Florida Guide > Shopping
Having lived for the last quarter of a century on the small Greek island of Corfu, safe in the cocoon of shopping at small local stores, the transition to huge superstores in the Kissimmee area had the potential of sending my already high blood pressure soaring to new heights.
Wal-Mart or Target, Market Place or Publix or Walgreens, the comparisons were endless. After countless visits to each, I have formed opinions as to their individual pros and cons.
Wal-Mart is certainly the biggest chain and their superstores sell just about everything a holidaymaker could ever need over a two week period such as groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, a deli supplying cooked chicken, turkey legs and other meats, beer and wine, all very reasonably priced. Spirits are to be found on sale at a separate location outside the entrance to the store and are incredibly cheap, an example being Smirnoff vodka selling at about 20 dollars for one and three quarter litres. Clothes, electrical goods and pharmacy supplies are also very cheap and the staff, generally speaking, helpful and friendly. Wal-Mart' s only con is that their stores sometimes look a tad tired and unloved and some of their staff speak only pigeon English, being immigrants from Spanish speaking places such as Cuba, Mexico or Puerto Rica.
Target is a bright, clean, shiny reflection of Wal-Mart and although slightly more expensive, has recently tried to match Wal-Mart' s prices on a number of electrical goods, especially the more expensive articles such as cameras and strange new inventions called i-pads. (I did mention my twenty five years on an island, didn' t I? ) The only con I can think of in relation to Target is the fact that they don' t sell spirits, only wine and beer and you have to show proof of identity and age no matter what. I am sixty years old and still have to produce a photographed legal document such as a driving licence before I can make a purchase. Even then, it may be necessary for a member of the management staff to be summoned and authorise the purchase. This may take a couple of minutes, but feels like an eternity as the next customers in the line glare at you with malevolence in their eyes.
Publix is possibly my favourite store due to its' cleanliness and mature, friendly staff although it has to be stated that they are more expensive and are mainly suppliers of groceries and pharmaceuticals. They also have an outside store for the sale of spirits at a price which almost matches Wal-Mart. Walgreens is mainly a pharmacy which also sells a small range of clothes, sweets, soft drinks and has the annoying habit of having items on sale without advertising this fact. On numerous occasions, I have only discovered this when paying for my shopping and being charged less than I had anticipated.
All in all, shopping was not the traumatic experience I had feared, and in some cases could almost be described as a pleasure. Each has its' pros and cons but not one stands out as being far superior to the others. Happy Shopping.
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Page added on: 15 August 2010
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