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Shopping in BsAs

2011.06.08

I may have mentioned this before, but porteños are fanatics about shopping.  Perhaps it’s just the neighborhood, but there are stores everywhere here.  Are you interested in books?  There are at least three bookstores within three blocks of this house (one of them, the Ateneo Splendido, was ranked among the world’s best bookstores by The Guardian—not because of the selection, mind you; it’s the building that impresses (some decent photos here http://buenosaires.for91days.com/2011/02/09/the-ateneo-grand-splendid-bookstore/ or Google your own).  One of the nicest malls I’ve ever anywhere is a fifteen minute walk up Santa Fe (one of the principle commerical drags here, just up the street from our front door) called Alto Palermo.  This mall shamelessly bills itself as a “Mall for Women.”  There’s something for everyone:  Calvin Klein underwear (just underwear, thank you), and, for the C/W crowd with plenty of extra cash, a Wrangler store there that sells designer jeans for $80.  Wranglers, mind you!

Today, as I was headed home from the Fine Arts Museum, and right before arriving at the in/famous Recoleta cemetary, I saw a Hard Rock Café sign.  Not having seen this before on a previous trip down here, I crossed the street to check it out, and discovered that the entire south end of the Recoleta cemetary and church is a two-story mall built into the hillside (actually, the riverbank; the city has reclaimed about a half mile at this point).  Not just a mall, but a home design mall, called the Design Center.  You can buy sinks, or custom parquet flooring, or tablecloths here.  I confess to some interest in the sinks and commodes, but most put form over function, and they’d look out of place at my house.  Lesson learned:  don’t reject outright a Hard Rock neon sign; it might open another door for you.

Having no dedicatged luggage space for an extra kitchen countertop or another Chinese gewgaw, I did see little art store at the top of the escalator, so I stopped and found a tiny painting of the San Telmo neighborhood that I could afford.  However, rather than paying at the counter, the salesgirl (yes, she was a girl) accompanied me to a register back downstairs in the Morph store that I had just left (http://www.morph.com.ar/site/home.html).  So I wait in line at the register, and then pay Gastón.  Gastón gives me change and a receipt, which is not really a receipt; it is a call slip where I can pick up my package.  After my initial confusion at this process, I wait in another line, and eventually Gómez (?) hands me my package.  The checkout takes some 10 minutes.  Now, I hate to complain, but really!  This is why Service Merchandise went out of business.

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One Comment
  1. Daniel M. permalink

    I can top that. I have a receipt from Repertorio Wagner in downtown Mexico City with four stamps on it from four different people. Invoicer, faceless cashier (whose finger stuck out from under the one-way glass to crook in the direction of the entregas counter), deliverer (who somehow delivered my three-item stack in two parts), and security. Not one of them actually assisted me in finding a specific score that I eventually found misfiled by myself; in fact, when my back was turned, what I had chosen and discussed with the salesmen was randomly crammed into the middle of a rack. This was last Tuesday.

    I say, No wonder all that is left of their Toluca branch is a couple of metal curtains.

    Anyhow, the three-person system seems common enough in Mexico. Except for security — and not having to go up and down two floors — the routine is the same at the Basilica gift shop.

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