By Vladimir Solovyov and Elena Klepikova / November 17, 1986
THERE are frequent misunderstandings in foreigners' judgments of Soviet society -- points on which there is total incomprehension, and hence a feeling that Soviet life is truly inscrutable. It seems to us that these are because Westerners -- scientists, politicians, journalists, or tourists -- do not take into account the main factor governing the day-to-day life, social contacts, psychological reactions, political sympathies, and even the ideals of the Soviet person.
That main factor is the waiting line.
Like mournful, irritating background music, the waiting line accompanies a Soviet person throughout life, from birth to death. First, there is the queue for pacifiers, feeding bottles, and diapers; then the line (with special tickets and a policeman on duty at the store's door) for a wedding dress; and finally, the line for the black slippers in which Soviet people bury their dead. Many of a Russian's notions about life and the universe are formed by the waiting line. And if, in our childhood, standing in round-the-clock waiting lines for flour, sugar, and eggs, we looked up at the sky, it was only to see which line was moving faster -- ours or the one in the heavens.
There is almost no product or thing in the Soviet Union for which there have not been waiting lines. One is familiar with the classic lines for fruits and vegetables, newspapers, thermometers, New Year's trees, toilet paper, men's socks, meat, absorbent cotton and gauze, razors, pillows, underwear, shoes; the line in front of Lenin's Tomb -- and of course, the lifelong wait for an apartment.
The simple word ``buy'' has virtually disappeared from the Russian language in favor of terms like ``scrounge,'' ``rip off,'' and other synonyms. The same is true of the word ``sell.'' A Soviet person, taking his place in a line, never asks, ``What are they selling?'' but ``What are they giving out?'' or ``What are they throwing out?''
You don't think people rode their horse and buggy 25 miles to town in 1850, just so they could buy the latest apparatuses and contraptions?
Out houses were the place where the original Sears and Roebucks catalogs were kept. While often it was the only paper there, it was not used for but whipping.
Sears begins offering its customers credit.
Sears started the consumer culture, and was credited for creating consumer credit. They were the first to offer goods from their catalogs on a revolving credit line.
there are days... someone needs to put into the waiting line... Soviet style...
Oh, I see Wong. If you don't buy what you desire, what you don't need, you are a communist?? Wrong, Wong.
I think you both have a point. As much as I want prosecutions for the fraud they committed I don't think they should be held accountable for "creating desire". This is mostly a problem with the US society, there may be other countries which exhibit similar consumerism, but the majority does not. The people have the power to stop shopping for stuff they don't really need and avoiding debt, nobody puts a gun to their head to buy.
yes.. is called a planned economy as the Soviets had with Gosplan.. which didnt work and frankly destroyed their nation. But the vodka was cheap!
The difference is that now the banksters keep the profits not the communist party. So, Thomas, it is more like fascism than communism. Saying it is communism is the John Birch/Glenn Beck lie. The Koch Bros, who made Glenn Beck rich, had a father who cofounded the John Birch Society. Eisenhower called them "fringe".
Now they are mainstream fringe.
The reason they wanted to blame communism is because they already hated communism and wanted to add this lie to get others to hate communism even more. Communism failed. Banksterism is succeeding.