good value for money

Hi, guys! How are you? What about shopping, finding good value for money, and striving for fluency in English? Let’s have a look at the words and best expressions to talk about shopping, malls, and fresh produce!

1. Shop until you drop! Striving for Fluency 9

Okay, raise your hand if you love shopping. What? No men? In the American stereotype, women love spending a day shopping at the mall, while men sit glumly on a bench, holding the bags. (And we thank them for that. ) A large mall is a shopper’s dream come true; there are specialty stores for everything! There are stores for kids and stores for
kitchens; stores for makeup and stores for men; bookstores and shoe stores and toy stores and drugstores . . . well, you get the idea.

Malls have at least one anchor department store. This is the place to head if you prefer shopping for everything in one store. These large stores carry everything from clothing to housewares. Want to smell like a million bucks? Stop at the perfume counter for a free sample of your favorite fragrance. And that’s the main advantage of a department store or big indoor shopping mall—you can shop for everything in one place. There are no worries about bad weather. Even your car can stay dry and warm in the mall parking garage! (Raise your hand if you’ve ever lost your car in a parking garage. “But I was so sure I parked right . . . here . . . ”)

Part 2

Although the large, enclosed malls bring people from all over, the suburbs also have smaller, local malls. These strip malls usually have convenience shops where people can take care of their errands. The stores are lined up next to each other, and the front doors open onto an outdoor walkway.

Strip malls usually have a small takeout restaurant, a dry cleaner, a bank branch, and a drugstore. Parking is right in front of the stores, so people can hop out quickly and run in for what they need. In bad weather, this may not be fun, but it’s much quicker than parking in a large garage at the mall. And it’s easier to find your car!

Dialogue: Good value for money!

LIA: Hey, look outside. Very bad weather . . . very good mall day!

ALAN: No! Not the mall! Anything but the mall!

LIA: Calm down. You won’t have to go into every store with me. I just want to do some window-shopping. Besides, the sporting goods store is having a great sale on sports equipment. You might find the tennis racket you’ve been looking for. Look at this ad from the paper: “Super sale! Many rackets to choose from!”

ALAN: Yeah. I really do need a new tennis racket. Okay, if I go, how much time will we have to spend there? I’d like to watch the game this afternoon.

LIA: We don’t have to stay very long. There are a few things I’d like to look at in the department store, so that will take less time than walking around the whole mall.

ALAN: Going to the sporting goods store is a great idea. Actually, if there aren’t too many stores you plan to visit, then I don’t mind going with you. In fact, maybe we could stop at a big box store on the way home. I could use some garden supplies.

LIA: Sure! If we make a day of it, we could have lunch at the food court.

ALAN: I’d rather stop at the strip mall in town and get fried chicken takeout.

LIA: If you come with me to the mall, we can have anything you want for lunch!

Shopping malls have a customer service area where you can get information about the stores in the mall. They have strollers to rent and, at holiday times, offer gift wrapping of your purchases. You can also buy gift cards at customer service.

good value for money

Useful Vocabulary: Good value for money!

ad: short for advertisement; information about an item for sale

anchor store: a large store at a mall to attract many shoppers

big box store: huge warehouse-type store (There are home supplies stores and electronics
stores, among others.)

branch: an office of a large company or bank

carry: keep in stock; offer for sale

department store: a very large store with many departments or sections that offer different types of

drugstore: pharmacy (You can get prescriptions for medicine filled here, but you can also buy many other general and personal items.)

enclosed mall: a center with many stores and inside walkways

food court: the area of a shopping mall where the fast food shops are located

gift card: a prepaid card that works like a credit card (When a person uses the gift card for a purchase, the amount is deducted from the balance.)

Useful Vocabulary: Good value for money!

glum: unhappy

housewares: items for the home

main: most important

mind: object to

run in: go into a store quickly for just an item or two

sample: a small size of an item to try. Free! No cost!

souvenir: a special purchase of something to remember your visit

specialty store: a store that carries just one kind of merchandise

stereotype: a belief that may not be accurate about an entire group of

strip mall: a line of shops along a street

stroller: small carriage or cart you can use so small children don’t have to walk window-shopping: looking at things in stores, but not buying anything (yeah, right, haha).

In Washington, D.C., the Mall is the large, grassy open area from the U.S. Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial. Besides some of the most important museums in the country, there’s shopping here, too, with vendors selling souvenirs.

