Shopping and shopping in the USA

Shopping and shopping in the USA

Shopping and shopping in the USA

No matter if it’s the big shopping tour or the budgetary shopping. In the land of opportunity, there is an attractive and exceptional shopping offer.

Store opening times

The US does not know any shop closure law, so there are no established ones Store opening times. The general shopping hours are Monday to Friday in the time of 9 to 18 clock, often until 21 clock. Shopping centers usually close at 9pm. In the cities, the big department stores are also open on Saturdays and Sundays. Supermarkets are usually open until 10 pm or are there for customers around the clock (open 24 hours).

Shopping centers

The big ones Shopping centers (shopping centers) can be found on the arterial roads. In downtown areas, such as in modernized old factories, you can meet the “Shopping Malls”, “Plazas” and passages that unite numerous specialty shops, coffee shops and restaurants under one roof. The Shopping malls are more than just shopping centers. They are not comparable with the department stores in this country with their crush, their hectic pace and bad air. It corresponds to American way of life that spending money should be fun. So the shopping takes place in a bright, spacious atmosphere, air-conditioned and weather-independent, with the parking lot right outside the door. The purchase can take hours for the motto “Shop, till you drop”. Many of the American megamalls have a sales area of ​​more than 300,000 square meters. Among the largest megamalls in the US are the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania (400 shops and restaurants, website), the Mall of America in Bloomington near Minneapolis (more than 520 shops and 50 restaurants, website) and the Aventura Mall in Aventura Miami (over 300 shops, website). As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported, by 2020 about half of the shopping centers in America could close. Among other things, because customers are increasingly shopping on the Internet.

Some of America’s largest chain stores are Sears and K-Mart and JC Penney. The more exclusive shopping centers have Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Neiman-Marcus, Ann Taylor, Burberry’s, Bennetton, Cartier, Laura Ashley, Brooks Brothers, Kohl’s, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, Bally, Louis Vuitton and many more. The famous names of Fifth Avenue in New York can also be found in the top-class shopping malls nationwide, such as Gucci, Armani, Tiffany and Versace. The biggest Shopping malls the United States lists the Wikipedia entry of the largest shopping malls in the US.

gas stations

On the endless country roads are the gas stations at the same time oases of shopping and basic services.

Factory Outlets

Meanwhile, in the suburbs, the so-called. Factory Outlets, Shopping centers that sell exclusively original goods (including French and Italian luxury brands and manufacturers such as Lee, Nike, Reebok, Wrangler and Calvin Klein), bypassing the intermediary trade. This factory direct sale offers prices that are often considerably lower than those of the retail trade. Smart Shopping is American folk sport, because you have to get as many clothes as possible for your money (value for money). The outlets are the fastest growing segment of US retail. The largest Outlet Center is in Bloomington, Minnesota: the Mall of America. The “Mall of America” It opened its doors in August 1992. It is 1.5 miles from the airport, touched by four highways, and is centrally located between the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, to its catchment area. Every year more than 43 million people visit the center, of which nearly three million are from abroad. In addition to more than 520 shops and four major department stores (Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sears) there is an extensive range of games, restaurants, shows and disco. On average, every visitor spends over $ 100 here. The largest chains of outlet centers are Simon Premium Outlets with more than 60 shopping centers and Tanger Outlets with more than 40 shopping centers. The Mills is also represented in many US states.

This is what the essential outlet product awards mean:

  • Compare at: A product specially produced for the factory outlet that does not have to be of high quality.
  • Over Run: Surplus goods given to the Outlets for sale; real bargains are possible here.
  • Past Season: From the department stores seasonally outsourced goods, no shelf wardens.
  • Irregular: Goods with small errors.
  • Damaged: Goods that are damaged or have obvious defects.
  • Sample…: Test products for a new range, new materials or exhibits; Clothing should be checked for color fastness.
  • Discontinued: Discontinued models, often items of a set; not to buy more.
  • seconds: Second choice, so product with small errors


Also the classic ones discounter, which paved the way for smart shopping with prices below the usual retail recommendations have not yet died out. These include thematically sorted megastores, department stores with a full range or individual product groups and sales houses. The corresponding addresses can be found in the yellow pages (Yellow pages) under the headings “Off-Price Stores”, Department Stores or Clearance / Outlet Centers.


