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Odd Czech things: sign boards saying what the particular store sells

In Economy, Language, Life on April 16, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

I bet every Czech finds their nation odd in some way. To me one of the weirdest thing is our store naming and signage habit that seems to have survived the pre-1989 times when everything was state-owned.

You can see dozens and hundreds of stores/shops in the Czech Republic where the main sign will not name the owner but the merchandise the store sells. In the U.S., the name of the retailer TOYS R US yells at parents and kids from above the entrance to … enter. In the Czech Republic the sign would usually say “TOYS” with no specification of the owner.

It is really odd because the signs say the obvious. You can SEE that the store sells toys.

Same thing with sign boards that say “FLOWERS” (not let’s say Angela’s Flower Garden), or “MEAT” (not Tom’s Deli).

Makes me wanna do a little sightseeing with a camera to illustrate the …well..oddity.

One Response to “Odd Czech things: sign boards saying what the particular store sells”

  1. Petře, I’ve been fascinated with this ever since I moved here almost 18 years ago, and I have a hard time explaining it to someone who’s never been here. What’s also funny is when Czechs DO make up a company name, it’s usually some gibberish made up of the first few letters of their first and last names, or of the partners’ last names.

    Although I do love seeing the old store names (even POTRAVINY) uncovered when a building is being renovated.

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