36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 338: Shopping in Olystyn


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 338 — Shopping in Olystyn
05-Jul-1972 (Wed.)



Went to Olystyn. Mostly for shopping.

Big city. Went to just about every store in town. Compared to us, really lacking in goods. Hard to get many things. Quality doesn’t seem to be the best and prices are high.

There is absolutely no service. You wait in a line forever. No incentive. Or, fear of loss. The people don’t care about satisfying the customer. Buying the goods doesn’t matter to them.

Mary Ann wanted to buy a blouse for Danusa. Not one store had anything, or hardly anything, in her size.

I bought a few gifts.

The train—commuting—is nice, for once.


Shopping in Olytsyn. Today looks like a shopping day and looks to be a bust. There were items in stores, but not a whole lot of variety, especially compared to the variety we had in the west. If they had an item, it may not be in the right size. Or there was a lack of variety in its features. That was communism—it just didn’t provide very much to its citizens. Just the basics. Customer service? None. Why, because the people working in stores were probably “politically” connected and likely had no fear of losing their jobs. No incentives. The customer didn’t matter. Thank goodness things have changed for the better.

My mother-on-law. A note on how the above scenario affects a person relates to my wife’s mother. When my mother-in-law first came to this country (10 years ago), and we took her shopping, she almost had a heart attack when in stores like CostCo, ShopRite, Sears, or Macys. If she tried on clothes or shoes, and they weren’t quite the right size, she continued to struggle to make the item fit. Why? That’s how they had to do it in her country. We would say, get another style in your right size and she would say no—it’s a bit tight but it fits. Scarcity causes people to take what they can get. That’s how she grew up and lived—with scarcity.

The good news—today, it’s better in Ukraine. The other good news—her character and work ethic are incredible. She is extremely hard working and she doesn’t waste anything. We can learn something from her as well.


- - - -