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English Language: English

Go ahead and enter this world shopping mecca along with a crowd of other tourists: it will be an unforgettable experience for you, in every sense. Glamour, luxury, and ostentation are the characteristic traits of these famous department stores where, according to the ancient motto "Omnia omnibus ubique", which means "All things for all people, everywhere", you can find the most bizarre and sought-after items "from a pin to an elephant" as another slogan says, although the prices are not always within the reach of common mortals. Nonetheless it will be difficult to hold back the temptation to buy something and the resulting euphoria of carrying around their typical green bag with the name in golden font...

You should know that Charles Henry Harrods was a grocer from Essex with a keen sense for business, and had been lucky as a tea merchant in his first East End shop. In 1849 he decided to open a new department store in the Knightsbridge neighborhood, which was not a very good area at the time. But he had a great stroke of luck: two years later, Queen Victoria chose the area as the home of the Great Exhibition in London! The shop progressively took over the neighboring buildings until it reached its current colossal size. Without losing its original identity as a grocery store, the department store became the privileged showcase of the best of imperial England and then the global market, which continues to hold London as an indispensable reference point.

To give you just a few numbers, during the sales season the department store hits an average 250,000 visitors a day, and registers over a million pounds of sales in just the first half hour of opening! Yet even at Harrods "not all that glitters is gold". At the beginning of 2017 some of its restaurant workers caused a stir after they hid hundreds of flyers in the clothing department that denounced the scandalous economic treatment they were given by their employer, which has been the wealthy royal family of Qatar since 2010!


FUN FACT: there is a Hollywood-style show every year to ring in the sales season: the mistress of ceremonies arrives on a horse-drawn carriage, and is welcomed by the owner wearing a mandatory tuxedo.          

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