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What Crisis? - Chuck Fisher's LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
From Bay Area to Barcelona

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What Crisis? [ Monday, 05 Jan 09 | 18:38 ]
[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |surprisedsurprised]

Recently I have been reading the dire stories about retail holiday sales figures in the US as a further indication of a deep recession. As a result, I was surprised last Friday after Ruben’s work when we met in Plaça Catalunya to do some shopping.

In the four years that I have been here in Barcelona, I never have seen so many shoppers. We both loathe crowds such as this and were happy that it didn’t take that long to get our shopping chores done. We were surprised that at Fnac there were so many people that were let out of the first floor through an emergency exit rather than descending to the ground level via the usual escalator.

Some notes about Fnac

Fnac (originally Fédération nationale d’achats des cadres), is an international entertainment retail chain offering cultural and consumer electronics products. It is the largest retailer of its kind in France. The company has stores in France, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Taiwan. Think of it as a chain like Best Buy in the US or Dixons in the UK.

The company's founders were part of France's Young Socialists movement, a left-wing militant group in 1954. Fnac was founded to provide affordable products to the worker. As a result, they remained true to their socialist beliefs. Today, the company prides itself on offering a diverse range of products, impartial advice from their employees, ensuring their products are up to standard by being checked in an independent test center and blacklisting those which do not meet a minimum set of requirements.

Fnac also participates in campaigns against exclusion, racism and censorship. The company is also committed to defending the diversity of music. So it fits right in with Barcelona’s cultural, social and labor history.


[User Picture]From: erstexman
Monday, 05 Jan 09 | 17:48 (UTC)
I missed Fnac when I was in Barcelona in 2002. The only shopping I wound up doing was at El Corte Ingles for CDs and for cheese in the lower level grocery. Don't ask me how I was able to get that back into the US with all the mad cow scare that was going on at the time.

I will check out Fnac when I ever return to Spain.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 05 Jan 09 | 18:03 (UTC)

Don't ask me how

The problem with cheese is that it is not always pasteurized as the USDA would like.

And of course there is a problem with jamón serrano. The stuff imported to the US doesn't look quite the same. Again due to the USDA.

Chuck, ¡Feliz Reyes!
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[User Picture]From: erstexman
Monday, 05 Jan 09 | 18:17 (UTC)

Re: Don't ask me how

Well, I bought a full round of Manchego and a whole Mahon. I declared them on the sheet I had to fill out for customs, but I did not even have to open my case to show them. The agent asked if they were sealed in plastic and I said yes - well, the store had wrapped them in a plastic wrap, but I am not sure that was exactly what the agent was looking for. I also brought a big jar of salsa romesco and some baked delicacies that did not last very long once I was back.

I know people who have gone to other countries and tried to bring back all kinds of food stuff. It is the fresh fruit and veggies and meat and dairy products that get the most attention.
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From: winstonthriller
Monday, 05 Jan 09 | 18:51 (UTC)
Here, there were tons of people out at the malls and shops, but few buying. For the first time I can remember, I heard people haggling with salesstaff at Best Buy and GASP! Wal*Mart. That's something that just isn't done here. Still, many were out, but few people bought anything major. I think folks are settling into the "70% off? I'll wait for a REAL sale" mindset.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Monday, 05 Jan 09 | 19:43 (UTC)

I'll wait for a REAL sale

There have been a few "early" sales here, but the real ones will start on Wednesday, the day after Los Reyes. Many people exchange gifts on the 6thof January as well as the 25th of December.

Chuck, ¡Feliz Reyes!
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