Primary Source

Shopping queue in Wrocław


Upheavals in political, economic, social, and cultural conditions in the 1980s led to many challenges in everyday lives of average citizens of East European countries. Buying such necessities as food, clothing, and hygiene products posed serious difficulties to consumers. Store shelves were frequently empty and lines that took as long as several hours to navigate were common. In this 1982 photograph, a large crowd stands in front of a department store (Dom Mody) in the city of Wrocław in Western Poland. Such lines were a daily sight in Soviet Bloc countries, where the state was unable to meet its citizens' everyday needs. Declining living standards and daily hardships throughout Eastern Europe in the 1980s contributed to the building resentment toward State Socialism, eventually leading to the collapse of the system.

This source is a part of the Consumerism in Poland teaching module.

How to Cite This Source

"Shopping queue in Wrocław," in World History Commons, [accessed April 17, 2024]