Shopping is an everyday activity that we do, when we need to buy something to eat or drink, something to decorate and to furnish our house or flat, or we can buy things just for our personal pleasure.
Nowadays shopping has become a sophisticated art or science.
When we go shopping, we can go either to a big department store or to the shop which specializes in some extra goods, e.g.
the greengrocer specializes in fruit and vegetables (ranging from products that can be grown in our climate to exotic tropical fruit. In summer we have wider choice of fruit than in winter.),
the butcher in meat (we can buy pork, beef, lamb, poultry, venison or in some shops there´s a selection even from kangaroo or ostrich meat),
the baker in bread and cakes (we can choose from selection of sweet pastries - doughnuts, gingerbread, filled buns and so on or we can buy fresh bread, crispy rolls, buns and baguettes),
the sweet shop in sweets and ice-cream,
the fishmonger in fish,
the florist in flowers,
the newsagent in newspapers and magazines,
the dairy in milk products and eggs,
the stationary in paper and office supplies,
the delicatessen in some exclusive and more expensive food,
the pharmacy in medicines (we can also buy pills, drops, ointments, vitamin candy, bandages, plasters and herbal cosmetics there),
the bookstore in books and maps,
the lingerie in underwear,
the men´s wear and women´s wear in clothes,
The most common shop in Britain is the grocer´s. It sells food, such as tea, coffee, sugar, eggs, jam, biscuits, tinned food and kitchen needs such as detergents and polish. Another common shop is the chemist´s. You can buy medicines and ointments there, but also toothpaste, soap, cosmetics, etc. In America the chemist´s shop is called a drugstore and you have wider selection of goods than in British chemist´s there (soap, shampoo, shaving accessories, beauty aids, medicines, and also sandwiches and soft drinks)
Shops usually operate on the “serve-yourself“ system – you go in, pick up a basket or a trolley, walk around the shop and choose what you want. At the exit there is a cashier who is smiling at you (unfortunately it isn´t always true) and you pay for all your goods together either in cash or with your credit card. Credit cards are widely accepted now. In bigger cities, especially in Prague, the shops accept foreign credit cards such as Visa Cards, American Express, etc.
If we want to pay in cash, we may use banknotes or coins. In our state 1 crown has 100 hellers, in Great Britain 1 pound has 100 pennies and in the USA 1 dollar has 100 cents. Money you can earn, inherit, win, borrow, steal or win in a bet.
Someone who owns a small shop is called a shop keeper and someone who is employed to serve customers in shop or store is a shop assistant.
In case you want to exchange something, remember to keep the receipt. If you have a student identity card, some shops may give you a discount. If something is too heavy to carry home yourself, the shop can deliver it. We can choose where we want to do our shopping. Nowadays there are various types of shops, such as corner shops, market halls, supermarkets, hypermarkets and big department stores.
87% of British people live less than a mile from their local corner shop. A corner shop is a small shop on a street corner or near a street corner. Many of these shops are run by Indian or Pakistan families. Most corner shops sell food and newspapers. They are open until late in the evening, as well as on Sundays.
Street markets are cheap. Most markets sell fruit and vegetables, clothes, things for the house and records. In London, there are about 40 or 50 market halls. Some towns are called market towns: a market is held there, usually once a week. People come from the surrounding villages to do their shopping. In Konice there is an annual Christmas trade in December. Then, around 6 o´clock p.m. you can see great fireworks. Supermarkets, hypermarkets and department stores
In a supermarket you can buy food and drinks, and goods from chemist and ironmonger (Billa, Kaufland, ...). A hypermarket is very large and sells almost everything (Tesco, Globus, Makro, ...). Such competition between supermarkets and hypermarkets could improve shopping possibilities and keep customers more satisfied. A typical feature of modern big cities are department stores which in London are located near the West End (e.g. Mark´s & Spencer´s, Selfridges, Harrods, etc.). The most famous British department store, Harrods, started as a small grocery shop in 1849. The present store has more than 300 departments and a staff of over 4000 people. The display in the food hall is amazing. For example, there is a choice of over 500 types of cheese.
Harrods is owned by the Egyptian, Mohammed Al Fayed.
In the USA the strongest companies are Woolworth, C&A, Quele, and McDonald´s.
Department stores are usually huge buildings, equipped with speedy lifts and escalators, where you can buy almost everything from food to furniture. They offer a wide selection of goods in different price ranges and have thousands of articles in stock. There are various departments, for example Laundry, Electronics, Beds and bedding, Boyswear, Girlswear, Leather goods, etc. The High Street
In the centre of most towns and villages there is a main street with lots of different shops. This street is usually called the High Street. The high streets in Britain are beginning to look more and more the same. This is because they are full of branches of big chain stores. One of the best-known chain stores is Mark´s & Spencer´s, which sells clothes and food. The company has over 700 stores world-wide and has a reputation for good quality. If you buy something that you decide you don´t like, you can take it back and get your money back.
In most high streets there is a charity shop – a special type of second-hand shop. All the profits from sale go to the charity. People go there and give there things, which they don´t want anymore. So you can buy cheap things and also help others. Oxfam is the best-known chain of charity shops and it sells second-hand clothes and books.
An average Czech family goes shopping every day to a local shop or supermarket for neccessary food. Once a week they usually do one bigger purchase for the weekend and from time to time they have to buy clothes, shoes, household utensils and equipment. I go shopping only exceptionally, mainly on Saturdays. I usually buy bread, milk, yoghurts, newspaper and sometimes fruit. My mother goes shopping every day. She buys bread, yoghurts, fruit, vegetables and meat. When we go to our cottage for the weekend, we do our purchase in a supermarket or a hypermarket. I don´t like shopping at these shopping centres because there are lots of people, who are inconsiderate to each other and it´s a noisy place. The real shopping rush comes before Christmas, when everyone wants to buy nice presents for friends and relatives. My favourite shop is a bookstore. I go round the shop, have a look at new book titles, and then I choose and buy that, what seems to be interesting. I´m usually satisfied with my choice. Sometimes I buy small presents for my friends, but sometimes it´s hard to choose a unique and nice present. With shopping are connected money. It´s my problem. Although I save money, later I spend it all in the bookstore or somewhere else. If you want to buy something, you must have money, nothing is free of charge.