|Shopping in Russia is a frustrating experience. In fact, it
appears to be deliberately designed to be frustrating, since there's no
way it could be this bad by accident. I was going to write a
whole section on that, but the page was too long already. This is
a fairly typical small-town or village store. Note complete lack
of fruit or vegetables, but abundant supply of Vodka and liquor.
To buy something here, you have to wait in line, and then tell the
clerk all the things you want. They grab the stuff and ring it
up. Take a look at the left edge of the counter next to the
scale. That's an abacus. Nearly every village store uses that to ring
up the purchase. As they hand you stuff, they add it up on the
abacus. The funny part is that if you buy something that has to
be weighed, they pull out an electronic calculator to do the
multiplication, and then add up the total using the abacus.