As seen on TV is a nameplate for products advertised on Television for direct-response mail-order through a toll-free 800 number in the USA. But you no longer have to wait even a few weeks for whatever you are looking for to be shipped to you. You can now go to As Seen On TV in a shopping mall near you.
What to buy: As Seen on TV in Fair Oaks Mall offers a lot of intersting gadgets you might not have thought possible from one touch can opener to liquid leather repair kit. Some things sold here border on the absurd, but some things can be useful.
What to pay: The prices are pretty reasonable. Many gadgets are only $19.95 or $14.95, but that's a bargain when you consider you won't have to pay shipping and handling.
University Mall is a modest strip mall located just off the campus of George Mason University on the corner of Braddock and Ox Road. It is a small strip mall anchored by Giant Foods and a number of smaller stores. There used to be an off-campus book store that sold and bought back GMU textbooks. Among the stores and restaurants there are Giant Foods, Kinko's Copies, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Elie's Deli, TCBY, Gymboree, and a Hallmark store. Its location on the corner of Braddock and Ox Roads is very convenient for students to get munchies and various other things.
When I attended George Mason University, the bookstore was a modest shop on the ground floor of S.U.B. 2 where the mail room is. The current bookstore is in the modern Johnson Centre and is two storeys high with a grandiose staircase. There is even a buggy inside that sells Starbuck's. (Can one in Roxboro be far behind?)
What to buy: Like the old bookstore I remember, they sell books and buy them back at the end of each semester. There is also plenty of art supplies and university memorabilia.
Locals can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Fair City Mall is the largest strip mall in Fairfax, if not the whole of Northern Virginia. There are over 50 stores. Among the most prominent are Old Country Buffet, Shopper's Food Warehouse, Babbage's, Pfaltzgraff Factory Store, Kemp Mill Music, and Stephen Adler Big & Tall Men's Store. (A couple of nights at Old Country Buffet and menfolk might have to shop at Adler's).
Urszula (matcrazy0), Nat (b1bob) and I were killing time in Fair Oaks Mall out of the cold rain before heading to nearby Washington Dulles International Airport and flight back to Poland.
Fair Oaks Mall is the largest shopping mall I visited in Washington metropolitan area and may compete with the largest ones I visited in Poland. There are 180 stores, services and restaurants as well as US chain department stores: Macy's (mid-range or rather all-range department store), Lord & Taylor (the oldest US department store chain - 1826; upclass), Hecht's, Sears (mid-range chain of international department stores) and JCPenney.
For European visitor it may be some kind of fun to discover unknown in Europe chain shops and department stores. Urszula simply loved it! Indeed, even today in times of global market, there are partly (!) different clothes and other stuff in US shopping malls than in Europe. A few interesting shops of Fair Oaks Mall are described in my next tips.
What to buy: Just about everything imaginable is available at Fair Oaks Mall.
What to pay: Some shops are tailored to the thrifty and some are more upscale.
Thanks to Nat (b1bob) we visited the first Brookstone ever in Fair Oaks Mall and I liked it a lot. Brookstone is a chain of retail stores in the United States.
What to buy: Brookstone sells many types of products ranging from massage chairs to radar detectors. The company has its own brand and makes many electronic gadgets, one of the store's main focuses. So, it's the place to see the latest gadgets that are for sale.
Choose what you want:
- health and fitness
- outdoor living
- home and office
- hard to find tools
- travel and auto
What to pay: This is definetely not a cheap place. I remember cool leather massage chairs for over $3,000!
Ann Taylor is an American group of specialty apparel retail chain stores for woman. The brand is marketed under three divisions, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, and Ann Taylor Factory. Ann Taylor in Fair Oaks Mall offers upscale women's clothing, generally on the conservative side.
What to buy: The store offers classic styled suits, separates, dresses, shoes and accessories. They subdivide their fashions into work clothes, work casual and week-end casual. Urszula liked some suits classified as work casual.
What to pay: Expensive or very expensive. That's why Urszula was the only one consumer, I suppose. A suit she liked cost over $500.
Harry and David company is best known for beginning the business of mail-order direct marketing of fruit. This was done through their "Harry and David" brand, which specializes in high-end gift baskets and holiday gift towers. Both I and Urszula liked this store full of various delicatesse food (dry fruits, chocolate, sweets, wine etc.) packed in colorful little boxes, jars or put in baskets.
