Pyongyang Department Store No. 1
Exterior of the Pyongyang Department Store No. 1
Location in Pyongyang
|Design and construction|
The store offers a wide variety of items including electronics, clothing, furniture, foodstuffs, kitchenware, and toys. As of 2013[update], approximately 70 percent of the items in the store are produced domestically. The store is also one of several official tourist stops in the city. While in other, more upmarket, department stores, like Paradise Department Store, only hard currency or a hard-currency related Won debit card is accepted as payment for the goods, in Department Store No. 1 only local currency is accepted.
Swedish undercover journalist Caroline Salzinger describes her visit to the department store as a tourist: Upon arrival, the store was still closed. One of the tour guides accompanying her tried to distract her, while the other one rushed in to get the doors opened. When opened, the guide had to scramble passers-by to occupy the store as "shoppers". The moment they step in, the escalator is started. The shoppers appear clueless as to how to act in a department store. When after great pains Salzinger managed to purchase the goods she wanted, the cashier is confused and will not hand her a plastic bag for her items: "We look at each other in the eyes. She knows that something is wrong, and that not everything is like it should, but she does not know what it is."
Similarly, according to Salzinger, a Western diplomat had monitored the department store for one hour, and saw no one come out with purchased items.
However, an United Nations international officer who lived in Pyongyang for 15 months in the early 2010s and visited the Department Store No. 1 on a regular basis, met always a lot of local shoppers in the store, purchasing especially food stuff and cheap cigarettes.
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- e.g. Andrei Lankov, Money matters: the three-tiered system of the 1980s North Korean currency, NKNews 28 May 2014;http://www.nknews.org/2014/05/money-matters-the-three-tiered-system-of-1980s-north-korean-currency/ and Rob York, Black market cash, The real value of N. Korean Won, in: NKNews, 1 September 2014; http://www.nknews.org/2014/09/black-market-cash-the-real-value-of-n-korean-won/
- Salzinger 2008, p. 47.
- Salzinger 2008, p. 48.
- Salzinger 2008, p. 49.
- Salzinger 2008, p. 50.
- Black market cash, The real value of N. Korean Won, in: NKNews, 1 September 2014; http://www.nknews.org/2014/09/black-market-cash-the-real-value-of-n-korean-won/