Not just booze-cruising any more: Finns are buying clothes and beauty parlour services in Tallinn
Estonia becomes a source of branded goods - or "branded goods"
By Kaja Kunnas in Tallinn
Schoolboy Eero Mäkelä, 10, from Kouvola, knows precisely what products are worth buying in Tallinn.
”Branded clothes”, Mäkelä says. ”Wesc, DC, Burton, Element, Billabong. Most of those brand items that are sold online can also be found here”, he adds.
Mother Hanna Mäkelä points out delicately that they are in fact pirated products.
”In Finland they are sold on the Internet”, Eero Mäkelä notes.
The boy’s shopping bag contains a grey Metal Mulisha Rockstar hoodie. A similar garment, but the real thing, would have cost EUR 70 at a shop in Finland. Bought off the Internet at home, a counterfeit hoodie would have cost approximately EUR 30 to 40, Eero Mäkelä lists.
At Tallinn’s Sadamarket shopping centre, the price of the same pirated hoodie was EUR 23.
Mäkelä had seen branded clothes during his previous visit to Tallinn.
Information about products for sale in Tallinn is also spreading among his friends in Kouvola.
For example, a New Yorker baseball cap would have cost EUR 40 at an online store in Finland and up to EUR 70 at a regular shop, but now Mäkelä managed to grab one for EUR 15.
Mother and son were on a spa holiday in Tallinn, stopping off quickly at Sadamarket for clothes on their way back to the ferry on Tuesday.
The general price level has gone up in Estonia, even though the wages and salaries have remained unchanged. For Estonians, the prices are high, but for Finns many prices are still very affordable.
In the bazaar-like Sadamarket, almost all customers are Finnish-speaking, while the shop assistants speak Finnish as well.
”In Finland a haircut would have cost me EUR 40, but here it cost EUR 15”, said pensioner Leila Stolpe from Helsinki, who paid a visit to a hairdressing salon in Tallinn.
On Tuesday, there were many tourists from the Finnish countryside shopping till they dropped at Sadamarket. They praised the friendly service but some of them were alarmed by the vendors’ aggressive sales techniques and the way products are pushed at the buyer.
For many Finns, the price was not the main thing, but the selection of goods that was better than the one back home.
”I do a lot of impulse buying. I buy things that are not available in Finland. Pulkkila is such a small place that there are not so many things to buy or places to buy them”, said Anna-Liisa Vatanen, a librarian from Pulkkila in Northern Ostrobothnia.
”This makes one look slimmer, hiding the tummy”, sales assistant Helju showed off a greyish-black tunic that cost only EUR 20.
The 20-euro tunic ended up in Vatanen’s shopping bag.
Pensioner ladies Oili Haakana and Eila Suhonen and their husbands, from Parikkala in South Karelia, had come to Sadamarket for four hours.
The ladies were doing some shopping, while the men were obligingly carrying their rucksacks.
Haakana bought some linen towels and shoe wax.
Before the departure of the ferry home, the party still had time to stop for coffee.
At a Finnish service station a cup of coffee and a bun will cost you EUR 4.00, but at Sadamarket’s café one had to dig out only EUR 3.60 for a cup of coffee, a bun, a bottle of water, and a sandwich.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 4.5.2011
More on this subject:
Finns' eagerness to consume in Estonia is increasing
Previously in HS International Edition:
Cheap alcohol attracts pensioners to Tallinn (20.4.2010)
KAJA KUNNAS / Helsingin Sanomat