Bargain Christmas Shopping: the Revenue Service Store

Finally, some good news this year for the Romanians, who can shop just before Christmas at prices lower than they’ve ever dreamed of. The Internal Revenue Service has just gone into the retail business, selling out all the merchandise it confiscates from companies and individuals whom they catch breaking the law. There are already 42 such stores across the country, one in every county capital and one in Bucharest. For a children’s pair of shoes, the Revenue Service charges 2 Romanian Lei, the equivalent of 50 pence or 60 USD cents. A ladies’ jumper may set shoppers back by 2 pounds (or about 3 USD), while a luxury Russian fur hat may cost as much as 12 pounds. Prices may decrease, say Revenue Service officials, if the merchandise is not sold. There will probably never be an issue of supplying these stores, as contraband merchandise is being captured by the ton almost every day at every border point in Romania. The country’s hottest spots are Constanţa’s maritime port and the Eastern border with the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine – that is where most of the smugglers try to get their goods in the country.

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