Purchase of household appliances in the USSR

Household appliances cost dearly. Not cheap - it is to put it mildly. Srednestaticheskogo Soviet family ready to buy a cassette recorder with no less trepidation than, say, to the birth of first child. Money for shabby cassette delayed for months, or even years, during which every member of the family engaged in painfully-wrenching process that I once designated strange word "of shopping."

This process was limited to regular shopping with radios, of which the relatively large cities, there were no more than five, and in my, if memory serves me correctly, only two. Although the process - it's a bit not the word that defines all the action that unfolds in these stores. If you think about it, the buyers of those years make the right choice was much how difficult - the number of products offered at the same time never even reach a dozen

Nevertheless, in the sales area of ​​specialized shops and always, at any time you could meet a crowd of sullen men who kuchkovalis at the counter, silently staring at the angular radios, record players and massive cassette decks, article and thoroughness reminiscent boosters ballistic missile

Typically, each of the men mentally was aimed at one or another product that and came to look at every day. The entire process took 10-15 minutes, after which one "as if the buyer" was replaced by another - almost like in a zoo with tigers front of the cage, with the only difference that the role of exotic animals were ducts made of plastic and metal, full of transistors, radio and other semiconducting current tripe. People came and went, but the crowd was thinning curiosity almost never

Predominated same at this exhibition unrealized desires, of course, the seller. Sellers Radio Shack in those years is a pretty interesting type: dressed in the latest fashion in the hundred-ruble imported jeans, they radiate around itself a charge of grandeur, uniqueness and awareness of their own superiority over mere mortals, that Philip in the best years of her singing career seemed be close to them confused first-graders on the first line. Paying no attention to the "stoyaltsev", the seller looked majestically through the crowd, looking barely visible over the heads of human fragments trolley bread vans and prefab, approximately wading through the streets

Of course, this is not always the case. Occasionally the door flung open the store yesterday "stoyalets," and he did it not cautiously ingratiatingly, as usual, but in a businesslike way, confidently and proudly looking at others. And once all around knew that this man now buy anything. It literally was read in his eyes - the individual who decided to buy, even started a bit like the seller, as if imitating his regal serenity and majesty

And buying this too is a kind of ritual and polysyllabic. Buyer, as if feeling its special position, even a little scornfully pushed his way through the crowd of onlookers, and those feeling the solemnity of the moment, respectfully made way. After a moment, looks seller and buyer met - oh, how much expression, emotion, fire was in these views!

Seller barely noticeable nod logged, as would, for example, scouts, met each other on enemy territory. Buyer raised forefinger and pointed to the desired device. Seller nods knowingly and deliberately took out from under the counter cardboard box with foam packed in tape, radio or anything else. Onlookers surrounded the counter even more dense ring facing the same in the back rows even rose on tiptoe, trying to make out the details of the action unfolding in front of them. Sold with a straight face tore open cardboard box and removed the white light on, well, a tape recorder, for example

At this point, the buyer, are pretty lost a large share of ambition, pretty excited, kept his eyes nearly so near and dear devices, trying to go to understand the nuances of his designs, and even find possible flaws in the form of scratches on the body or nedovinchennyh screws

Translating rushing look with a sample mounted on a rack to "own" a copy of standing on the counter among the piles of cellophane and foam, as well as lying close to the passport products, printed on paper, texture and quality resembling toilet, buyer unsure like "maybe all taki string up and take out one of 30 rubles more? "or" I do not know whether I should pay for the signal level with arrows? ».

The seller, not the buyer paying laceration absolutely no attention, pulled out of the box the power cord and its famously stuck one end into a wall outlet, and others - into a tape recorder. Then from under the counter extract personal test cassette seller - usually it was battered Sony EF blue (as an option - Denon D, Maxell LN or "allied» Agfa), on the side which made sported green marker inscription "Emigrants". < br />

The cassette tape was charged in and pressing the "PLAY" flooded with chords ... no, chanson, and another popular hit by "Earthlings", "gem" or that came most often, "Jolly Fellows". Preserving monumental equanimity, the seller turning the knob turns the volume, tone, press the button and squelch type selector. After the demonstration of each individual site he threw the buyer fleeting-questioning look, and he nodded his head and say, yes, I hear and see - everything is functioning as it should

