SOCHI, Russia – One of those eye-catching blue multi-pattern Olympic suits seen on the cool people walking the streets of this resort town can be yours for just 9,000 roubles.
That’s about 300 bucks off the old Visa card, in case you were wondering.
Prices are high and sales for souvenirs and merchandise were low for the first couple days.
But now things seem to be picking up, although it’s nowhere near the mad rush we saw at the start of Vancouver and Torino, where store shelves were picked clean.
At a local “official’’ store, sales manager Elena, who speaks rather good English, tells me that all the good hats are already gone.
“We’re waiting for more,’’ she says, echoing a refrain I’ve heard all too often before. If my guess is right, said hats should be arriving around Tuesday after the Closing Ceremonies.
No doubt, it’s difficult to gauge how many dollars are being spent these days because of the Internet. Many people don’t want to wait in line so they go online. Plus, they don’t have to lug the stuff home. It just shows up at the front door.
Still, isn’t the whole idea of a “souvenir’’ to actually purchase an item at the neat place you’re at?
Elena said the Sochi Olympic gloves are a hot commodity and there were plenty of those at this particular store.
Apparently many of the customers must be from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, because the temperatures here are in the 50s.
“I think we’re doing very well,’’ Elena says. “Things like the windbreakers are big sellers.’’
So are the bears and other cuddly creatures, each one bearing the “Sochi 2014’’ insignia, just to make it official.
I always try to zero in on a snazzy looking sweatshirt, myself, because it’s an item of clothing that’s durable, functional and, by golly, seems to avoid the washing machine when it can.
As for getting stuff for my family, it’s not about the price so much as it is trying to squeeze numerous items into an already over-stuffed luggage bag.
This is where clothing gets the nod over coffee cups. Porcelain is too heavy and too breakable.
So if I can find a clothing item that reads: “My Sports Writer Uncle Went to the Olympics and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt,’’ I’m going to buy about a half-dozen.
Maybe Elena can get me a discount.