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0941 Types of Shopping Areas

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 941 – Types of Shopping Areas.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 941. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Go to ESLPod.com and download a Learning Guide for our episodes. You can do that by becoming a member of ESL Podcast.

This episode is going to be about places where you can go and buy things. Sounds like fun. Let's get started.

[start of dialogue]

Sarah: Come on! We only have two more hours before the stores close, and I want to make it to the outlet stores.

Aidan: I thought that when you asked if I wanted to spend the day together, you meant we’d go somewhere for lunch, go to a movie, or just hang out.

Sarah: Isn’t this much more fun? Shopping centers are like Disneyland!

Aidan: This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

Sara: Just look. You have two shopping malls, retail stores, outlet stores, department stores, and specialty stores. What more could you want?

Aidan: That’s great for you, but what am I supposed to do?

Sarah: You can come with me, watch me try on clothes, and help me decide what to buy. Come on, I want to go to those stores in the strip mall over there.

Aidan: Why don’t I just find a place to get a snack and wait for you? I’m just dead weight when it comes to shopping.

Sarah: But I thought you wanted to spend the day together.

Aidan: I did, but I didn’t know I’d have to go to shopping hell to do it.

[end of dialogue]

Sarah begins by saying to Aidan, “Come on! We only have two more hours before the stores close, and I want to make it to the outlet stores.” “Come on” is something you say to someone when you want them, in this case, to come with you, to get moving. Sarah says they have only two more hours before the stores close, and she wants to “make it to the outlet stores.” “To make it” there means to get there before they close. An “outlet (outlet) store” is a store that sells a famous company or a famous brand’s clothing at a lower price, at a discounted price. An outlet store could, for example, sell things by Gucci or by one of the big fashion designers, but they sell it at a very low price compared to what you would normally pay for it.

Aidan says, “I thought that when you asked if I wanted to spend the day together, you meant we’d go somewhere for lunch, go to a movie, or just hang out.” Sarah invited Aiden to spend the day with her. Aidan thought it was going to be doing something fun like going to a movie or just hanging out. “To hang (hang) out” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to spend time with another person in a relaxed way without really any plans, without trying to get anything done. You may just go and sit with this person and talk.

Sarah says, “Isn't this much more fun?” That is, isn’t going shopping more fun? “Shopping centers are like Disneyland.” A shopping center is an area where you have many different stores that are close to each other. Usually, shopping centers have a big place for you to park, a parking lot or a building where you can park. At least, here in Los Angeles that's what all the shopping centers have.

Disneyland is a theme park – an entertainment park – in Southern California, not too far from Los Angeles, where people I guess go and have a good time. Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and other Disney characters can be found at Disneyland. What Sarah is referring to here is a very fun place to go. That's why she says shopping centers are like Disneyland. It's just like going to Disneyland; you can have just as much fun.

Aidan doesn't agree. He says, “This wasn't exactly what I had in mind.” “To have something in mind” (mind) is a common expression meaning to be thinking about a particular thing. Someone says, “I want to go to a new restaurant,” and you say, “Well, what did you have in mind?” What were you thinking of? What ideas did you have? Sarah says, “Just look. You have two shopping malls, retail stores, outlet stores, department stores, and specialty stores. What more could you want?” Sarah is explaining to Aidan why this place that they have gone to is so interesting and so exciting.

She's pointing to all of these different places, saying, “Just look” – just look at all of these places. “You have two shopping malls.” A “shopping mall” (mall) is a shopping center that is all in one big building. A “shopping center” is typically, or can be, a place where you walk outside to get from store to store. There are several buildings next to each other, usually with a parking lot in front for cars. A “shopping mall” is a huge building where you don't have to walk outside to go from one store to another.

