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Shopping and Services
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Different shopping facilities
The individual shops sell goods that are also available in larger stores, but often pride themselves on the quality of their goods and service. Typical examples of such shops are clothes shops, cake shops, butcher´s, baker´s, gift shops, shoe shops, newsagent´s, antique shops, chemist´s shops, pet shops, greengrocer´s, china and glassware shop, delicatessens, jeweller´s, bookshops, florist´s, hairdresser´s, furniture and carpet shops, and shops that provide services such as opticians and estate agents. Most towns also have a gas and an electricity showroom, where bills can be paid.
The largest type of shop is called a hypermarket or superstore, which is a supermarket on a large scale and usually situated outside a town, where there is space for a large car park. Many supermarkets have cash dispensers, petrol pumps and a cafe. Supermarket shopping obviously does save a lot of time. It is very convenient to have so many products under one roof and not to have to buy bread at the baker´s, vegetables at the greengrocer´s, a newspaper at the newsagent´s, etc. Because supermarkets are so big, they are also able to lower the prices quite a lot, making them cheaper than smaller shops. In fact many supermarkets have their own brands of the most common food products which are cheaper still. Then there is the handiness of not having to carry heavy bags of shopping along crowded streets but simply being able to unload them from the trolley into the boot of the car a few metres away. On top of all this, some supermarkets have started to offer free gifts to customers who have spent lots of money in their shops! No wonder supermarkets are so popular.
Larger towns now usually have a shopping centre, which is an area for pedestrians only, with shops grouped together, sometimes enclosed in a large building.
But with so many people using the supermarkets, the smaller shops are finding it very difficult to compete. These shops cannot afford to stock such a wide range of products as the supermarkets and neither can they afford to sell things as cheaply as the supermarkets. However, they do have advantaged of their own. For example, old people living alone without cars do not need to buy so much food as young families, and it is not very easy for them to travel to a supermarket, it is much easier for them to use smaller local shops. Children who want sweets, or anyone who wants a magazine or has forgotten to buy something on their shopping trip to the supermarket, find their local shops very useful, especially corner shops which are often open much longer hours than ordinary shops. Unfortunatelly this isn´t enough and lots of them have to close down.
Goods can be bought not only in shops and stores but also in outdoor markets. Almost all towns and cities have a market once or twice a week. A market today will have a number of stalls, mostly selling cheap or second-hand goods, but also flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as meat and fish. The stall-holders often come in to towns from the country to sell their goods, or travel round regularly from town to town. The stalls usually start selling early, and may finish by mid-afternoon.
The typical American kind of shop is the drugstore, which usually includes a chemist´s but also sells food, alcoholic drink, stationery and even clothes, as well as drinks and snacks.
Kinds of shopping
window-shopping: walking up and down in front of shop windows, looking at the range of goods on display and admiring the way the shop windows are dressed
shopping around: we decide we definitely need some new outfit, we shop around to compare prices at different shops
shopping: shoppers may end up buying some goods that they do not need at all
Buying on hire purchase
Buying on hire purchase means you pay a sum of money at first and month by month you pay by installments until you don´t reach the full price of the thing you bought. It is a good idea to buy a TV or a car on hire purchase because usually you can´t afford to buy it right in place.
An impulsive shopper is a person who selects clothes based on his emotions of that moment, not by reason. If they see something and just love it, they don´t hesitate to buy it. They never buy clothes that are similar to what is in their wardrobe already. Their clothes style is very inconsistant and their style changes.
A shopaholic is a person who probably goes shopping almost every week and spends a lot of money on clothes and things they don´t usually need.
A demanding customer is a person who doesn´t often stray from their usual wardrobe. Most of what they buy is similar to clothing they already have hanging in their closet. They are very careful to choose new clothes and want everything to be perfect.
An ideal shop assistant
There are two famous sayings: “The customer is always right“ and “The customer is king“. Are these observed in all shops? Certainly they are to some extent. Althought we all like to look around freely in a shop, touch things and try clothes and shoes on, some shop assistants might find this inappropriate and treat us inappropriately. However, most stores give a high priority to customers´ comfort and convenience. The shops want to make it easy and fun for customers to spend their money and time in their stores. The stores are fully aware of the fact that people look for places with a wide choice of goods, polite shop assistants, a pleasant ambience and several different maked or brands of each item with tempting prices and special offers, sales and discounts. Many shops have comfortable chairs and fitting rooms (try-on cabins), and sometimes even a café for your companions – mostly impatient husbands ans boyfriends.
Shops in London
The West End of London is famous for shops and entertainment. There are such well known streets as Piccadilly, Bond Street, Regent´s Street, Carnaby Street and Oxford street there.
The East End is and always has been even one of the most run-down areas of London. It is home to a number of popular markets, the most famous of which is Pettycoat Lane. There used to live many immigrants and working people.
London has some of the biggest and oldest street markets in the world and Portobello. Road in Notting Hill is no exception. It has over 1500 stalls which sell all kinds of antiques and collectibles ranging in price frome one or two pounds to several thousand pounds. From Monday to Friday the market sells fruit and vegetables. The antique store holders open on Saturdays. As well as antiques you can find clothes, household items, rare records and furniture here.
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