Buying a computer mouse in Minsk

This was written in 2002 and is not true anymore. The computer market is much more civilized now, after the state legalized it for its own profit.

What can be simpler than that? Drop in a supermarket, choose a model out of half a dozen available and leave with your new mouse, probably not the cheapest one, but of an acceptable price and decent quality.

Now, this is the most probable scenario in Warsaw, Teheran or Manila, but you have to follow a different route in Minsk.

First, you look up on the Internet the prices of local computer firms. There are several sites that list prices from most of the firms but the local star is Prices are listed in one line per item, which is composed of the name of the company, a short description of the item, its shop price, gross price and dealer’s price. While very concise, the list can grow quite big and it actually had ~300 entries for mice and “ other manipulators”, as they say in the computer slang.

Few companies ship to the doors. If you are lucky, your story ends here. However, most of them sell in-place only. Once you have decided to visit them, provide yourself with a map of the town and some patience, as even the big resellers do not show up from the outside of the street. Their offices are always located deep inside the buildings of half-closed research institutes or state companies, among the multitude of small law firms, publishing and printing companies that rent their offices in the same place.

The firm of our choice was located in the building belonging to a transport company. Having wandered a few minutes in the hallways, we found our firm on the 2nd floor, near the lady’s room.