In Malaga there are a lot of stores and some shopping malls, you can find almost anything if you know where to look. There are cheap and more exclusive options as well, you can dress up from 5 euros and 5000 depending on your budget. The prices are the same as everywhere else in Europe. Of course some local stuff are cheaper while import things are more expensive. If you can’t find something in the stores you still have the option to order online and get it within a few days.
Every year there are two big sales, there you can get stuff at ridiculously low prices if you are lucky enough or you have a good strategy. Black Friday is also a thing here, almost every store have some offer, but most of those are inflated fake offers in my opinion, so they can get rid of the last year’s stock thanks to the black Friday hype.
For me it’s surprising how few brands are available here. Obviously the Spanish brands are ruling the market such as Zara, Mango, Springfield, Pull&Bear, Bershka, Desiguál and such. There are barely any foreign brands around. If you look for something more fancy like Armani, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, or whatever, your only option in Malaga is the El Corte Inglés shopping center or maybe some stores with a few items in the Muelle Uno.. There are two shopping/outlet centers on the edge of the city, but they have only the same Spanish brands, nothing else special or interesting, which is surprising for a city of 500.000 people. Spanish companies are so good in pretending that they are not Spanish – not like I have any problem with Spanish companies or products – that even many local people have no idea that the Smöy or llaollao frozen yoghurt brands are local.
In Malaga you can see a lot of people on the street in fitness clothes. They look like they are going to run or to do some exercises, but don’t be fooled. Only a few of those people are actually into fitness, most of them just wears sport clothes because it’s cheap and comfortable on this climate.
(WOMAN IN FIT CLOTHES)
Women wear leggings and running shoes all the time, even if they just go to the grocery store. There are 2 and a half Decathlons in the city and pretty much everyone is dressing up from there, unless they go for some fancier brand.
In Malaga there are several supermarket chains, the most wide-spreads are Mercadona, Dia and Supersol, but there are some Lidls around and other stores too. There are two hypermarkets, Carrefour and Eroski that are also easy to access and they have wide variety of products.
Often it’s better to buy veggies, fruits and fish at the local markets. There are two kind of markets in Malaga. The ones run by the city, which are in big buildings open every day morning – except Sunday – and there are temporary, weekly pop-up markets in every district at designated places, mostly in big parking lots. There you can buy dirt cheap clothes and shoes or veggies, but be warned the quality can vary.
At these temporary markets you can encounter illegal sellers too, who doesn’t have a tent with a countertop, they sell stuff from a wheelbarrow or a trolley bag. If you are lucky you can make a good deal with them, but buying stuff from them is like food lottery. Last time for example I bought 2 kilos of Mangos for 1 euro, but when I took it home and cut it, it was black inside. The whole thing went straight to the trash, so I’ve spent my 1 euro on nothing. Another time I bought 2 kilos of bananas for 1 euro, which turned out to be a good deal, if I don’t count my loss on the mangos.
As a rule of thumb when you see fruit and veggie prices in a supermarket, usually you can get the same stuff 30-50% cheaper on a market. If you eat as much fruit as me, you can save a fortune on that. I don’t suggest buying fruit from these markets if you just eat a little fruit, because you will waste a lot of money and produce waste. The minimum quantity you can buy is 1-2 kilos and it’s very likely to rot before you can eat them all. So, if you need a banana, buy one in a supermarket. If you need 2 kilos of banana, buy it at the temporary market.
There is one thing that pisses me off, but it has nothing to do with Malaga. Normally, when you buy a tablet or any electronic device and you don’t like it, you can return it 14 days and depending on the company you can get your money back or you can buy something else for the price. So far so good, nothing annoying in this. Except you buy cellphones!
And how frickin’ stupid is that!?! Check this out: I bought a tablet, I took it home, charged uploaded a PDF on it, started reading on minimum brightness. Within 2 hours the tablet displayed a notification that the battery is low, please charge. Instead of charging I returned it to the store where I bought it and I got my money back immediately, no questions asked. Why did I return it? Because it’s ridiculous to have only 2 hours batter time in 2018 for any handheld device. I went to another store, where I bought another tablet, which turned out to be much better. With a single charge it can last for 10+ hours. Which is perfect for me to read books on the beach.
Yes, I know there are e-book readers too, had them, hate them. I just can’t cope with the small screen of Amazon kindle and the huge latency of the e-ink displays. After having a Kindle for years I decided to have a tablet instead with a 10” screen that displays everything better, faster, oh and it plays videos too. If I turn the brightness to minimum it’s almost like e-paper.
Ok, so the takeaway is: You can buy and return a tablet without any problem, but you can’t buy and return a cellphone! Why is that?
I went to a store, asked one of the clerks:
– Hey… how is the battery life of this phone?
– It has 3200mah battery
– Ok, but what that means? For how long can I read PDFs on it for example?
– I don’t know.
– Ok fine. And how is its brightness on the beach in direct sunlight?
– It should be fine.
– Should? You mean I should buy it and try it?
– And if I don’t like it, can I return it?
– No. If you opened it, you can’t return it.
– Then how should I try it on the beach in direct sunlight?
– Well… you can’t.
Also… the displayed phones are empty or has some promotion data, they get reset every day to the factory/display defaults. That means they are always fast, the operation system never lags because it’s fresh and empty. But when you buy the phone and you have 5000 contacts 20000 messages 200 apps and 300000 photos and videos, that is a completely different story. And they want you to buy something without actual knowledge or experience how that piece of sh*… equipment will work in real life. I know, it’s my pet peeve also a typical first world problem, but still… a bummer.
When you buy something in a store, it comes with at least 2 years of warranty so it’s beneficial to keep the receipt. Also you might want to ask their return policy, because there are stores who give you your money back without any problem, while others let you only buy other products from the store, but there is no money back option.
For example I bought a portable speaker which turned out not loud enough to use it outdoors when I exercise at the outdoor “adult playgrounds” which are all around the city with pull-up bars and such. Next day I returned the speaker, but I didn’t ask for the money back, I just bought a more powerful speaker instead. That was working fine for a year when it stopped charging and became useless. Fortunately I had the receipt, I returned it. They sent it repair center, who couldn’t repair it so they called me to come to the store to get a refund. Since I was otherwise satisfied with the speaker, I decided to buy the same one, which funnily was cheaper than earlier, so from the refund I was able to buy a bucket of ice-cream too on the way home.