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Shopping is one of the most favorite pastimes in the world today. In the true sense of the word, shopping refers to the act of buying from a shop. However, many people are content with "window-shopping" these days, and it means just looking at the merchandises without the intention of purchasing them on the spot.

When it comes to shopping, price is the most important issue for most shoppers, and it varies with quality, brands and locations. Certain factors such as the cost of the product and operational expenses contribute directly to the pricing of a product. This is the reason why merchandises sold in a more up-market environment are usually more expensive. Some prices are marked according to the manufacturers� suggested pricing, which offers retailers a guideline for reasonable pricing. However, there are places that practice price discrimination, where a seemingly wealthy customer will be offered a higher price. This usually results in a bargaining situation which can be quite challenging. The price of an item can also be affected by its availability and low supply of it will cause the price to rise.

Usually places that order their merchandises in bulk are able to offer better prices. Shopping at hypermarkets can be very worthwhile because the prices are low and the selection is very extensive. If you are going to shop for many things in one outing, hypermarkets, shopping malls and departmental stores are the ideal places to visit. The quality of items at these places is acceptable by most consumer standards. Street markets also offer very good prices and selections, but the quality is often doubtable. Here, price discrimination is often the order of business and if you can hold your own in bargaining, you may score a good deal or two.

The places where you may shop most frequently are the neighborhood stores. There are convenient stores, mini-markets and drug stores within your vicinity that provide sufficient choices of daily necessities. The advantage of these stores over the larger shopping establishments is their proximity to the consumers. The quality of goods sold in these places depends on the affluence of the neighborhood and the prices are also determined according to this.

Designer stores are where shoppers of luxury goods go. At these places, the value of the brand and exclusiveness of the product contribute most significantly to the price. No doubt, the quality of designer items is excellent by all standards, but the prices are beyond just reasonable reflection of the quality. Truly wealthy shoppers are willing to pay exorbitant prices for a certain brand name, and they are perfectly aware that they are getting a fashion statement or a status symbol instead of just a plain piece of merchandise. In the designer world, it�s all about style, and the more expensive an item, the greater the attraction.

There are enough shopping options for all kinds of items. Whether you are shopping out of necessity or just for fun, you will discover a shopping place that will suit your purposes. Shopping is about choices, and with so many things to buy, no wonder it is such a favorite pastime.