There were all kinds of small local stores in downtown Staunton, but we could only find this one Mall. It had few name brand stores and very few customers. I am not sure if it was because we were there in the middle of the week or because it was so hot out.
We browsed around for about 15 minutes, listening to the echo of our foot steps, then left to go back to the motel which had a convience store across the street. The location of the mall was not easy to get to from the motels. The motels were on I-64 exit 222 and the Mall was on I-64 exit 220 or you could go the way we did from the mall by taking US11 back to US250 then east to the motel.
I guess Stauntonians must go elsewhere to SHOP or maybe they just aren't avid browsers.
It's typical American institution: Wal-Mart store conveniently located by US-250 connecting I-81 with Staunton downtown. It's a place to do shopping at low prices (telephone cards, batteries, food), to develop pictures (Photo Center) and to connect to wireless internet.
Like most US Wal-Marts now it offers large and cheap grocery store called Food Center. You can eat some simple food (like roasted chicken, sandwiches and salads etc.) at place. There is also Burger King and McDonald's but they didn't attract me.
What to buy: The Food Center offers a bit better choice of food than most similar discount chain grocery stories in Europe (for example Mexican food). But almost everything is different. I mean there are different food companies operating on US market and at the beginning it maybe difficult to choose inexpensive food for low budget European visitor. Except fruits (bananas, pears and apples) sold at prices marked as LOW PRICES (really?) I bought larger quantity of water (in small bottles to use while driving) and Budweiser beer (for evenings).
For sandwiches I used to buy either sliced ham (sometimes very expensive but great in taste) and cans of various meat, usually Luncheon Meat as it was relatively cheap and not so bad. Another problem is bread which is quite different, worse in taste than delicious Polish mixed wheat-rye bread. Well, while the USA specializes in steaks (delicious!), Poland specializes in bread baked in small family run bakeries.
As I noticed again locals tend to do everyday shopping in Wal-Mart. So, their shopping carts are often almost empty. They drive a car to Wal-Mart just to buy a few goods. Quite different than in my part of the world where people do everyday shopping in local, little grocery stories close to their homes (there are very few in the USA) and drive to supermarkets to do larger shopping (and save some money) say once a week.
What to pay: Generally I can say that everything is more expensive than in say TESCO supermarket in my city, sometimes even twice or three times more expensive. Although prices for better quality and more expensive food are more similar. Some prices in Wal-Mart:
12 cans of Budweiser beer: $8.57
pears - $1.73/lb
bananas - $0.48/lb
red apples - $1.12/lb (they cost $0.25/lb in Poland!)
water (20 small bottles) - $3.96
Luncheon meat - $1.34 per can
bread - $1.00
smoked ham (packed) - $2.98
cheese (16 slices) - $1.46
sunglasses - $9.83.