The traders

I don?t mean to be mean but the snobbery characterizing the Romanians was our principle advantage in this business. You could sell any piece of nonsense as long as our Romanian client saw a designer label on it. We sold everything for prices three or four times more expensive, and even for more than that. We did exactly the same thing with perfumes. I remember that once we brought back some gym suits, which we pretended to be designer made, and a few days later we found out that others had brought the same kind of gym suits to sell in their stalls in the bazaar. We had added the usual fake labels. but that wasn?t enough anymore, so we took them to the tailor?s and we had a sort of colourful star sewn on their pockets. I can?t even begin to describe how proud our clients were to see that they had bought the original gym suits, as they had the star to prove that. The other gym suits sold in the bazaar did not have it.

Now things have become more difficult because Romanians travel more and more and they have learnt how things really are, what quality is merchandise and what isn?t. But, at the time, if you were smart enough, you could make some handsome money from other people?s stupidity. (Sorin I., 34, self-employed)

Translated by Alina Popescu

Interviews done by Iuliana Căp├ólneanu
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Martor nr 1/1996
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