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The mystery of the Dunnes Stores bags spotted all over Russia

What gives?

LAST WEEK THIS image appeared on Instagram, with the caption:

The fabled Moscow ‘Dinnes Stories’ shopping bag in action, at last.

The fabled Moscow 'Dinnes Stories' shopping bag in action, at last. #advancedstyle #bettervalue #guaranteedirish drquirkeys drquirkeys

If you look closely you will see that the bag does indeed say “Dinnes Stories”, yet bears a striking resemblance to a Dunnes Stores plastic bag, available in Irish stores several years ago.

This is not a one-off incident. In fact, there is a Facebook page dedicated to the “strange inhabitance of Dunnes Stores Bags in Moscow”.

Some are battered, like this one spotted in the “swimming  pool changing room of the Russian writers union building”:

Novelist Gennady in the swimming pool changing ... Facebook Facebook

Some are brand new, like this on in Sheremetevo Airport:

Timeline Photos - Dunnes Stores Bags in Moscow | Facebook Facebook Facebook

And some are inexplicably misspelled, like this one “at an expat party near Chisti Prudi”:

Mobile Uploads - Dunnes Stores Bags in Moscow | Facebook Facebook Facebook

Back in 2001 a post on highlighted ‘The Mystery of the Dunnes Stores Bags’, with the writer explaining that they had seen them ”all across Russia. The one in my possession came from a Russian tour guide, who said that her company had handed them out to its staff”.

Someone in the comments section of that post said that “they’ve been widely sold at the local markets” from the early 2000s until at least 2012, possibly because Dunnes had a surplus and needed to get rid of them.

There also appears to be evidence that the bags were for sale in airports:

Meanwhile as recently as three days ago a Dunnes Stores bag was spotted in Ukraine:

But why the forgeries? And why the grá for the bags.

We shall not rest until the mystery is solved.

Watch this space.

1994 Wexford car spotted in Moscow… today> 

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