Saturday, January 2, 2016

Mouthwash in Minsk

We’re back in Minsk now, and I’ve been busy with little details. Among other things, I stopped in at the State Department Store (“TSUM”) to pick up some mouthwash. Alla always buys the stuff made in Belarus, which I don’t particularly like, so I figured I’d try something new. I noticed a bottle on the top of the shelf called “Forest Balm,” with pictures of all the flowers supposedly squeezed into the bottle. This bottle was attached to a smaller bottle of a different kind of Forest Balm, and the label said “1 + 1 Gift”

“Ooh,” I thought, “Good deal! Second bottle free. I should buy this last package.” As a reality check, I looked for a regular bottle of Forest Balm on the lower shelf. The one on the lower shelf didn’t have so many flowers on the label, but it was only 40,000 rubles and I figured the “1 + 1 Free” set would cost about the same.

The cashier delivered shocking news: My pair of bottles would cost 60,000 rubles. I asked her why it was so much, and she shrugged, pointing out that I was getting two bottles. I complained about the “free” business, but didn’t have much of a leg to stand on because this deluxe bottle had all those flowers on the label and there was nothing comparable on the lower shelves.

Frankly, I don’t know what’s inside either bottle. I read too slowly in Russian to bother with it, and ingredient lists certainly aren’t my forte. The good news is that the extra 20,000 rubles won’t break the bank. It’s about a dollar, but I’m amused to find that I’m still incompetent sometimes in Belarusian shops.

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