Shopping in Spain
remains a personal, rather than impersonal, experience. The majority of Spanish
stores are small family run affairs although many more
have begun to spring up. The hypermarkets tend to lie in the rapidly expanding
Spanish suburbs, while the older city neighborhoods hold fast to traditional
The Spanish often
don't seem to believe in queuing and people often push and shove their way
to the front.
Shop assistants will not always serve customers in order; so if it is your
turn - speak up! The last person in line is called ¨la ultima,¨ and
you may ask or be asked who is La Ultima. Some foreigners complain that Spanish
people can be surly, but we have
to be friendly
These can vary considerably between region, city, town and type of shop.
shops open from between 0830 and 0930 (or earlier for food shops) until
between 1300 and 1400 and from around 1700 until between 1930 and 2100, Monday
to Friday, then from 0930 until 1400 on Saturdays. In some areas shops are
closed on Monday mornings. In south Spain, the siesta lasts from 1330 or
1400 until 1700. Department stores, hypermarkets and many supermarkets are
without a break for a siesta from around 0930 or 1000, until between 2000
and 2200 from Monday to Saturday. Most stores are closed on Sunday.
You have indoor markets, called mercados, permanent street markets and traveling
open-air street markets that move from area to area. Often prices can be
20% lower than in shops!
Markets usually operate from 0900 until 1400 and sell a variety of goods such
as: food, flowers, clothes, shoes, crockery, , cookware, linen, ceramics, cassettes/CDs,
arts and crafts, household wares, carpets, jewelry, etc. Watch out for well
name brands though, as they are usually fakes.
The best products to buy in Spain are handmade items such as ceramics, pottery,
woodwork, embroidery and paintings. Spanish leather goods are also good
quality and good value for money but not cheap. Arts and crafts have survived
better in Spain than in other Western European countries and this is reflected
in their goods.