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.