Park is in the car driver country when shopping no problem. Most are huge parking areas available for free; a paid parking is always available in the central city center location.

Food courts

In the shopping centers is often a so-called. Food Court, a collection of self-service restaurants of various kinds in a central area (a floor or the courtyard) with independent seating independent of the individual restaurant. Because of the variety of the kitchens encountered a pleasant change for the tourists from the fast-food monotony.


The supermarkets offer a rich selection food and are therefore particularly interesting for self-catering. The selection is i.d.R. Huge, there is nothing you can not get. The prices are cheaper than in smaller grocery stores. Special offers are usually advertised in the Sunday newspapers and are often coupled with coupons for cutting, which entitle to discounts on delivery at the checkout. Also popular are membership cards in supermarket chains, which automatically entitle to price reductions depending on the value of the sales. Meat is cut differently than in this country and what looks like a steak, is not always suitable for roast. Steaks are cut differently in the US and very often have fat and bone; For details see the keyword steaks. There is a large selection of frozen food and the variety of ready-made can offers is lower. Also sausage is packaged in the refrigerated shelf. Butter and margarine are mostly salted, unsalted are for baking. Breakfast quark will be looked for in vain. For the bacon (streaky bacon) fried enriching the morning meal serves. Ham is usually only cooked and not smoked. The cut cheese selection is poor and is often limited to dry cheddar cheese and expensive imports. Black bread and crispy rolls are barely too
It is recommended to search for brown bread, wholemeal bread or pumpernickel. Large chains are e.g. Wal Mart (the largest supermarket chain in the world, the so-called Super Center have a comprehensive range of goods), Target, Kmart, Kroger, SuperValu, Aldi, Whole Foods Market (natural and sustainable food), Publix (very cheap, especially food supply; Strong presence of Florida and Georgia, Winn-Dixie (full range of discounted goods, especially in the southeast) and King Soopers (low-cost food offering, Colorado focus).


In this country, the wedding of small slips for discounts long gone. But in the US, and especially in the tourist areas, coupons are still a magic word. There are coupons with discounts as good as everything. Breakfast and other meals, hotel and motel accommodation, car rental, sightseeing fees and other things will be discounted on presentation of the paper.
Even as a tourist you should clear all doubts aside and diligently cut out and present coupons from newspapers and magazines as well as extra coupon booklets, which are regularly obtained at busy highway service areas. The thus achievable price reductions can noticeably relieve the vacation rate. And for the Americans, coupons are simply part of their lives, because who does not enjoy shopping more cheaply?.

Consignment Shopping

This term conceals second hand shops, in which, however, not used clothes par excellence, but high quality used clothing, especially designer goods or clothing of certain styles, are offered for sale. Such shops can be found especially in the big cities, because the price level is not low.

Prices / Sales Tax

The prices in the shops are always net prices, i.e. they increase around the sales tax (Sales Tax) which is not separately signposted and only appears on the receipt. It is approximately 4 – 7.5% depending on the state. Five states have no sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. In addition to the federally-defined sales tax, there may be locally determined additional surcharges of the cities or counties. The Wikipedia entry “Sales Tax in the US” provides a detailed overview of the sales tax levied per federal state.. special offers be with the Hiwise “Sale“Marked. On occasions for discounts, the Americans are always resourceful: holidays, holidays, seasons – a reason is always there. Usually the discounts are between 5 and 25% of the usual retail price.

Tax free purchases

As the “only” US state offers Louisiana In about 1,000 shops, the possibility of tax-free shopping for foreign visitors (tax free shopping, so the official advertisement). The state and in some cases also the municipal VAT tax / sales tax is provided by the Louisiana Tax-Free Shopping (LTFS) for all items purchased from one of the affiliated retailers or factory shops. The items must be physical (except accommodation, groceries and car rental) that the visitor takes with them on their departure from Louisiane. The officious Louisiana Travel Guide describes the procedure as follows: “For tax-free shopping, show your passport and ask for proof of tax refund (Tax Refund Voucher). The purchase price will be charged to you including VAT and you will receive a receipt. Keep vouchers and receipts and present them on your departure at the LFTS Refund Center at New Orleans International Airport. If you are not leaving by plane, you can request a refund by mail. In this case, a processing fee will be deducted from the amount to be refunded. “