2. Food, Glorious Food!

Recreational shopping at the mall is one thing, but basic grocery shopping is a fact of life. There are many choices
when it comes to buying food. The largest and most convenient place to shop for food is the supermarket. At these
huge stores, you can find plenty of choices for whatever item you need. Need peanut butter? You can find creamy or crunchy, reduced-fat or reduced salt, natural style or processed, small jar or large, with jam or without.

Each aisle offers great practice for developing your decision-making skills! And to help you decide, the store will often have a sampling station where you can taste (for free!) many of the special products they sell. This is usually done on a weekend when lots of people are in the store. “If you try it, maybe you’ll buy it!” It’s a great way to introduce you to new products, but remember they are just samples! The store expects customers to try only one. (Okay, maybe two . . . ) But if you do it right, you can visit every sampling station in the store, and you won’t need lunch when you get home!

Part 2

Despite all the choices at a big supermarket, however, farmers’ markets are also very popular. As people become more and more conscious of where their food is coming from and how it’s grown, farmers’ markets offer an opportunity to buy directly from the farmers who are on the spot to answer any questions. Often the markets are set up in public squares in large and small cities, usually on weekends. At the market, local area farmers bring in their produce and arrange it on tables for sale. Home bakers will offer fresh-baked cakes and pies made with homegrown fruit. There are people selling homemade jams, too.

Lots of vendors will offer samples of their goods. They may have small squares of bread and small pieces of cheese for you to try. There may be plates of cookies or samples of jams. The vendors hope that you’ll enjoy the sample so much that you’ll buy some to take home. And why not? Although baked goods and produce from the farmers’ market may cost more, they’re delicious and fresh from the farm!

Dialogue: Good value for money!

LIA: Do you have any peaches today?

FARMER: Oh, boy! I have lots of peaches! The weather has been great for peaches this year. They got plenty of sun and a lot of rain when they needed it.

LIA: Ha! I guess that’s why there are so many peach pies for sale. They look delicious!

FARMER: Several people have mentioned that. My wife will appreciate the compliment. She baked them.

LIA: I’ll definitely take a couple of pies. I’m going to a neighbor’s barbecue this afternoon, and I want to bring something special for dessert.

FARMER: Well, I have some nice organic herbs, too. And the corn on the cob is really sweet this year. We can husk it here for you, if you like.

LIA: I’m so glad your vegetables are organic. I’ve been trying to be careful about the foods I feed my family. I’ve decided that I’ll buy only organically grown produce whenever I can.

FARMER: I’ve been farming organically for 10 years now. No pesticides. No artificial fertilizers. Just pure nature!

LIA: Great! I’ll take two peach pies, a dozen ears of corn, and some basil for pesto. I’m making myself hungry already!

Farmers’ markets are also good places to find crafts. People who make quilts, special soaps, or little toys often have space at the market to sell their things. Fun!

Useful Vocabulary: Good value for money!

: the walkways in the store with shelves of items on both sides

artificial: human-made, not natural

basil: an herb

compliment: something nice or admiring that is said about someone or that person’s handiwork.

crafts: special decorations or things that are made by hand

creamy: smooth

crunchy: with bits of nuts

dozen: twelve

ears of corn: corn still on the cob (base) fact of life: something you can’t avoid

farmers’ market: fresh produce market

fertilizer: a substance to make plants grow better

glorious: wonderful, fabulous, really good.

groceries: food items

herb: a plant used for flavor in cooking

homegrown: not grown on a large commercial farm

Useful Vocabulary: Good value for money!

homemade: not commercially made; made by hand

husk (also shuck): remove the outer leaves

jam: jelly made from fruit

mentioned: said on the spot: right there

organic: no chemicals, all-natural

pesticide: chemicals used to kill insects

pesto: a sauce made from basil, garlic, oil, cheese, and pine nuts. Yum!

produce: farm-grown fruits and vegetables

quilts: thick blankets with beautiful designs made by hand from small pieces of cloth

recreational: for fun

reduced: less

sampling station: a place in shops where a person offers you a free taste of a product

vendor: someone selling an item

Three U.S. states have produce nicknames. Georgia is called The Peach State. New Jersey is called The Garden State. Nebraska is called The Cornhusker State. It’s a pretty big country to have only three farm nicknames.

3. Saving some bucks

Everyone loves a bargain! There’s something exciting about buying what you need and want, but
saving money while you buy is even more exciting! Businesses know this, and they use a lot of creative
ways to attract customers who want to save money. Stores know that if they want to sell something to
make room for newer stuff, they should have a sale.

