Yard Sales: One Man's Trash, Is Another Man's....
Yard sales/garage sales, are a popular tradition, in America. When Americans have a bunch of junk, and old clothes, they don’t want, instead of throwing it away, they set it out in front of their house, or in their garage, and sell it. And they sell EVERYTHING!
People put ads online, in the local paper, and on street posts, and spend the weekend, selling their junk. You'll be surprised, how many people show up.
This year several people on my street were doing one. I bought a book and VHS tape from my neighbor, for just $1. I even sold some of my own stuff, and made over $100.
It's a really good way to meet, and interact with people.
Yard sales are the places to come, if you want a deal. Most items sell for a dollar a piece, but some can go for as much as 100, or even more. People sell everything from used clothes, video games, cables, DVDs, CDs, sports and outdoor equipment, books, china, instruments, toys, art, furniture, and even valuable antiques, so you'll never know what you'll find. If the price is a bit high for you, you can always haggle, but be careful that you don't get ripped off. I wouldn't recommend it, if you're looking for high end items, but if you don't mind cheap, used, lower quality items, you can get a really good deal at these things.
These yard sales can pop up anywhere, any day of the week, but usually take place on Fri, Sat, and Sun, from 8-3, though most customers show up on weekends, between 6 and noon. After noon, it goes dead. It's best to show up early, while all the products are still out. Some yard sales are better than others. There is no way of knowing, so you just have to show up. Like I said, you never know what you'll find at these things,
Fun Fact: The world's longest yard sale is the 127 Yard Sale, which takes place in August, and runs for 690 miles, from Addison, MI to Gadsden, AL., and features thousands of vendors. Their website even has a countdown. Americans really take this yard sale stuff, seriously.
What to buy: People sell everything from used clothes, video games, cables, DVDs, CDs, sports and outdoor equipment, books, china, instruments, toys, art, furniture, and even valuable antiques, so you'll never know what you'll find.
What to pay: Anywhere from 25 cents, to $100+, depending on what the item is, and whether or not the vendor, is willing to haggle.
Cathie'z Leather - Bullhead City: Leather for motorcycle riders
This tiny shop provides all kind of leather stuff for riders. The owner is a friendly guy helping with your purchases. I was looking for cloves and he explained carefully different kind of brands (summer, winter, off-road, highway,...) and I got one of my best gear for about 20 bugs.
As a give away I got leather head cover, I don't know it's name but you can see it in the picture :)
What to buy: Apparel, Bags, Boots, Bridles, Chaps, Helmets, Jackets, Luggage, Mini Bikes, Patches, Saddles, Tools, Vests
and Cloves are avalable.
Hours: T-F 10-6,SAT 8-6,SUN 8-3Related to:
- Road Trip
Burbank Town Center: Shop Till You Drop in Burbank, California
The Burbank Center is three floors of shopping. It has some of the normal shops you find in other shopping malls and a number of more unique, trendy shops. The decor is worth seeing on its own. Of course the mall is also full of Southern Californians so it is great for people watching. Extensive selection of food too. Mall Hours: Monday-Friday: 10 AM to 9 PM; Saturday: 10AM to 8n PM; and Sunday: 11 AM to 7 PM.
What to buy: Whatever you want. Stores include: Macy’s, Mervyn’s, Sears, Sport Chalet, Bed Bath & Beyond, AMC Theater (14 screens), Old Navy, New York & Company, American Eagle, Zales, Aldo Shoes, and Charlotte Russe.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
SEARS: They start from the 1800s
1886 Richard Sears was an agent of the Minneapolis and St. Louis railway station in North Redwood, Minnesota. Sears job as station agent left him plenty of spare time, so he sold lumber and coal to local residents on the side to make extra money. Later, when he received a shipment of watches - unwanted by a neighboring Redwood Falls jeweler, Sears purchased them himself, sold the watches at a nice profit to other station agents up and down the line, and then ordered more for resale.
1887 - The following year, Sears moved his business to Chicago and inserted a classified ad in the Chicago Daily News.
"WANTED: Watchmaker with reference who can furnish tools. State age, experience and salary required. ADDRESS T39, Daily News."
