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Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Visit to the Department Store

The neighborhood department store is the "go to" location for much merchandise here in Cairo.  And the department store that is best known is El Tawheed & El Nour.

There are quite a few branches around town and they are pretty easy to spot, especially after dark.

We now have our own branch about a half-mile away.  We stopped in on Thursday night and bought a few things.  There are four floors with the first floor having lots of specials, including treadmills that night.  The next floor had women's and children's clothes, the next included menswear and the top has furniture.

Buying something here is not quite like shopping at Macy's.  You will find a half-dozen or more men on each floor eager to help you.  As you walk the floor, one will be right behind you ready to suggest good bargains or reach something for you.  Now, let's say you pick up a flyswatter.  You can carry it around with you but as you approach the stairs, one of the men will take it from you, make out a slip of paper, and give you that in place of the swatter.  The swatter will be handed to another man in charge of a group of runners.  The runner will disappear down to the main floor.

After making your shopping rounds, you will have a handful of those papers with items and prices.  You proceed to the cashier area on the first floor.  There you will find a row of windows manned by bearded cashiers.  One of them will take your slips and hand copy the necessary information onto another slip and total up the prices.  Since he is using a small calculator, he will turn it around and show you the grand total.  After you pay, you get another slip of paper.  You hand this one to the man at the door who turns and gives it to a finder who will collect all the items, bag them and give the bag to you.

In spite of the apparent overhead associated with all the staff, prices are very favorable.  Merchandise quality is on what might be called the low-end.

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