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Lesson 6 shopping for consumer goods

Introductory reading and talk

Shopping is a very important part of life, but shoppers arc faced with a confusing and rapidly changing situation. The confusion arises from the claims made by advertising, a wider choice of goods than ever before, and new places to shop. The prices of clothes, shoes, and make-up have gone sky-high, so it's vital that you do not waste your money and that you shop carefully for value.

Be sure of what you want — never shop vaguely, because when you get home your purchase may not match anything else you've got.

Shop around for the best price and quality. Start with a depart­ment store, where they stock a wide range of goods and souvenirs. There you can find many departments: haberdashery, hosiery, drap­ery, millinery, ladieswear, menswear, and footwear. If you are look­ing for a skirt and a top to go with it, you'll need "Separates". You'll find shorts or T-shirts in "Leisurewear", jumpers in "Knitwear", and a nightdress in "Nightwear". In "Accessories" they sell belts, gloves, and purses. Try on all the trousers or dresses they have in the line although it may be quite boring to wait if the changing room is occupied. Check out the racks with the sign "sale". Although it usu­ally seems to be the small sizes that are offered in sales, you can sometimes find some super buys.

Feeling cheered up by your new purchase, don't foiget to keep the receipt, in case an item turns out to be faulty. You'll need the re­ceipt if you want to exchange the item or have your money refunded. If you are a bargain-hunter, try clothes markets. They often don't have the high overheads of town shops and can therefore keep prices lower, though they can stock substandard goods. Flea markets are not the best place to buy anything. The prices are low, but the qual­ity is, too.

Don't put off the purchase of festive gifts until there are only two days left before a holiday. Department stores are swarming with last-minute shoppers, so you may haveto queue for half an hour at the checkout till. From everywhere you can hear people swapping rumours, 'They have sold out all the scarves', 'They have run out of that cream'. You inevitably get involved in exchanging remarks with other people in the queue or with salesgirls. Sometimes the talk gets so interesting that the cashier's question whether you want to pay in cash or by credit card takes you by surprise. Anyway, you pay and feel happy that you have made a bargain, which puts you in a good mood.

Dear friends, make shopping entertaining. Shop together with your friends. Enjoy attractively designed displays and well-dressed shoppers browsing through trendy items. Then you will definitely like it.

1. Look at the picture below and name all departments. Say what one can buy there.

2. Where can you buy the following items?

jewellery a pair of shoes

stockings buttons, zips

fabrics a suit

a swimsuit pyjamas

a hat a cardigan

3. What can you buy in the following shops?

an antique shop an art shop

a bookshop a boutique

a florist's/flower shop a furniture shop

a gift shop a hi-fi store

an ironmonger's a jeweller's

an optician's a pet shop

a photographic shop a radio shop

a record shop a sports shop

a stationer's a toy shop

4. Describe the best-known department store in your city. What does it sell? Do you like it? How do you get there? What attracts you and what annoys you in a big department store? Take the following points into account:

convenience choice service quality price

5. What would you personally never buy in a department store — and why?


A Devoted Shopper

(Extract from the book by Sue Townsend "The Queen and I". Abridged)

Sayako came out of the changing room in Sloane Street1 wear­ing this season's suit, as featured on the cover of English Vogue.2 Last season's suit lay on the changing room floor in an untidy heap. She surveyed herself in the full-length mirror. The manageress, svelte in black, stood behind her.

'That colour's very good on you,' she said, smiling professio­nally.

Sayako said, 'I take it and also I take it in strawberry and navy and primrose.'3

The manageress inwardly rejoiced. She would now reach this week's target.4 Her job would be safe for at least another month. God bless the Japanese!

Sayako walked over on stockinged feet5 to a display of suede loafers.

'And these shoes to match all suits in size four,' she said. Her role model was the fibreglass mannequin6 which lolled convincingly against the shop counter, wearing the same cream suit that Sayako was wearing, the loafers that Sayako had just ordered and a bag that Sayako was about to order in navy, strawberry, cream and primrose. The mannequin's blonde nylon wig shone under the spotlights. Her blue eyes were half closed as though she were encaptured by her own beauty.

She is so beautiful, thought Sayako. She took the wig from the mannequin's head and placed it on her own. It fitted perfectly.

'And I take this,' she said.

She then handed over a platinum card which bore the name of her father, the Emperor of Japan.

As the manageress tapped in the magic numbers from the card,7 Sayako tried on a soft green-coloured suede coat which was also be­ing worn by a red-haired mannequin. The suede coat cost one penny less than a thousand pounds.

'What other colours do you have this in?' asked Sayako of the assistants, who were packing her suits, loafers, bags and wig.

'Just one other colour,' said an assistant (who thought, Jesus, we'll have a drink after work tonight).

She hurried to the back of the shop and quickly returned with a toffee-brown version of the sumptuous coat.8

'Yes,' said Sayako. 'I take both and, of course, boots to match, size four.' She pointed to the boots worn by the red-haired manne­quin.

The pile on the counter grew. Her bodyguard standing inside the shop door shifted impatiently.

When the Princess and her purchases had been driven away, the manageress and her assistants screamed and yelled and hugged each other for joy.

Sayako sat in the back of the limousine and looked at London and its people. How funny English people are, she thought, with their wobbly faces and big noses and their skin! She laughed behind her hand. So white and pink and red. What bodies they had! So tall. It wasn't necessary to have so much height, was it. Her father was a small man and he was an Emperor.

As the car set off on its journey towards Windsor, where she was staying at the newly opened Royal Castle Hotel, Sayako's eyes closed. Shopping was so tiring. She had started at 10.30 in Harrod's lingerie department9 and now it was 6.15 and she had only taken an hour off for lunch. And when she got home she had that puzzling book to read, Three Men in a Boat. She had promised her father she would read at least five pages a day. It would improve her English, he said, and help her to understand the English psyche.

She had already ploughed through The Wind in the Willows,10 Alice in Wonderland and most of Jemima Puddleduck11 but she had found these books very difficult, full of talking animals dressed in the clothes of human beings.

At Hyde Park Comer the car stopped suddenly, the driver swo­re and Sayako opened her eyes. The bodyguard turned around to face her.

'A demonstration,' he said. 'Nothing to fear.'

She looked out of the window and saw a long line of mid­dle-aged people crossing the road in front of the car. Many of them were wearing beige anoraks that Sayako, a devoted shopper, identified as coming from Marks and Spencer.12 A few were car­rying signs on sticks.

Nobody appeared to take any notice of them, apart from a few impatient motorists.

Proper Names

Sue Townsend ['sju: 'tansnd] — Сью Таунсенд

Sayako [s'jk] — Саяко

Sloane Street ['sln 'stri:t] — Слоун Стрит

Windsor ['wnz] — Виндзор

Harrod's ['hrdz] — Хэрродз

Jemima Puddleduck ['mam 'pdldk] — Джемайма Падлдак

Hyde Park ['had 'pk] — Гайд Парк

Marks and Spencer ['mks nd 'spens] — Маркс и Спенсер

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