Further information and a list of affiliated shops can be found on the website, which also provides an overview of the Tax Refund Center. Meanwhile, too Texas discovered the possibility of tax refund as an incentive for international travelers. If you spend more than $ 60 shopping, you can also have the VAT / Sales Tax refunded here. The list of participating shops and an explanation of how the settlement is handled by the Texas customs broker Tax Free Shopping Ltd. takes place – also in German – on the website Travelers must present their passport and receipts at the Taxfree counter at Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, Highland Park Village, or Dallas North Park Center, and will then be refunded the tax, minus any processing fee, by check, if applicable.


The possibilities to buy more cheaply in the USA than here are numerous and include a wide assortment of goods that can not be conclusively named. In the first place, of course textiles to name and especially here Jeans, With regard to the American sizes you will find details below measurements & Weights. Designer fashion is not cheap in principle. Moreover, there is no obligation to praise prices, so that one has to ask for the price almost always in the store, especially for high-quality goods.

Electrical appliances are also among the “bargains”. However, the different mains voltages and device standards must be observed here, cf. also under power. The basically cheap notebooks are generally provided with a switchable or automatically adjusting to the respective voltage supply power supply; if necessary, an adapter can be retrofitted. Often, however, the keyboard is different; especially umlauts are missing. This can be fixed by a usually free driver, which you should be able to download from the homepage of the manufacturer. US Camcorder, TV- and video equipment record in the NTSC television standard, which can not be shown on normal German TV sets; For this you need a special multi-standard TV, which is fully NTSC-compatible (NTSC playback). Also, the videos recorded with a US camcorder can not be cut with a local VCR. The acquired devices can only be used in Germany if their receiver is explicitly specified with “Pal B / G” and a stereo device with “bilingual sound” CD player, cassette decks and MD recorder are basically problem-free in Germany if the mains voltage is correct. Radios are more problematic even with harmonious line voltage, because the channel spacing for the medium wave is differentiated and VHF also differs in details from Europe. An FM hi-fi tuner will sound in stereo, but not optimal. Film and photo cameras are basically unproblematic. For digital cameras, however, the mains voltage must be correct and the TV output must be convertible to the PAL video system.
warranty cards should always use the words “world wide” or “pan-european” to guarantee the worldwide manufacturer’s warranty. Otherwise you have to send the purchased goods to the USA in case of warranty, the air freight is very expensive. If the device has to be returned to the USA for repair, you should contact the customs department for re-export for repair purposes, as otherwise re-importation may result in a second customs duty and import VAT.

V > can be set. For Blu-ray movies, there are (still) no code-free players, so regionally protected DVDs can not be played on players from other regions. On the other hand, only a few Blu-ray Discs so far have a regional code. Which films are affected exactly, can be found on the page Blu-Ray Region Code Info. “Region A” lists all Blu-ray movies available in the US. The green deposited films have no region code, the red deposited are not playable on players of other regions. US phones should be quadband phones for use in Europe to work with the German frequencies GSM-1800 (E-net) and GSM-900 (D-net). An American triband mobile usually dominates the frequencies 800, 900 and 1900 MHz and is therefore not suitable for the e-network. An American dual band mobile phone with the frequencies 800 and 1900 MHz will not work in Germany.

Non-prescription medications are usually cheap to get in the drugstores of the supermarkets, cf. under health. In the supermarkets are too cosmetics often cheaper than buying at home, e.g. Brands like Eucerin, ROC, Neutrogena and Nivea. Because of the peculiarities of alcohol, reference is made to the statements under this heading.

No buys

In no case should one buy native or imported animal and plant species as souvenirs, which contribute to the overexploitation of the nature (can). This goes without saying, but it also leads to confiscation by customs and possibly fines or imprisonment.

In particular, renounce

  • A wild beast
  • ivory
  • live / stuffed animals
  • Tortoiseshell products
  • Crocodile or snake skin products
  • Corals or shells
  • skewered butterflies
  • Cacti and orchids

Barrier of domestic customs

However, before the buying frenzy becomes overpowering, be warned of the pitfalls of the local customs, which can quickly make an expensive purchase from a bargain.

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Christina Cherry
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