for example, has set up part of the store to allow patrons to browse shelves and select their own purchases just like in a store in the United States. Magnetic sensors are placed in front of the doors to detect items that have not been scanned by the cashiers, and security guards stand outside the doors to intercept shoplifters.

Moscow is also rife with smaller stores, which are often little more than stalls set outside a larger store, or near the many metro stops. These stores display the items for sale in the stall windows, and there are holes in the windows just large enough for transactions. All types of items are sold in these mini stores, including toys, liquor, clocks, bread, newspapers, and shoes.

You can also find nearly type of grocery, household, or other item at one of the traditional open air markets, called yarmarkas. These markets are set up throughout Moscow, usually near metro stations. Meats, vegetables, instant coffee, peanut butter, and many other items are sold through these open air markets. Perishable items, particularly meats, are kept in freezers behind the market stalls, although display items are out in the open, even during hot summer days.

There are very few bookstores in Moscow that carry English language books, other than academic English instruction texts. However, one store, Anglia, does carry a fair number of English language books along with Russian texts. Anglia is located at 6, Vorotnikovsky Pereulok, and can be contacted by telephone at (095) 299-7766.

Another carrier of English language books, although rather expensive, is Dom Knigi, which can be contacted at (495) 789-3951.

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