On the way to the EU Estonia came back to the late Soviet times: Estonians are standing in lines to buy foodstuffs for the moths ahead.
Estonia is to join the EU shortly. However, approaching the join date reminded of the Soviet times: the basic consumer goods are being wiped out from the stores.
Joining the EU means not only duty free trade and open borders, but also unified standards for many foodstuffs and their prices. There are some mechanisms in the EU preventing some countries to set dumping prices for foodstuffs in their domestic market. After the first excitement about Estonia’s joining the EU, the rumors on the doomed price increase for foodstuffs started being circulated. Residents of Estonian capital Tallinn became were especially concerned, and they ran to the stores and started buying enormous amounts of sugar, salt, cereal, matches, vinegar and macaroni.
Initially, salespeople were glad with the increased demand. The amount of sales of slat grew tenfold, of sugar – fivefold, and the figures are increasing. However, soon some salespeople went mad because of all this turmoil and remembered the practice of the Soviet times. Salespeople tried to abandon the laws of market economy by imposing limits on the number of the sold foodstuffs (5 kilograms per customer).
However, contemporary residents of Tallinn have one advantage over the former Soviet citizens: wholesale warehouses and marketplaces. The thriftiest people drove their in their vehicles. After standing in lines for several hours, they can purchase sugar supplies for several year to come.
The Renaissance of the Soviet times will probably last in Estonia until May 1 – the scheduled date of Estonia’s joining the EU. After this date Estonians will see if their concerns about the price growth were valid.