Shopping is a large part of American life. The shopping
choices in the Argonne area are many. The nearest stores are north of
the laboratory along 75th Street. Stores are located almost
continuously for several miles from Kingery Highway on the east to
Janes Avenue, west of Interstate 355. In addition there are many malls
and clusters of stores further north along 63 rd Street and on Ogden
Avenue. Store hours vary, but are usually 9:00 or 10:00 a.m.
to 9:00 p.m. Large food stores remain open longer and several
supermarkets are open 24 hours a day. The Newcomers Assistance Office
has several pages of information available on local shopping with
locations and directions.
An important thing to learn about shopping in America is
that a wide range of prices can be charged for the same or comparable
merchandise. This includes all available goods, but especially
clothing, food, electronics, furniture and house wares. Many multi-page
store and supermarket advertisements are
included in the Sunday and Wednesday editions of Chicago newspapers.
These itemize the many sale items being offered that week that are
often well below the normal price. All stores regularly hold sales at
which merchandise is sold at a lower price. If you have the option to
wait, you can save considerable amounts of money as the item you
require may be offered at a reduced price.
Stores usually allow you to return purchased merchandise
if the item has not been used or damaged. You will have to give a
reason for the return, such as it doesn't work, wrong size, color not
right etc. Some stores, especially smaller ones, may have a time limit
for returns. You must have the original purchase receipt to obtain a
refund. Merchandise purchased at a "sale" price may not be returnable.
Also some stores now charge a restocking fee on returned items.
The Chicago area is rich in ethnic diversity. Food
stores offering the specialties of many nations can be found in the
city and its surrounding communities. The area near Argonne has many
stores specializing in Asian and South Asian products, as well as those
from Mexico which reflects the population of many families of Chinese,
Filipino, Indian and Hispanic heritage here.
The major supermarket chains in the Chicago area all
carry a large selection, including many international foods. Most have
fresh fish departments and full service pharmacies selling both
prescription and non-prescription drugs. In addition, each Jewel,
Dominick's, Cub and Meijer store has a large non-food section which
carries cosmetics, toys, school and office supplies and household
A shopping center is a collection of stores and shops
offering a wide variety of products and services. Many small shopping
centers have self-service laundromats, dry cleaners, barbers, and
hairdressers. The large shopping center (or mall) sits in the middle of
a gigantic parking lot and can cater to the needs of thousands of
people at once. It features two to four large department stores plus
many smaller shops and restaurants. There are several malls within a
thirty minute drive of Argonne :
- Yorktown Center - at Highland & Butterfield Roads, Lombard
- Oakbrook Center - 22 nd Street & Kingery Highway , Oakbrook
- The Promenade at Bolingbrook , E Boughton Rd & Janes Ave , Bolingbrook
- Westfield Shoppingtown at Fox Valley - Route 59 & New York Ave , Aurora
Although the traditional department stores and smaller,
individually owned stores may charge fixed prices, often the same items
can be bought for less at discount stores. This is particularly true
for electrical appliances, clothes, hardware, and house wares. Although
these discount stores provide little in the way of personal service,
they sell items at prices 20% or more less than those of conventional
stores. Be careful when patronizing a discount store because some
stores advertise "discounts" that may not be much of a savings and the
merchandise may be of an inferior quality. Outlet stores offer
merchandise from one company direct from the factory often at a reduced
price. The closest outlet mall is Chicago Premium Outlets on I-88 at Farnsworth Ave in Aurora.
You can pay for any item at a store with cash. As most
Americans do not carry much cash with them the most common form of
payment is with a credit card, debit card or check. Other options
Store Specific Charge Accounts : At
some stores, you can arrange to make your purchases on credit by
applying for a store credit card. The store will send you a bill or
statement once a month. There is no charge for this service if you pay
the total amount of the bill within 30 days; otherwise, customers are
charged interest on the unpaid balance similar to other major credit
cards such as MasterCard or VISA. Often you can save a certain
percentage on all purchases using the special store charge card when
opening the account and on special days throughout the year.
Lay-Away Buying :
Some stores will hold an item for you until total payment has been
made. You make arrangements with the store, according to their layaway
policy, on how many payments must be made before total payment is
completed so that you may take possession of the article. You do not
pay interest on lay-away buying.
Installment Buying : This
is a method of paying for an item over an extended period of time.
Payments are made in equal monthly amounts; a service charge, interest
on the unpaid balance, is added monthly to the bill. Installment buying
can add as much as 21% additional cost per year to the item purchased,
but it does allow you to have immediate possession. Be cautious with
offers of "do not pay for 12 months" as there are often hidden costs in
using such a service and severe penalties for a missing or late
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