You Look and You Can’t Buy / Rebeca Monzo

These days, I have been working hard to earn a little money to be able to go shopping, not to buy food, like always, but to buy some garlands for Christmas, because each year I have to update them, because most break very easily.  I imagine that they are made that way on purpose: for a single season.

In spite of the persistent drizzle, I wanted to go, but really, I needed to distract myself a bit.  Upon arriving at the department store La Puntilla, I ran enthusiastically to the place where they sell the decorations for the holidays at the end of the year.  When I approached the garlands and checked the prices, I could do nothing less than show my amazement to the sales lady, because in previous years it always that place where I got the lights for my tree. The same ones, that in previous years I could buy for a little more than 4 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos, 1 CUC = 1 $US), now cost 11 and up to 14.  To my amazement, the employee gave me an explanation, that according to her she is used to giving to her clients: The problem is that we buy large packages, hence the prices, you should try to look for the ones that come in small packages, those are cheaper.  I didn’t understand anything, but also I didn’t insist on clarifying the concept, I preferred to watch an old movie repeat of Cantinflas.

I went by the shelves where the china and housewares are, and that is where I had to have intensive therapy; they had some china, square, oriental style, with a simple printed design, and they were marked 61.80 CUC.  I thought that was for a dinner service complete with Sushi, Japanese Chef, and everything! But the store clerk explained that it was the price of each plate. Immediately I understood why the employees were yawning, there wasn’t anybody buying, all the departments didn’t have any customers, and the few that went by, looked and continued on.  And this was Sunday!

Translated by: BW

November 7 2011