I can recall 2 places where I’ve wondered how that store stays in business. The first is from my childhood; it was a little drug store in a strip mall near my house. For some reason, nothing ever stayed open long in that strip mall. Stores would open and be gone again in about a year. Except for this crappy little drug store that rarely ever had any customers, with a couple of racks of old chips and candy bars near the door and a pharmacist’s counter at the back. That place was there for at least 20 years. There must have been something shady about it, because I don’t see how the owners could possibly have made a living off that place.
The second was from when I went to college, at the University of Detroit. I commuted, and to get there I drove past an African-themed clothing store in a very sketchy neighborhood. It was pretty much the only business on that street that looked like it was still open. The store was huge but, again, nobody ever seemed to shop there. Over the course of my 4-year degree, I saw exactly one (1) person enter the store, despite driving past this store every week day. This was well before online shopping became a thing. Also, because of varying class schedules, I drove past that place at all different hours of the day, so unless everybody in the ‘Hood goes shopping for their clothes in the middle of the night, there’s no way the owner was making any money off those clothes in the window. I hate to throw stereotypes around, but they must have been selling drugs out the back door.
I’ve been wondering about the airsde shops selling things like expensive watches in airports. Some chains must have outlets in hundreds of airports, each with six-figure (retail price) inventories. I’ve never seen a customer in one. They are behind an immigration barrier, so you can’t even walk into one without a passport and boarding card.
I went into a couple of them last month to see if they could replace a battery that had died in my cheap watch. He said if a watch stops in their glittering display case, they just sent it back.
Yeah, I call these “boutiques” Bored Rich Bitch R Us.
If post count impresses you, look at mine and Bosda’s.
Wet trout slap coming my way…
Ahhh airport duty free Rolex etc watch shops. I will have you know that on average they sell 24 watches a week. In most cases the passenger calls the shop in advance and asks for the model. If it is not in stock, it is brought in. 50% of their sales are pre orders. Rest s walk in.
“Oh my, I’m flying to a different time zone. I believe I will need a new watch.”
Okay, now I’m even more curious. What do you do that results in you being asked about money laundering all the time? I’m now picturing you as Orlando Jones’ fake recovering crackhead character in Office Space.
In certain countries, duty free shopping is an essential part of travelling abroad.
For citizens of countries with a punitive VAT/GST/luxury-goods-tax - which is significant fraction of the planet, buying a duty-free watch can mean a very significant saving. More than the airfare even. There was a shop in Changi airport for a while called Tourbillion. The only watches it sold were indeed tourbillion movement watches. Prices started at about $80,000 US and went up from there. Of course you are breaking the law taking the watch back without paying the tax. Some cultures regard such activities as anything from sport to a noble cause.
Is this in Flaubert? It’s at the the tip of my tongue…