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June 2, 2006

Российский Урок

I always forget one item on a trip, this time it was ties. On Friday morning, I took a walking tour, and the helpful guide, Dmitri, suggested that the best compromise of quality and price would be at Stockmann's department store - a Finnish chain I recalled from Helsinki close to 30 years ago.

I headed in there and tried my luck in Russian. "Я хочу купить. . ." "I want to buy . . " but I didn't know the word for tie - which I think from looking in the dictionary is связь. My guess was that the Rusian cognate would be French rather than English, so I tried "cravate". The young sales lady smiled, led me around the corner and answered in good English, “What color?”


She looks on the rack and hands me a beige silk tie. The ties were probably imported from Sweden, of decent quality and cost 495 rubles or about $17 each. I reach for a gold one.

“Orange!” she exclaims.

I also pick out a green one. “Gold?” she asks teasingly.

“In English we say ‘The customer is always right!’”

“I know that one,” she smiles right back.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at June 2, 2006 5:50 AM

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