An Indiana lad, Alvah C. Roebuck answered the ad. He told Sears he knew watches and brought a sample of his work to prove it. Sears hired him. Here began the association of two young men, both still in their twenties.
1893 that the corporate name of the firm became Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Thanks to volume buying, to the railroads and post office, and later to rural free delivery and parcel post, Sears, Roebuck and Co. offered a happy alternative to the high-priced rural stores. Years later the company adopted the motto "Shop at Sears and Save."
Employees: Approximately 275,000
Full-line Store Locations: Over 870
Areas of Operations: United States, Puerto Rico and Canada
What to buy: In present times Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, automotive and home products and services for families. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through its Web sites, sears.com and landsend.com, and a variety of specialty catalogs.
What to pay: Well, look for sales ;-) betterRelated to:
- Family Travel
The Container Store: The original storage and organisation store
This tip is dedicated to American ingenuity. In what other country would you find a store that sells nothing but containers? You would be surprised by how much clutter Americans accumulate. In the late 1970s, a group of entrepreneurs opened up this place to solve that very problem. The store layout is neatly divided into various lifestyle sections including, but not limited to, closets, kitchen, and office. I first heard of this place in Northern Virginia while going out with a friend who was running errands.
What to buy: All manner of storage and organisation products can be found here.
Anyshop USA: you want it, you can buy it
There is no shortage of shopping in the USA. From high end boutiques in New York City to Walmarts scattered around the country, you can pretty much get anything you are looking for. Well, that is a regional thing so don't go looking for a great bagel in Montana. We lived in Fort Lauderdale and thanks to a fair amount of transplanted Germans, had two great German bakeries and even a German butcher shop. All had totally authentic stuff. Again, don't think you're going to find such things in Memphis, TN.
What to buy: When camping around the USA, you might want to stock up on some items you might not find in more remote areas. Particularly hard to find in the interior of the country is good bread. Oddly enough, we found one Walmart in Page, AZ that sold some very nicely baked banquettes. We could only guess that it was due to the high number of Europeans that travel in the area.
Of course, for me that always means looking for the local beers. Nothing beats sitting at the campground with some local cheese (and hopefully bread if available!) and beer enjoying the sounds of nature and fresh air.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
- Road Trip
Whole Foods Market: natural and organic grocery
Whole Foods Market started out with one small store in Austin, Texas. Today, they are the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. I first heard of this grocery chain when watching Food Network. On Dinner:Impossible, invariably they would seek out a Whole Foods for their culinary mission. One opened up in the Richmond area some time in 2008. Unlike the family-owned or even the chain stores I grew up with, the ceilings of the stores are simply cavernous. On walking in my first time, I figured it was an elitist, overly environmentally conscious type of place. I don't mind a socially conscious place if they aren't too preachy about it. I get really suspicious of a place that pats itself on the back for giving 5% of its after tax profits to the community. Just like the old Nike slogan said, "Just Do It." I go here only when they are the only place I can get ingredients I need for some of my dishes without mail ordering them. Besides an apparent contract to shoot as many "Dinner Impossible" episodes here, cookery books from prominent Food Network personalities were on sale here. What impressed me most was the wide selection of cheeses, some of which even I had never heard of. Also, they have an expansive hot food bar containing all manner of international delicacies for $7.99 a pound.
World Market: unique, authentic, and always affordable
I first heard of this place when a friend from the West End of Richmond bought a new flavour of potato crisps to one of my Super Bowl parties. Cost Plus World Market quickly became a destination for those who craved original and handmade items from around the world. Many of these exotic bazaar stores like to focus on only foreign goods. There is a lot of that, to be sure, but they haven't forgotten that America is part of the world too. They have exotic coffees from Peru and Kenya and many other foods from abroad, but they also offer up things like nostalgic American soft drinks like Nu Grape and Bubble Up (those familiar with Merle Haggard will know this drink). World Market isn't just a food store, it offers a little of everything and its inventory constantly changes. There are about 290 of these unusual and diverse stores across 32 states.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World: Outdoorsmen, take note
This is the perfect antithesis to the previous tip The Great Indoors. Men, while she's getting remodeling ideas there, you can go here to upgrade your fishing pole or hunting gear. The first time I've ever seen a Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World was at Concord Mills Mall in Concord, North Carolina. Four years later, another opened up closer to home in Ashland, VA. Each store is decorated like the state it is in. In the Charlotte area store is a 40-foot, (12 m.) rock climbing wall and a cascading waterfall descending into a pond with real fish. The Virginia store had an old country store where you could buy candles and fudge. Considerably larger than its Concord, North Carolina counterpart, there was a waterfall inside.