Well, I didn't like a woman working there that day. Details in my General Tip.
What to buy: Urszula bought little, funny box of chocolate truffles for her mother. They looked great and tasted delicious :-).
What to pay: Expensive or very expensive stuff in my opinion. Little box of chocolate truffles cost $8.26 incl. tax. Large sweet gift towers and baskets cost even over $150.
J. C. Penney in Fair Oaks Mall is a typical Penney's as locals simply call this mid-range chain of American department stores based in Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas I visited about three weeks before Fairfax. The company is also a leading Internet retailer.
What to buy: Just about everything is available at J.C. Penney:
- clothes (women's, man's, junior's, kids and baby)
What to pay: Mostly average prices with some stuff more upscale.
At first looking at the Indian logo and name of this store in Fair Oaks Mall I thought it's some Indian (Native American) store. Shortly I got to know that the Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Well, there is considerable controversy over the team's name and logo because various Native American activist groups view them as disrespectful and offensive. The Redskins are headquartered and train at Redskin Park near Dulles International Airport and Fairfax. I was told that it's the most valuable sports team in the United States and also the most popular. So, it was interesting to see their shop in Fair Oaks Mall.
What to buy: Everything related to the Washington Redskins football team from their helmets and T-shirts to various club mascots, stickers and flags.
What to pay: I don't know average prices for sport goods in the USA but I've found Redskins T-shirts sold at a price over $15 expensive.
Harry and David is a chain of food gift stores based in Medford, Oregon. They like to locate themselves in the more upmarket shopping malls in the country, so I guess Southside Plaza (in one of Richmond's less distinguished neighbourhoods) will have to slog on awhile longer without it. They offered free samples. On the day Matt, Urszula, and I wandered in their Fair Oaks Mall location, the free samples were covered dried fruits. I was half tempted to have them bag some up for me for the lonely trip home later that afternoon.
What to buy: Harry and David offers all manner of food gift baskets. It's sort of like an upmarket Hickory Farms. I got on fine with the gentleman behind the register, but this persnickety woman employee (who looked, to me, like a Harry or a David) gave Matt a ration of grief for taking a photo of the storefront. (What would you expect a VT member to do?) There were no signs prohibiting it. I can't believe they bought candy for Urszula's mama from this store after the way they were treated. That's why I didn't buy those dried fruit snacks to eat on the way home. To avoid all this flak in the future, friends and neighbours, stand off at an angle so they can't see you do it. As far as I know, this is only a characteristic of the Fair Oaks Mall location of Harry and David and not a reflection of how the chain does business.
What to pay: It's a little on the upmarket side, folks.
Hecht's was a large chain of upclass department stores located mainly in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Hecht's I visited in Fair Oaks Mall doesn't exist any more. It was converted to Macy's in 2006.
What to buy: Clothing, footwear, beauty products, bedding, furniture, jewelry, and housewares.
What to pay: A lot.
REI sells a large selection of fishing, camping, hiking and outdoor gear. I wanted to find a waterproof bag and an insert for my back pack. I was able to find the waterproof bag but they didn't have my backpack insert available in the store (it was an online only item). I did manage to find a nice plane sleeping mask for an upcoming trip. I like to have the light blocked when I want a restful sleep on a plane especially for long flights.
What to pay: The water proof bag was $20. The sleeping mask was $14.99.
White House Black Market is a store that carries women's clothing such as dresses, skirts, pants, tops, accesories and shoes. My wife likes this store and has several of their dresses and clothing items. We stopped in here just to browse but found some nice items that she wanted for an upcoming trip.
The store was definitely on the small size compared to the shop we frequent at home. The sales girls were frenzied so I played clerk and found sizes for my wife. Liz decided on a pair of capris that I actually liked; I'm no fan of pants. She also found a nice blue and ***e corset top and a blue pair of flips.
What to pay: The flips were $28. The capris were $78. The top was $98.
I am a self confessed Barnes and Noble junkie. I can't resist going in to any Barnes & Noble when I see one. On this particular trip though there was a purpose. We had just recently booked a trip and needed a guide book and map. This location has a very well stocked travel section and were were able to find the most recent DK book on the area as well as a pocket map.
I also found some other books that were a must for me on railroads. Blood and Steel was on my list for some time but I hadn't found it yet in a store until this trip.