I am a shopper. I love to shop – shoes, gifts, furniture – it makes no difference. So I am always quite prepared when people find out what I do for a living and ask me the following question: Where is the best place to shop?
What most people are not prepared for however is my answer, which is typically: it depends. Sure I could tell you to get this particular pair of boots here and that particular jacket there and if you are looking for a specific brand of item, you would be quite satisfied. However, if you are looking for a general “best place to shop” then your satisfaction level might drop a little.
You see, it’s just not that simple. There are many factors to consider – price range, style and quality to name a few. How much are you willing to spend? Are you looking for a particular style or look? Is it a long term investment or is it something trendy and of the moment? What sort of quality are you looking for? Do you need it to last a few years or are you prepared for it to slowly disintegrate over the next few months?
Then there is the one thing that many people do not take into consideration when making a purchase: the return policy. Do you ever suffer from buyer’s remorse? Do you need to take an item home, get someone else’s opinion, ponder it and take your time in deciding? If so, then a good return policy is critical. Very rarely will I purchase an item with a No Return policy – even if for the fact that there might be a defect in workmanship that was missed at the point of purchase.
Here is something else to consider: sometimes you can find the greatest pieces in the least likely places. For instance, I have a summer dress that has become one of my favorites. I have actually been stopped on the street many times by complete strangers who ask me where I bought it. Needless to say they are quite surprised when I tell them that I purchased it a local grocery store. Case in point.
So what is a person to do when searching for the best places to shop? Start by doing a little research. Ask around – ask anyone who you think might have some knowledge of what you are looking for. Search the Internet – there are a number of websites dedicated specifically to shopping (especially if you are searching by city). Flip through magazines – they are loaded with information on where to shop, new store openings, etc.
If you are new to a certain area, check out the local tourist or visitor’s bureau. I find the people that work at these establishments to be extremely helpful and full of wonderful information. If they don’t have what you are looking for, they can usually point you in the right direction.
If none of these options work for you, then get out there and start shopping. Sometimes all it takes is to go from store to store to see what is available. You might also realize that one person’s best place to shop isn’t necessarily your best place to shop.
Of course, if all else fails, you could always hit the grocery store – because you just never know…