Testing ended test capabilities of the device to make a recording. Seller took out of the box came with a cassette machine MK-60 Soviet-made, to charge it in tape and pressing "RECORD", mumbled into the microphone a sort of "time, time, time ... check ... check ... just-just-just ..." . After this record reproduced admiring buyer who at this stage are almost always inexplicably embarrassed, but also invariably nodded his head as if trying every nod even for a moment to keep an established mental link with the seller - the lord and master of the recorder amplifiers. By the way, to the seller, all these were nods to the bulb

When testing is completed, the seller broad sweep of his hand sketched on the form of receipts hardly seen a few words, and handed the form to the buyer, sending it to the cashier

And at the box office, it should be noted, has always had an impressive place. Well, no, of course not of the buyers who want to buy a stereo system or radiogram. Batteries - they are the reason for the majority again silent men languish in the queue to the cashier. Adventure lovers and all other tourism acquired, as a rule, the batteries are large and round - for flashlights and portable transistor radios. "Diy" stocked flat panels on the 4, 5 volts - are perfectly suited to power supposedly useful in everyday life devices soldered under Soviet cuisine schemes magazine "Radio" or "Young technician". Met and dudes who bought "crown". This battery was worth more than all, and is most often used in intercoms, miniature radios and other devices, whose descendants today behalf of the word "gadgets»

Naturally, a man wielding a receipt for a real tape recorder, looked at "batareechnikov" down - they say, "get confused here under our feet, only time-consuming serious people." At this moment he had the feeling a person can experience, go to the airport by taxi. And not just that someone there to meet, and was leaving for a vacation, a long and fascinating holiday. When you look out the window at the people - standing at bus stops, wandering somewhere, opening the doors of shops, all this fuss they seem insignificant and almost meaningless. Is about to be hum airport, the plane will be in a pack of sugar cubes with the image of "TU-154" will be smiling stewardess, "fasten your seatbelts" vomit bags, security gates, air pockets, so much that it will be interesting! And people outside what they do? Wander somewhere, think that makes them important. Even funny. And that's what batteries are for, well, silly same - there is a major purchase, and have to waste time because of some nonsense!

And as time went on. Turn approaches buyer slips through the window cashier check, shaking hands counting money (for some reason began to shake hands during this inopportune moment, although if they were shaking and then only after the great feasts associated with mass libations), then the same recounted the cashier money and the buyer, afraid even to blink, do not take his eyes off of her hands, mentally muttering to himself, "twenty-five, fifty, three tens - a hundred and eighty, then another fifty - quite new ...", and so on. And then that ritual came to its logical conclusion. Buyer received a check in hand, carrying it along with the receipt to the seller, and in return receive a box sealed with tape to lust avionics miracle

And at the door of the shop awaited him prudently ordered (or catch) taxi. The taxi driver, though looked like a seller, but was more humane, perhaps, more sociable. Although, of course, to call a taxi - it is not necessary. The store could not stand each buyer and, well, or a colleague from work - on a red or beige "Moskvich", which on the shelf behind the rear seat invariably lay leatherette kit and sat next to a toy dog ​​with a constantly nodding his head. And at the salon mirror hanging skeleton with red eyes and a jack made of tubes from the dropper

Although not the point. Because in the end this whole saga multipass ended the same: buy carefully unpack, install a place of honor in the apartment, followed by groans, moans family members and closest neighbors, solemn study of "manual", no less solemn zapihivanie on the mezzanine cardboard box with all the bags and plastic ...

Hot tea, bought on the occasion cake or cardboard cake, the first attempt to write something on film (well, when all took turns speaking into the microphone or stupidity, or trying to read with expression to the same advice from the wall tear-off calendar) - all together and created an atmosphere of celebration. Point which set a cloth the size of a hand towel, only poizyaschnee - exactly as napkins was laying its electronic miracle almost every Soviet family

Napkins these objectives were unclear whether the dust protected, whether from direct sunlight - who knows? The main thing is that before the arrival of the guests take them off neatly folded, and the room was filled with a loud and hoarse singing those "immigrants" who even been declared labels on store cassettes, but the stores never sounded. Time was so.


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