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  1. Default Shopping along the way

    Hello to you all.

    First to say, great forum, very helpful.

    Me and my friend (we're from Croatia, Europe) are going to travel SF-LA-Vegas-I40 to Tulsa –Memphis-Nashville-St.Louis-Chicago from 25/3 to 17/4/2011. Everything is planned by now.

    Still, I would like to hear your opinion on where to do some outlet shopping along the way, various items: jacket, shoes, sneakers, jeans, some technical stuff like camera etc, suitcases etc…

    What do you think, where would that be least expensive, which state or city or some specific outlet or shopping malls?

    Thank you for the help.

    Best regards,
    Damir.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Basically all of the outlet malls in the US are run by the same handful of companies.

    Premium Outlet,
    and Tanger Outlet run the vast majority of them. There maybe a few others, and if you just do a search for outlet malls and then the name of a city you should find more information.

    I'll tell you that I'm not a big fan of outlet shopping, because I don't think you find that great of deals, and a lot of times the items are made especially for outlet stores and are of lower quality.

    The one exception - sometimes - is if you can find an outlet store that's actually located near an actual factory. That's going to require a bit more research to find the options for a specific product.

    For technical stuff especially, I think you'll find better deals online than you'll find in any store.

    Admittedly, I'm not much of a "shopper" and when I'm on the road I'm looking more for locally made products, so there may be others with more tips.

  3. Default

    Thanks MM.

    The thing is that we are on such tight schedule that we'll have only one chance for a big shopping. Like in January 2010 when we were in NY for 10 days; we spent some 5 hours in Jersey Gardens and if I have sold all the stuff I bought there, here in Croatia (on "outlet prices"), I would refund my complete trip. US are for that kind of shopping much cheaper than EU.

    I also know that I can best deals for technical stuff online, but there's also transport and customs duty in my country and that neutralizes the difference.

    That's why I'm searching for some variety-quality-economy ratio for overseas shopping and I wanted to know for example, is this kind of shopping generally cheaper in California or Nevada or Texas or Silicon Valley or in Vegas etc..., something like that, you know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    What you could do is wait till you get to Chicago and do your shopping just before you fly home. There are 2 large outlet malls west of the city - in North Aurora at the Farnsworth Avenue exit off I-88 and in Huntley at the IL-47 exit off I-90. The deals are not that great, but they are the typical "premium outlet" experience.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I'd guess that you'll find slightly cheaper prices in the middle of the country, but I really wouldn't expect it to be all that different. These are all chains, basically owned by the same company, selling the same stuff, so the prices are going to be about the same. They might spike up a bit in California where the general cost of living is a little higher, but I wouldn't expect a huge difference.

    Chicago would make sense so you don't have to haul your stuff around for your entire trip. In addition to the ones GLC mentioned, there are also 2 more north of the city along I-94 near the Wisconsin border. One is in Gurnee Mills, the other is in Pleasant Prairie (WI).

    Most outlet malls tend to be on the interstate about 45 minutes from a major city. There actually is a science to it - they want to be close enough that it is an easy drive, but far enough away that it is a destination that you go for shopping, and you'd feel like you've wasted time if you went all the way there without buying something!

    Because of that, you'll almost certainly pass a few of them while you are driving, although I couldn't pinpoint them.

  6. Default

    Thanks guys. No need to go in detail, I can easily find whatever address I'm looking for along the way.

    I just wanted to hear general opinion directly from a US citizen. It's like, for example, you coming to visit the countries of former Yugoslavia and asking me similar question. I would say, buy in Bosnia, eat in Sarajevo, party in Belgrade etc. I understand that the structure of US is different but there are always places cheaper/better for this and cheaper/better for that, in country in general or in each state individually.

    Btw, maybe in Nevada, Vegas? They need tourists, are the prices maybe better in general?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I know there are some of them in and around Vegas, I couldn't say if they are any better or worse price-wise.

    I think the thing you seem to be missing is that all of the outlet malls are designed specifically to be the same. It is very intentional that the experience you'd have at an outlet mall in California or Nevada would be the nearly the same as you'd have in Missouri or Illinois.

    There are plenty of regional differences across the US, it's just that Outlet Mall and Chain Store shopping are designed to negate those differences as much as possible.

  8. Default

    Then it's OK. Any outlet like Jersey Gardens will be good enough. I just need to have all what I need at one place, spend 2-3 hours and some money, and on my way.
    One more thing, as I will be arriving lightly packed in US, I will need to buy stuff in SF or LA. Any suggestions about all-in-one outlet malls, including technical stuff.
    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Both cities have outlet malls within an hour of downtown, just like the other cities. There are also "regular" malls that have large department stores such as Sears, JCPenneys, and Macy's. Those can be found inside the actual cities. You also have the option of large discount stores such as Walmart and Target, those are usually free-standing and not part of a mall complex.

  10. Default

    OK, at the end, there are outlet malls, regular malls (inside cities) and discount stores (Walmart etc.). Now, which can be most suitable for my need, with the best ratio variety-quality-economy?
    Under variety I mean different kind of merchandise: technical, housewares, luggage, department stores, shoes, sport equipment etc.
    Also possible discounts, sales etc. in that part of year (March and April).
    Thanks.

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