What to buy: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World caters to fresh and salt water fishermen, campers, and hunters in the way of equipment, apparel and footwear.
What to pay: Although this is a hunting and fishing store, the prices aren't terribly cheap. It caters to a more sophisticated outdoorsman.
Trader Joe's: Your neighbourhood grocery store
Trader Joe's is a chain of grocery stores with a neighbourhood feel across 23 states and Washington, D.C. The founder is said to have envisaged the South Seas theme while on holiday in the Caribbean. He had noticed that Americans were traveling more and returning home with tastes for food and wine they had trouble getting anywhere back home.
What to buy: Products sold include gourmet foods, organic foods, vegetarian food, unusual frozen foods, imported foods, kosher foods, domestic and imported wine, "alternative" food items, and basics like bread, cereal, eggs, dairy, coffee and produce. Many of the company's products are considered environmentally friendly. I found some "fair trade" Ethiopian coffee, various spices, and even a yellow watermelon.
What to pay: By selling almost all of its products under its own label, Trader Joe's buys directly from both local and international small time vendors, passing the savings on to us.
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Wal-Mart: Always Low Prices
Wal-Mart is the largest retail chain in the United States, and the the entire world for that matter. Wal-Mart, with headquarters in Rogers Arkansas, is #1 for a very simple reason. They consistently offer the lowest prices of any retail outlet in America, and in a wide variety too.
What to buy: Clothing, food, electronics, automotive, household items, sporting goods, toys, pharmacy, and just about any other consumer good a person might need.
What to pay: Wal-Mart is usually less expensive than most of it's competitors, but it still pays to check prices.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Dollar General: Save Time. Save Money.
Dollar General was founded in the late 1930s as a humble wholesale business in Kentucky. Today, it is a chain of discount stores across more than 30 states. In 1955 it was the first retail store that sold all items for $1. 30% of Dollar General's merchandise is still priced at $1 or less. Small stores average about 7000 square feet, making shopping for basic necessities simple and convenient. Super centres called Dollar General Markets are slightly larger, but offer groceries as well as the basic items sold at the traditional stores. Dollar General stores are concentrated in under-served rural and urban neighbourhoods.
Shopping malls all over the country: Black Friday
Maybe this should be a warning or customs tip:
"Black Friday" refers to the Friday right after Thanksgiving when the heavy Xmas buying begins. It is called black because it is said to put the merchants "in the black" which means puts them into the profit range. ("Being in the red" means a business is losing money.)
The shops and malls are likely to be packed with crazy shoppers. Viewed as a tourist you might find it interesting to wander through the stores just watching the people, but I would not recommend actually trying to buy anything at this time. I do not think any savings you might see from a special sale price would be worth the time in lines and traffic.
If you want to see the same craziness but with much lower prices wait for the first shopping day after Christmas.
What to buy: If you really want to buy something on "black Friday", make sure it is something on sale with a really good price.
If you wait until after Christmas, the best savings will be for holiday related items. Decorations, gift wrapping materials and things thought to be good gifts that were overstocked are commonly found at 50% of more off their original prices. This can also be a good time to buy winter clothes.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Friday after Thanksgiving: Black Friday
This is not the day to shop, unless---- you really like the bargains and the crowds. It's the busiest day of the shopping year. The 1st day of Christmas shopping. Many stores open early (4 a.m. or 6 a.m.) and have sales for the 1st several hours. The sales often end at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. Great bargins, if it's exactly what you've been looking for. There is no school that day, and many offices are closed or working only with a skeleton staff.
Restaurants will be full at meal times, and even fuller than normal between meal times. It's quite the press of people and activities.
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