Thursday, May 03, 2007

"self-service stores"

An East German upon visiting a self-service store in West Berlin (1956)-

"Except for meat and sausage, which are sold by salesladies, all manner of commodities are made available for self-service in shelves made of wire…All kinds of foodstuffs are offered such as legumes, flour, sugar, condensed milk, fresh milk in bottles, sweets, coffee, canned vegetables, freshly cut vegetable sin cellophane pouches, fruit and potatoes in bags. In order to ease the selection, the goods are packed in different quantities so that the contents of the packages can either be seen from the outside or determined from labels. The selling proceeds as follows: the customer takes a wire basket supplied at the entrance, one corresponding to the extent of the intended purchase and the desired selection of goods. At the cash register a saleslady calculates the prices of the goods and hands them to the customer, taking back the wire basket. These stores enjoy increasing favor because the goods on offer are easily assessed and the purchase proceeds relatively quickly."

Quote from Landsman, Dictatorship and Demand.

2 comments:

ken said...

that's really interesting. outsiders have striking observations of ourselves, and, in a way, of themselves, that are far different than our own.

that reminds me of a story i read in an article about the lost boys of sudan that i won't repeat because it would take too much space.

i hope your paper turned out well, you who have joined the ranks of competitive runners. thanks for the synopsis on saturday.

angie said...

it's so weird hearing someone comment on something i feel is an everyday, simple american task. how did no one comment on Frau Mode or the butter?! that's funny! :)