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Shopping Experience in the States

2006-07-23 17:16

  I love shopping, even if it is just window-shopping1. Shopping in the States is always a pleasant experience. There are different types of shops that operate to cater to2 your different needs. To buy groceries, you can go to the convenience store, the supermarket or the mass merchandiser3 (such as Wal-Mart)。 To buy some clothes and big-ticket4 items, you can go to the mall or factory outlets5. I go to two places most often, the supermarket and the mall.

  In almost every city or large town, you can find several big-chain supermarkets. They have more than a dozen checkouts6 and are one-stop shops7 since you can buy almost everything there: food, cosmetics8, clothes, medicine, etc. You name it. With the development of technology, some of these supermarkets have installed the automatic checkout lanes for customers. I was so thrilled9 the first time I used the automatic checkout lane. Most packaged goods have barcodes10 and you just scan them on the scanning machine when you check out. Some items, such as produce11 (vegetables and fruit), do not have barcodes on them. You need to input their label numbers, which can be found on the list glued to the scanning machine. These automatic checkout lanes help the stores reduce their labor cost and increase their efficiency.

  Every grocery store has promotions12 on different kinds of products every week. Usually you can find a store weekly newspaper with featured promotions for that particular week. I am a bargain13 hunter14, forward-buying a lot of daily products if I feel I need them in the future. Once, I saw a featured promotion on Panteen 2-in-1 shampoo plus conditioner15. Although I did not need it at that time, I felt it was a great deal. So I decided to buy 2 bottles. However, I could not find any such Panteen on the shelf. I went to a sales clerk and asked if he could find any for me. He told me that the store was out of the stock and it would not have any in until the next week. The unfortunate thing was that by then the promotion would be over. However, the clerk told me that I could go to the customer service counter and I would be given a rain check16, which would guarantee the promotion price for me on that particular item. In the following week, with the rain-check, I bought the products at the last week's promotion price.

  Another time, I bought two bags of salad at a grocery store. When I scanned them, the screen showed a different price from what the store advertised. Out of curiosity, I went to the customer service counter and asked why. The lady who helped me went to the shelf to double-check17 the price. When she came back, she apologized to me, saying that the store did not scan the price properly. According to the internal policy of the store, if the customer found out a scanning problem, he would get the product for free as an award for him or a penalty to the store. When I left the store with the two bags of free salad, I marveled at18 the honesty of the store clerk. If she had not told me, I would never have had any chance to know that the store had this internal policy.

  A shopping mall in the States is composed of many individual specialty shops and nationwide chain stores, such as Sears and JC Penny. What impresses me most when shopping at the mall is its return policy . No matter what you buy, shoes, pants or big-ticket items such as TV and VCR, if you find some problems with them or simply do not like them any longer, you can return them within 30 days. You won't be challenged at the customer service counter as long as you have your receipt. Of course there are some people who might take advantage of this return policy, especially when they need something for a momentary use. That's why you can always find a long line of people waiting to return their goods right after Christmas.

  The cliché 19 that " the customer is God" rings20 true to me when I shop in the States. Sometimes I believe that at a certain corner of the world there is a god seeing to the benefits of the customer.








  1.window-shopping n.浏览商店橱窗

  2.cater vi.(与to连用)满足需要或欲望

  3.mass merchandiser n.仓储市场

  4.big-ticket adj.[美俚]高价的,昂贵的

  5.outlet n.(商品的)销路,市场?factory~厂家直销处

  6.checkout n.付款台

  7.one-stop shop一站式商场,综合商场

  8.cosmetic n.化妆品

  9.thrill vt.使非常兴奋

  10.barcode n.条形码

  11.produce n.[总称]农产品

  12.promotion n.推销,促销

  13.bargain n.特价商品

  14.hunter n.追逐者

  15.conditioner n.调节剂,护发剂

  16.rain-check n.(商店在廉价商品售罄时对顾客的)下次优先供货保证; 货到优先供应凭券

  17.double-check vt.复核

  18.marvel vi.(与at连用)感到惊讶、好奇

  19.cliché n.用滥的套语

  20.ring vi.听上去,听起来

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