Life in the USA
Public Services I
Different Types of Stores
The American economic system gives consumers a great deal of choice. Different types of stores offer different products and different levels of service. Your task is to learn to make reliable comparisons in terms of quality and price, all the while getting whatever expert advice on the product you might need.
As an example, say you are looking for a new stereo music setup. If you want the best money can buy, and you do not care how much it costs, you would find a small specialty store that sells only the finest brands. The store will put together a system to suit your needs. An expert might even come to your home to advise you on which components and speakers will work best for you, or even to install the system to your liking.
At the other extreme, if you wanted a very inexpensive music system for your child's room, you might find it in a general discount store, which will offer a few inexpensive brands (often under the store’s own label), along with all the other products. You will not find much in the way of expert sales help at this kind of store, but you can save money and still get what you want.
Say you are somewhere in between. You want a good system for yourself at a price you can afford. In this case, you might do best at a major discount electronics store, one that also sells televisions and other appliances. A department store might also have a reasonable selection at reasonable prices, especially if there is a sale. Both stores might (or might not) have knowledgeable sales people who can advise you.
For well-known product models, you can make price comparisons, and often use the Internet to drill down to get the best deal. Of course, today you may well use the Internet to order the product directly, often at a superior price. In all cases, you can be sure you will not get the best value and the most appropriate products for your needs unless you do a little research and work.
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