The older items are “on sale!” Department stores have one-day-only sales and doorbusters. Grocery stores put coupons in the local newspaper or online, or they send them through the mail. (This is junk mail we can use!) Coupons can save a lot of cash. For example, if a store has a certain item on sale, you get it at a reduced price. If you also have a coupon for that item, you get the sale price, plus the extra money off. Woo, hoo! Time for a vacation with all that extra moolah! But you need to read the coupons carefully. They usually have an expiration date, and they may only be good for certain sizes or flavors of a product. Some of these sales are so great that everyone wants to take advantage of the savings. When this happens, a store may run out of an item. Aaackkk!!!

Part 2

But it’s not bad news. Stores don’t want unhappy customers, so if something is sold out, they’ll offer a rain check. Stores and food companies aren’t the only ones who want to attract customers with bargains. Lots of appliance and electronics manufacturers will offer rebates on big-ticket items. With this plan, you pay the full price, but if you mail in lots of forms and receipts, you’ll get some money back. It’s nice to save money, but sometimes rebates can be a hassle. You need to follow the instructions exactly and send in a special form or enter it online.

If you lose a receipt, or if you send in the wrong number from the box, you won’t get your money back. But if you do follow all the directions, and you mail everything in by the deadline, the manufacturer will send you a check for the rebate amount. The upside of a rebate is that it’s always nice to get money in the mail with all of those bills, bills, bills!

Dialogue – Good value for money!

LIA: Hey, how do you like my new shoes?
JAE: They’re awesome! Where did you get them?
LIA: I got them at Shoe City. They’re having a great sale. It’s BOGO.
JAE: Who’s Bogo?
LIA: Ha! BOGO isn’t a person! It’s a really cool sale. You buy one get one. In other words, if you buy one pair of shoes, you get one pair free!
JAE: Wow, that’s a steal! I think Shoe City is at the strip mall in town, and I have a 15% off coupon for the pizza store there.
LIA: Let’s go shopping!
JAE: And let’s eat!

Sometimes a group of sale items says “as marked.” This means that the discount has already been taken. Other times you will get a discount when you pay for the item at the register. Be sure to read the signs.

The price on the ticket is not the exact final price. In most states, you’ll need to add sales tax to the total. Each state has a different rule on this: Delaware has no tax on shopping; New Jersey has no tax on clothing. See you in Delaware!

Useful Vocabulary: Good value for money!

bargain: a very good price

big ticket item: a very expensive item

coupon: a form offering money off the price of certain items

deadline: last day something will be accepted

doorbusters: special huge sales on certain items to attract a lot of shoppers

expiration date: the date a coupon must be used by, or it won’t be accepted

manufacturer: maker of something

on sale: at a special low price

rain check: a form that allows you to get the special price when the item becomes available again

rebate: money back after you have purchased something

receipt: the form that says how much you paid for something and when you bought it

run out: use up; have no more left

steal: a great price; often the cost is less than the item is actually worth

More Expressions of Quantity!

Expressions of Quantity for Count Nouns

A couple of peaches
Several peaches
A few peaches

Expressions of Quantity for Noncount nouns
A little rice

Expression of Quantity That Work for Both
Some peaches/rice
Most peaches/rice
Lots of peaches/rice
A lot of peaches/rice
Plenty of peaches/rice

Look at the examples from dialogue 2:
I have lots of peaches!
They got plenty of sun and a lot of rain when they needed it.
Several people have mentioned that.
I’ll definitely take a couple of pies.
Well, I have some nice organic herbs, too.


like a bull in a china shop: very clumsy; likely to break things Her husband felt like a bull in a china shop when he dropped and broke a glass in the restaurant.

go window-shopping: look at things in the stores without buying She was saving her money for a new car, so they just went window-shopping at the mall.

a steal: a very good price She only planned to go window-shopping, but the shoes were a steal at the
sale price, so she bought them.

shop around: compare prices at many different places A computer is a big purchase, so she decided to shop around before she bought one.

talk shop: talk about work when you’re not at work Because their husbands worked at the same office, the wives always went into the kitchen when the guys started to talk shop in the other room.

Hope now you can express yourself with confidence when going shopping and finding good value for money! Go on learning about the Use of English and about passing your First Certificate Exam with flying colors!

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