Native speakers of English, I need your help?

I am not a native speaker of English and I need to translate a historic text. I am really struggling with this paragraph, maybe someone has ideas how to make the text flow better and more natural? During the Soviet period, there were constant shortages of staple goods. Such conditions encouraged artfulness and... show more I am not a native speaker of English and I need to translate a historic text. I am really struggling with this paragraph, maybe someone has ideas how to make the text flow better and more natural?

During the Soviet period, there were constant shortages of staple goods.
Such conditions encouraged artfulness and creative skills in people as they tried to get hold of some household items or produced these items themselves.
People often purchased goods not because they needed them but because these goods were available for purchase as it was often the case that some commodities were not available when the customer actually needed them.
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