Cuba: Decorative State-Run Stores
September 15, 2013
By Irina Pino
HAVANA TIMES – In the Sierra Maestra building (CIMEX) of Miramar, is a
Metropolitan Bank, a Banco International Financiero, an ATM … and a
recently opened chain of stores, and a modern cafe.
Each one sells something different: lingerie, food, perfume, sportswear
and leather, there’s even one called the House of Gastronomy where giant
pots and pans sold (I imagine for restaurants), and other supplies. All
very well designed with a great display of elegance and good taste.
But what certainly catches my attention is the small amount of customers
served at each of these stores, which sell only in CUC, the hard
currency that Cubans don’t receive their wages in.
Every time I go to the bank to do some business, I see the empty stores
(not merchandise). I go in to look around and only see and hear the
clerks gossiping, talking about soap operas and other inconsequential
Neither is the cafe very popular, because many people cannot spend money
on a cup of coffee with sweets, preferring to meet their basic needs.
It could be the inappropriate location of the establishments, almost
hidden in the basement of the building or the little promotion … but I
think the main reason are the high prices of what is sold, and only the
supermarket is “accessible” to some people.
Is this profitable? Why are these employees paid a salary for doing
virtually nothing all day?
Source: “Cuba: Decorative State-Run Stores” –