When in the United States… Go Shopping

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in the United States, go shopping. It’s an activity I always enjoy when I go to the US. I know the exchange rate isn’t great, the prices aren’t that much better than what we find in Canada and we can get many of the same items at home. But still, there is something so exhilarating about walking into a speciality store, a mall or dare I say, a big-box store, when I am in the USA.

This is my third trip to Seattle with my mother-in-law, Barbara. We seem to have fallen into a routine, and shopping plays a role. The first full day of our trip always includes shopping. My heart starts to beat a little faster as I slide into my rental car and head for the stores on my list.

For some Canadians, shopping in the United States is a religious experience (just ask my sister, Darcie). For others, it’s a curse (just ask my sister’s husband, Leigh). And for me, it’s definitely fun and exciting. Somehow, clothes, toys and food always look better when I’m in an American city.

Thursday was our designated shopping day for the newly established Travel Trio. Our first stop: the Apple store. It was a big day for Barbara as she took the leap into the smartphone world. Barbara has had an iPad for a number of years, but she is now the proud owner of the new iPhone 8.

Walking into the Apple store can be an overwhelming experience. As you look around the sea of people and technology, you don’t know where to start. Should you wander around and play with all the tech toys or look for some assistance from a blue-shirted, headset wearing employee?

A kindly looking salesperson approached us and helped Barbara choose her phone and her protective case. In the usual efficient Apple way, the new smartphone suddenly appeared moments later, and in no time the purchase was complete and we were out the door.

Opening the new phone
The triumphant photo of Barbara and her new iPhone

After a celebratory coffee and hot chocolate at Starbucks (what’s a visit to Seattle without a few trips to the sacred home of coffee?), we were on our way to Northgate Mall. The American shopping mall always fascinates me. I have shopped at malls around the world, but Americans kick it up a notch with their shopping malls. They pack so much into a relatively small space, with every kind of clothing, shoe, cosmetics, accessories and technology store you can think of.

It took us no time to do some damage all over the mall. Silicone utensils at Bed Bath and Beyond, a micro down coat at Eddie Bauer and sweatpants for Matthew at Macy’s. We checked out shoes at Foot Locker, Xbox One games at GameStop and pyjamas at Old Navy.

We took a break back at Annie’s house, then we were back out to cover more ground. Annie joined us for the rest of the day’s shopping expedition. Our next stop was a vast indoor/outdoor plant nursery that was more than plants. Our mission was to buy a large house plant for Annie’s daughter, Lila. This store sells everything from plants and flowers to stationary, toys and clothes. And the train display. Wow. This is an example of the American store at its best. Did you know that Hans Solo, Wonder Woman, Indiana Jones and Elsa from Frozen all appeared in the same battle scene? Go to Swanson’s and you will see it with your own eyes.

Now that’s a train set
More of the train set

No trip to the United States is complete without a shopping trip to a grocery store. On Thursday evening, we scoped out a small grocery store and picked up some important supplies like cookies, crackers and drinks. Today we went to another one and picked up more fun stuff like local chocolate (always important).

oh what a fun it is to be in an American grocery store!

And our shopping expeditions are not over yet. We are enjoying a quiet weekend in Friday Harbor (more on that in another post), but the Seattle Premium Outlets and Uwajimaya are in our future. Those are two very special places. I hope my credit card can handle the pressure.

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