Consignment Shopping―Used is the New ‘New’

Consignment shopping, once thought of as embarrassing and shameful, has now become the chic and fashionable way to shop. No longer do we have to hide and sneak our used purchases from our friends and family. We can now hold our heads up high and proudly exclaim to all the great bargains we have just acquired.

Back in the day, consignment shops were dingy little stores with low lighting and dusty merchandise. The tightening of the purse strings has led to an evolution of the consignment business. Many of the new resale stores are more like boutiques. These places usually accept only new or very gently used items that are up-to-date and trendy. Items are usually priced at one-third of the original cost. You can get a lot more bang for your buck.

Getting a bargain is only part of the appeal of the consignment store. Not only do we save money and get great things, we can also make money by taking in our clothing and furniture and other items that we no longer use. Most resale shops give you 30-60% of the selling price once your items sell. That’s a lot of cash just for getting rid of things that you no longer want! To stretch that bargain even further, you can then turn around and buy things that you DO want from the same consignment store for a discounted price.

In addition to the bargains and the money, another huge appeal is its impact on the environment. The state of the environment is on everyone’s minds these days. Everywhere you turn you hear about reducing your carbon footprint and how to make things more ‘green’. When you buy and sell on consignment, you are doing your part to try to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills. Why throw away a perfectly good sofa or pair of jeans that you just purchased last year and are either sick of, or they just don’t fit anymore? More than hundred thousand tons of unwanted goods and gadgets get thrown away each year. Recycling your unwanted items and buying others’ diminishes these numbers vastly.

Most importantly, consignment shopping is fun and exciting! It’s like going on a treasure hunt. You aren’t looking through rows and rows of the same boring stuff that you would find in the malls. Most are organized by size, color, or style. Each item that you look at is different from the last. These stores often receive items that were originally purchased from all parts of the world and somehow landed in your neighborhood. You could be the only person on your block to own one of these jewels.

There is no other place you can shop, earn money, be green, and have fun at the same time! You can find your local consignment shops by going online or looking in your area yellow pages. They are so popular these days, most cities and towns have them, and new ones are cropping up every day.

Shopping Malls

Previously, there were exclusive shopping centers where a customer could move around the quaint shops or blocks and choose whatever he or she fancied. A shopping mall is no different, its only larger. It is a building or sometimes a set of buildings, with a number of retail outlets. The difference lies in the interconnecting corridors or walks that enable customers to access each unit and move back and forth, if needed, before investing in any particular product or service. The visitors can walk from unit to unit and relax at the in-between sit-outs or snack bars as they shop! Malls are also referred to as retail parks or precincts.

Products and Services Available

Shopping malls are either enclosed retail structures or open-air retail complexes. They flaunt a mix of local shops and international chain stores. They make available easy access to a number of products and services like apparel, electronic items, footwear, accessories, exclusive jewelry, beauty products, and even services! Arcades also enable the shoppers to lounge around, listen to music, entrust children to a play pen, and enjoy a snack or a beverage as they shop. The whole shopping experience has been redefined. It is now a family affair and no more cumbersome even for dad! He gets space to continue work on the laptop or sip on hot chocolate or a lemonade, as mom drains his bank balance!

Types

The early indoor mall was usually two or three-story, complete with a basement and shops located on all levels. Today, the difference is the vertical expansion; it have many more levels. The in-house utilities and the variety has increased too. The concept of the enclosed mall was experimented on and pioneered by the American immigrant from Austria, Victor Gruen. This new generation arcade is an open-air pedestrian shopping center enclosed to enhance the appeal and experience within the dense, new, sprawling, and large residential suburbs. Today there are complexes that are agglomerations and literally, distinct landmarks. The malls today have hundreds of retail centers and speciality stores.

Pedestrian Precincts

A mall is also a term used to refer to a place that has a collection of outlets, adjoining a pedestrian area. This enables the shoppers to walk around and check out the products and services without interference from vehicle traffic. Usually, the term arcade is also used for such an arrangement with a narrow pedestrian-only street between closely spaced buildings. The trend is to create the shopping centers within old shopping districts, surrounded by subsidiary streets. The retail parks comprise warehouse style shops with individual entrances and accessibility from the outdoors. The pedestrian precincts also have hundreds of shops, restaurants, and screen cinema avenues.

Components

Shopping malls now have exclusive food courts that offer different cuisine. The food court enables the shoppers to order the snack or meal and carry it to a common dining area. These venues are usually plaza contiguous, flaunting counters of a number of food vendors. Malls have their own underground or adjacent parking facilities, not to side-line the valet parking services. They also have segments within the main basement or the entrance arena to look after toddlers. The adolescents can indulge in the cyber cafes or the gaming arcades within. There are masseur services and make overs regularly announced, along with DJ music! Malls are weather-protected and offer the ultimate ‘under-one-roof’ shopping experience.

A shopping property management company specializes in managing malls. This management is welcomed by the retailers who either own the shops or rent them, since the functionality of the utilities, like the escalators and elevators, are taken care of by the management firm.