Shopping Experience at Russian Markets
In most Russian cities and towns people like shopping at market places. Russian markets may represent a whole new culture of Russia, unknown to a foreigner. In some smaller towns or villages the traditional “market day” is still held on a certain day of the week. For example, it is only on Friday that all vendors and people from nearby villages come and organize a market day in a particular market place. But in bit cities Russian markets are open every day and especially make a lot of money during holiday sales.
There can be two types of Russian markets: a food market and a clothes market (flea markets). Most big cities may have up to 3-5 big clothes markets near railway stations and busy areas, and a great number of smaller food markets spread around in the residential areas.
Shopping in a food market is a great experience. Most vendors are private entrepreneur. That is why even though the prices are usually fixed, if there is no price-tag you can bargain and try to establish a better price.
During summer time these vendors bring out the food that they grow in their own kitchen gardens. For instance, June is the season of strawberries in Russia. That is why entrances of food markets swarm with old ladies with their buckets and baskets trying to sell you fresh, recently picked-up strawberries. It is good to walk around and ask for prices because they can be different even though all vendors are working at the same spot.
In winter you can see vendors selling all kinds of fish, hair meat, poultry, venison and other game right in the open. They also sell preservatives and jam in jars.
Clothes Markets (Flea Markets)
The majority of vendors at Russian clothes markets are Caucasian (from Caucasus) and Asian, and they are also private entrepreneur. It is a common thing to bargain for better prices at Russian clothes market. However, in addition to clothes you can find shoes, consumer goods, accessories, books and even home and kitchen appliances there.
Try to avoid shopping at Russian market places on your own if you do not speak Russian well or are not familiar with the common prices because there are often no price-tags and vendors try to sell everything for a higher price. Also do not keep your wallet in back pockets or easily accessible places, because, though very rarely, there are incidents of pickpocketing at Russian market places.