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The Semi-Regular Newsletter

Travels in Russia

Russian Remonts
Stop Theif!
Almost Worth Staying For
Offshore Your Rubles in Swiss Accounts
Russian Women
What Did Russians Eat Before Potaotes?
Nothing Like a Birch Branch Beating!
Anything Can Be Scrap Metal
Serious Soviet Pollution
Day-Tripping Around the Garden Ring
The Russian Poezd
Yeltsin's Family
Soviet Photography
Happy Times in HTML Hell
Road Runners Rule!
Piva is Good!
A Subaka Says What?
Soviet Swimming
Manly Russian Men
And Peter is a Distant Second
Invest in Russia?!
The Zen of the Line
But He Went by the Name of Lenin
That Looks Just Like My Dom
Russian Adoptions by the Dozen
Internet Cafes Are Everywhere
Going to See Mama Russia
Going to the Movies
Russian Visas
Eta Notebook Batteria, Durak!
Fidelity is Not a Brokerage
Soviet Suburban Living
Taking the tramvai
Cash Transfers Across Russia
Time to go...
Do Your Spring Cleaning Now!
Reclama Nation
Russians Do Tours
Going Local
Pecktopan = Restaurants
Yevgeniy Primakov, Who?
101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
A State Secrect: Women's Ages
Russians Blew up the US Embassy!
It's Dacha Time Again
I Love Me a Starlite Diner
Anything Goes at Night
Yesho Piedesat Gram Vodkoo
Shock Thearpy
IMF & Reform
Zoos Should Be for Politicans
There Was Giligan, And the Skipper Too
The Regions Exist?
Do You Believe the Media?
What is Russian Feminism?
Russian Music Rocks
Bye Bye Fast Food
Yest Klooch?
Addicts Are Addictive
Racism in Russia Too
An Education in Russian Politics
Orphans Are Lonely
Making Bliny
Nasty Newspapers
#51 If you get the jokes
Sick as a Dog
Those Crazy Russians
An Open Road Ahead
Iron Felix
You Can Buy (Almost) Anything in a Market
Education Makes Elections Happen
Ice Cream in Winter
Superstitions Are Sneaky
The Adventures of Flat Jon
Ice Fishing in Sibera
Death is Painful in Any Culture, Anywhere.
Lenin is Alive
Every Thing is Leaking
New Russians
Go Dollar!
Corruption is Endemic
The Joe-Cool Moscow Crew
Taxes Will Find You
I'm Driven Mad
Holidays Last and Last
It's All About Location
Taxies Take You Everywhere
Russian Religion Re-emerges


Russia, August 12, 1999

You Can Buy Anything in a Russian Kiosk!

You can buy ANYTHING in a Russian Kiosk!

Ya want some magazines? Beer? Chips? CD's? Stereo? Furniture? Airline tickets? Well you can get all that, and a whole lot more shopping by kiosk in Moscow!

Due to the expense and immobility of opening a store, Moscow was invaded by kiosks when the country opened up to consumerism in the early 90's. Now, a few a few years of refinement, you can get everything from a kiosk!

Across the street from my apartment is a double kiosk, with one side serving draft beer (3 ruble discount if you being your own container), and a snack kiosk, stuffed with beer, chips, chocolate, pickles, sproti, and all manner of cigarettes. Unfortunately, they don't have Planters Cheese Balls there any more, so I stop by for the occasional Baltika instead.

Near my friend Matt's apartment, is a whole kiosk shopping mall, complete with kiosks selling fresh fruit, bread, hot dogs, ice cream, fresh cuts of meat, pirate CD's & movies, bras & panties, religious idols, Korean food, and my favorite, the kiosk selling whole grilled chickens for $2.50 a pop! Every time I go to his house, I do a bit of shopping on the way there, and arrive at his place with an entire meal, all for about $5, with the Baltika to match!

Last week, I went with my friend annE, to a furniture rinok to find her a coffee table, and there ware kiosks selling entire furniture and bathroom sets. Plastered on the inside of the glass were photos of the furniture prices and sets, that shoppers could look at, while a "sales assistant" waited patiently to take the order. A few days later, after a cash deposit paid to the kiosk, the furniture would arrive at the buyer's apartment, ready for installation.

I'm trying to think of something you can't buy at a kiosk, and all I can come up with is cars. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a car kiosk; I've just never shopped for one, so I wouldn't know.

The only problem with kiosk shopping is that each kiosk has only one tiny window where all the goods must be passed through. At first I found this a major inconvenience. I'm used to American kiosks, where the front is open to the customer. After a few months, I learned why those holes are so small. First, it's to prevent shoplifting that is rampant at US kiosks, and second, to protect the life of the kiosk worker.

I know that on several occasions, when I was a little frustrated by the Russia experience, that little window saved the life of the worker. See, with such a small window, you can only get one arm in there to try and choke the worker to death. It's kinda hard to do, and they have a better chance of braking your arm in the process. If the whole were bigger, I could've reached in there with both hands, grabber her by the neck and pulling her to the glass, choked the poor girl up close. So I could see her eyes bulge out of her head, and feel the frustration leaving me. Too bad. I'll have to remember to pack an ax the next time.

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