Cuba: Decorative State-Run StoresSeptember 15, 2013 | Print |
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 things.
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?