Classy may be too strong a word, but Tienda Inglesa has been for me the best of the handful of “large” (remember, Uruguay is small) supermarket chains in Uruguay.
Back in 2012, Tienda Inglesa sold LED lights imported by Renovables S.A., a wide-ranging and impressive Uruguayan renewable energy business. The owner, Rolando Ringeltaube, told me how carefully their company monitored quality control in China. And, he told me, LED bulbs should have a life of 20 years. Which, considering the history of incandescent light bulbs, seems an unlikely prediction. Still, they have to last longer than these mercury-laden compact fluorescents that seem to last about a year, no?
So imagine my surprise when an LED light bulb I bought there died after three weeks. They have a “no refund” policy, but thought about it a couple days, and gave me another. Which also died after three weeks. Once again, they reminded me of the “no refund” policy, but gave me a credit after a few minutes. Meanwhile, I walked to the lighting section to examine the packaging. Sure enough, they are now imported from China by Tienda Inglesa. No middle man. No quality control.
LED bulbs are great (10X more efficient than incandescent), but the Tienda Inglesa LED bulbs are now officially trash. Consider yourself warned.
Walmart wisdom™ comes to Uruguay.
Update 5 January 2017: the latest Tienda Inglesa garbage LED light, acquired 3 December 2016, has started overheating and malfunctioning today, after 33 days.