The department store has, or had, everything from women’s clothing to home appliances



“In Tallinn, we can speak of the department store in definite form, because there is still only one, “Kaubamaja”. It is noticeable every morning that there is only one department store. Kaubamaja opens at 09.00 but already half an hour before people start to queue outside. They want to buy the ” loss leaders ” such as refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and other home appliances. Since early 1988, buyers must be able to document that they are residents of Estonia. The new rule were made to stop buyers from other republics.

Kaubamaja is open from 09.00 – 20.00 every day except Sundays. Everyday around 70,000 people shop here and they are served by about a thousand employees. Just as in many other businesses in Estonia you have to queue three times: first to point out an item you want, then to pay the chosen and finally to get the goods you paid for out. There is now plans of a new shopping centre that unlike Kaubamaja will include food sales, small shops and markets. But only if Estonia’s financially self-government gets better, because then they can decide goods, supply and prices by them self, which so far have been made by Moscow.”

A. Küng, Tallinn – En personlig vägvisare, Sellin & Blomquist AB Stockholm, 1990