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SHOPPING TIPS


SHOPPING MALLS


Shopping malls are generally very large and are located in the suburbs. A mall often houses many different types of stores : Macy’s, Sears, JC Penny, Nordstorm,… There have bid parking lots, food courts, information kiosks, maps and children’s play area.


SUPERMARKETS


There are many large supermarket across the country such as Wal-mart, Kmart and Target. Wal-mart is the largest retail store chain in the world and carries all sorts of merchandise including pharmaceuticals and grocery items.


OUTLET MALLS


Outlet malls, also known as factory outlets, sell quality brands at a 20% to 40% discount rate. These store sell goods that have minor manufacturing defects or are remainders from previous seasons. Factory outlets sell top brands of all kind at reasonable price. At all other times, the outlet store is the best buy. Outlet malls with many hundreds of top brand name outlet stores like Levi's, Ralph Lauren, Timberland, and Pioneer can be found in most states, and they are often a bargain hunter's wonderland.


DEPARTMENT STORES


Department stores are large establishments that offer a wide selection of merchandise including fashion clothing, house wares, appliances, luggage and jewelry. They normally offer good quality merchandise, well known brands and the latest fashions, but not low quality products at bargain prices. They frequently have seasonal sales with attractive discounts. At such times, you can get high quality or fashion merchandise at bargain prices. In July and August, they have end-of-summer sales. In November, the Thanksgiving Day sale of pre-Christmas merchandise is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. From December 26 through mid-January, they hold big after-Christmas sales. In February, all the winter merchandise goes on sale. In addition, they have many special promotions and clearance sales

The big department stores are typically parts of national chains, so you can find the same stores in many cities. They normally have a downtown store in a major city with several branch stores in the surrounding suburban shopping malls. Here are the names of some well-known national department stores. Lord & Taylor, Hecht's, Strawbridge's, Kaufman's, Filene's, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Burdine's, Lazarus, Rich's, Nordstrom's, Sak's, Dayton-Hudson's, Marshall's and Bergdorf-Goodman.


SALE AND DISCOUNT


The sales that occur on the day after Thanksgiving- also called Black Friday are by far the largest. Many stores announce the items that will go on sale in advance through various advertising methods such as TV, Internet, catalogs…. There will be a long line people who is waiting for the biggest sale in the year. Some store opens at 4-5a.m. If you come to the USA in that season to buy items, please be careful and make the list in advance what you want to buy with the best price.

Discount stores sell some good quality merchandise at affordable prices and some lower quality merchandise at very low prices. If you are not looking for the latest fashions, or the famous brands, or the best quality, you can find some very inexpensive merchandise at a discount store. Some national discount chains with stores across the US are K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target and Caldor.


BARGAINS IN THE US


Many tourists visiting the USA on vacation enjoy shopping for bargains. American whiskey, fashion jeans, children's clothing, plush bath towels and fine bed linens are all popular items for shoppers from other countries. You can find many bargains in the US if you know where to shop and how to take advantage of the competitive sales.


PAYMENT


You can pay by cash, check, debit card and credit card, although not all credit cards or debit cards may be accepted everywhere. You had better prepared many cash when you go shopping. If paying by check, you will most likely to present your u.s driver’s license or other form of photo identification.


TAXES AND STATE TAXES 


The US government does not levy a value-added tax on merchandise as governments do in many other countries, but most states and some cities collect a sales tax on all purchases. State taxes usually average 4% to 8%. Some cities add an additional 2%. Remember when you purchase something for $1.00, you may have to pay $1.08. Some states exempt all clothing and food purchases from sales tax. If you buy something big like a car or motorcycle, be sure to specify that it will be exported and you can usually obtain an exemption from the sales tax.


SIZES AND ELECTRONICS


Clothing sizes in the USA are based on measurements in inches. If you purchase any electric appliances or electronics in the US, remember that all electrical items are normally 110v and 60Hz. Be sure that the item is adaptable to your local electric supply. US televisions, video recorders and cell phones use different standards than most other countries and are incompatible.


PAYMENT


You can pay by cash, check, debit card and credit card, although not all credit cards or debit cards may be accepted everywhere. You had better prepared many cash when you go shopping. If paying by check, you will most likely to present your u.s driver’s license or other form of photo identification.