Back in August 2014, it turned out that you need to get used to live without many things. Electricity, water, work, sense of security, confidence in the future. At the same time, a lot of new conditions appeared - almost imperceptible limitations in the usual things, communication, lifestyle, food and necessities.
Of course, against the background of war, the absence of one insignificant thing is nothing. The absence of a few familiar things is already palpable. At first, we got used to the fact that, in the absence of something, it is necessary to manage to live without it or to seek a replacement.
And then, when Luhansk began to flood by unknown foods, household chemicals and drinks, it turned out that you need to get used to another innovation – products of very low quality.
Here was another discovery, we learned to dispense and replace what was not on sale in August-September 2014, but we are still getting used to the poor quality product.
This is a huge problem - to find something of normal quality in today's market. If you think that this applies only to food, - no. Low-quality products cover essential items, household chemicals, clothing, shoes, household appliances, construction mixes, diapers and services like mold. It is like a virus that affects everything in its path.
The logic of those who deliver goods of extremely low quality to Luhansk can be understood. Why buy expensive, if nobody will buy it at all with extra charge in Luhansk? Take a cheap product, on which dozens of people can earn - administrators, loaders, wholesalers, sellers, drivers…
No, no, I am not joking. The scheme is extremely simple – administrator buys the goods in Stanytsia, drivers take it to the old bridge, loaders unload the car, local administrator pay for it and redirect the goods to the wholesale markets of Luhansk with his loader and drivers, from where the cargo continues its path to the counters of the "republic". That is, everyone in this chain earns a percentage on operation for transferring cargo from Stanytsia Luhanska.
Now it is clear why Bilovodsk butter costs $6.5 per kilogram in Luhansk, right? It is easier to import large quantities of cheap Russian or Belarusian goods. And here it is to be sold with a significant price wrap, bypassing the described above scheme of distribution…
The question arises once again that you need to buy the cheapest product to sell it here at a favorable price, because almost no one has enough money for an expensive and high-quality product in the "republic", and if there is no choice, they will take what is on the shelves.
It turns out that the first two years after the summer of 2014, we were amazed to discover that laundry detergent does not wash, shampoo does not foam, detergent has the consistency of water, tea has no taste and butter is only called butter, having all the properties of cheap margarine.
But in order to understand this, we had to burn ourselves literally on everything. Nobody will warn you that you do not need to take this product, and who could have imagined that it is possible? The discovery was that the stew can consist entirely of fat and condensed milk can be liquid.
Literally all was puzzling for the first two years – is it really possible to do so badly? Who benefits from producing such a strange product and selling it?
And then there was another surprise – in addition to food and beverages, drugs have the same quality. What should work, does not work, does not help and does not cure.
But if drugs can be ordered from Ukraine – this is something that friends almost never refuse, it turned out just strange with the products. After the next product with quite a strange taste, we began to say to ourselves: "Let us eat this too". It happened that literally everything on the table was tasteless. I understand fully well that it is hard to believe in what I am writing, getting used to the quality of Ukrainian food. I would hardly have believed it until the summer of 2014.
People began to bring high-quality food products from Ukraine - butter, fat, meat, sausage, cheese, spices, using every opportunity. Every pensioner brings full bags of candies, detergents, cheese, toilet paper and sausage from his pension tours to Ukraine… They hide fat and meat in their hoods, try to buy mushrooms, apples, chocolate… And this is in addition to medicines.
What do you think the military feel along both lines of demarcation, when tens of thousands of those who carry quality goods of Ukrainian manufacturers from Ukraine to the "republic" pass by them in a day?
We do not need long speeches from the high tribunes that we do not need Ukraine at all – look into the bags of old people on that bridge. It will be more eloquent than any words – they bring them not from the "republic", but vice versa.
People began to go for the goods – to Ukraine and Russia, where they could choose, where there was a line of products at different prices on the shelves. But is it possible to buy everything you need for a month for one trip? Hardly ever. The problem of quality is still quite acute today.
A Russian friend told me in the summer: "It is almost impossible to find good quality products in Russia. We are willing to pay more, but even an expensive product does not guarantee quality. You still have good quality food, but ours will soon teach you to do badly".
Olha Kucher, Luhansk, for OstroV