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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thailand's Oldest Department Store


84 YEAR OLD Nightingale Olympic, Thailand ’s first ever department store, is STILL in business. I'm pictured above with the daughter of Nightingale's owner. 

Stuck in time, displaying 50 year old products still in their original packaging. The no air-condition two level store sells old-fashioned cosmetics, clothing and sports equipment.

Prices range from cheap to much. What was most amusing, were the purple uniformed staff diligently positioned behind each counter on the first floor, ready to handle customer enquiries like it would have been bustling in the past. These salesgirls were hired since the 80s and they stand, position unchanging.

There was only one grumpy one, who looked at me through the top of her glasses, wagging her finger and said, "no photos". The others were typically polite, smiley and curious in me as i am with them.

Taking my time to walk the rather small (but i imagine sprawling in the 1930s) level 1, i see products somewhat neatly displayed. All items were covered in 5-inch dust with items falling apart. The items not falling apart like shoes, rackets and balls are worth purchase consideration. After all, its a sign of remarkable quality, no? They withstood the test of time.

"Good thing these stairs weren't wooden", i thought to myself. As i turned round the spiral staircase to the second floor, i caught a tabby cat pissing red-handed on one of the "merchandise", a set of snooker poles. 

I looked at the nonchalant salesman sitting across. I lifted my arm wanting to alert him of the tabby's deed. My mouth opened, hesitating to make a sound. He seemed like he didn't want to be disturb. I decided against informing him, the snooker pole was covered with 10-inch dust that i felt the cat's pee probably did a favor than harm. At least the dust is partially gone, revealing the genuine colour. 

The unwelcoming salesman was in his 60s, engrossed with fixing something. I approached to see what. He was re-stapling music scoresheets. 

Nothing has changed in this department store, except the prices that has rose with inflation. Sports equipment on the second floor cost much, now being antiques. 


If you're looking for an off-the-beaten find in Bangkok, take a peek in Nightingale Olympics. Buy something for good measure & to keep it open! Located 25/41 Pharurat Rd in Chinatown. Not open on Sundays & closes before sunset Mons to Sats. 

2 comments:

MArvin said...

Sounds like the kind of place to avoid. I'll rather prefer going about with my business rather than having free sales personnel tailing me around the shop.

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