Somewhere inside the vast shopping mall — beneath the roller coaster, across from the IMAX theater and down the corridor from the electronic casino — Anca Mariana Petculescu spotted an appealing pair of black leather boots.
She remembered her credit card debt. She recalled the expensive repairs needed on the heating system at her apartment. Then she thought of the extra 500 lei — about $130 — the government had just added to her monthly pension. She bought the boots.
“Shopping is like my therapy,” said Ms. Petculescu, 64, who retired five years ago from her accounting job at a state-owned telephone company. “To feel good, I buy.”