One of the best ways to learn something about a country is to go shopping.
Thailand is no exception. As the mannequin above makes amply clear, Thais value a smile. (Many of them also admire the narrow-nostriled Western nose, and if the nostrils on this cheerful girl were any narrower, she'd be in the mannequin hospital.)
Thailand is a culture in rapid transition. Virtually all the historic stages of capitalism are in simultaneous use. Until very recently, most Thais lived in villages, where exchange was often through barter and where a "shop" was likely to be just a tiny open-air operation with a few goods to paw through. Like those above, which are part of Bobae market, set up on a bridge in Bangkok, or, below, in somewhat grander form, the floating market at Damnoen Saduak.
With the explosive growth of the Kingdom's cities (especially Bangkok) in the past 30-40 year, more polished forms of mercantilism have arisen. These have been made possible in large part by great improvements in air conditioning, without which shopping malls like this one (in Surat Thani) would be insufferable.
But Thailand is still profoundly Buddhist. Displayed in the window below are photographically accurate effigies of especially revered monks who have departed this plane of existence. About 2/5ths or half of life size, they're reminders of lives spent on the Eightfold Path out of suffering and rebirth.