The original concept of shopping malls began in part in my home state of Minnesota. Because it's so cold during the winter, they wanted to build a place where people could go shopping and not have to walk outside to go from one store to another. That's at least one of the reasons why they built shopping malls. Now there are shopping malls all over the United States and all over the world. Usually when we use the term “shopping mall,” we’re always referring to one of these large buildings. When we say “shopping center” we are usually talking about a place where you have to walk outside to get from store to store.

A “retail store” is really any store that sells anything to anyone who comes in the door. The word “retail” (retail) is used to distinguish it from a wholesale store. A “wholesale (wholesale) store” is a place where you have to be a business or belong to a large group in order to buy things, and typically when you do buy things, you can buy them at a discount. The idea, then, is that you would buy these things and then sell them to someone else at a retail store. So, a “wholesale store” is sort of a store for other stores.

Nowadays, however, things have gotten more confusing. You'll see stores that will sell to individual members of the public, individual people, but call themselves a “wholesale store” or “wholesale outlet.” The word “wholesale” is associated in people's minds with a discount – a lower price – and that's why we have now retail stores that sell to individuals and wholesale stores that sell to individuals.

Sarah goes on and talks about the other kinds of shopping areas. She mentions “department stores.” A “department store” is a large store in a single building that sells a lot of different kinds of things. They might sell clothing; they might sell appliances for your kitchen; they might sell gym equipment; they might sell jewelry. All of these different products are in one single building, in one single store. That's a “department store.” There are different sections or “departments” that sell different things within the store.

A “specialty store” is a store that sells only one kind of item, often something that is very specific. For example, it might be a store that sells Rolex watches – a very expensive watch – and that's all they sell. It’s just that kind of watch. That would be a very good example of a “specialty store.” Sarah asks Aidan, “What more could you want?” This is an expression meaning “This is everything. This is the best. How can you possibly want to do anything else or want anything else?” Aidan says, “That's great for you, but what am I supposed to do?” “Supposed to do” here means expected to do.

Sarah says, “You can come with me, watch me try on clothes, and help me decide what to buy.” “To try on” clothes is a phrasal verb meaning to put them on in the store to see if you want to buy them. Most stores that sell clothing will allow you to put the clothing on to see if it looks good on you. When I do that, the clothes never look good on me. The idea is that if you can try them on, you will be more likely to buy them. Sarah is telling Aidan that she is going to go and try on clothes, and Aidan can watch her and help her decide which clothes to buy.

“Come on,” she says, “I want to go to those stores in the strip mall over there.” The word “strip” (strip) can have a couple of different meanings in English. It can mean to take your clothes off. It can also refer to a long narrow piece of some material. The term “strip mall” refers to a small shopping center that is usually just one small strip of buildings, maybe four or five buildings, or four or five stores in a single building all next to each other with a small parking lot out in front. So, a “strip mall” is a kind of shopping center that is very small; often it just has five or six stores in it.

Aidan says, “Why don't I just find a place to get a snack and wait for you?” A “snack” would be a small something to eat. He says, “I’m just dead weight when it comes to shopping.” The term “dead weight” (weight) refers to someone or something that is making the situation more difficult because either the person or the thing doesn't really help very much, doesn't really add anything. In fact, it slows things down, perhaps. That would be “dead weight.” If you say “He was dead weight,” you mean he didn't help very much. It was more of a burden to have him there than if he were not there. Aidan says he's “dead weight when it comes to shopping,” meaning regarding or related to shopping.

Sarah says, “But I thought you wanted to spend the day together.” Aidan says, “I did” – meaning I did want to spend the day together – “but I didn't know I'd have to go to (a) shopping hell to do it.” A “shopping hell” (hell) would be a terrible place to go. “Hell” is the opposite of “heaven.” In certain religious traditions, especially in the Christian religious tradition, “hell” is where you go if you don't go to heaven, or at least if you're not eventually going to go to heaven.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Sarah: Come on! We only have two more hours before the stores close, and I want to make it to the outlet stores.

Aidan: I thought that when you asked if I wanted to spend the day together, you meant we’d go somewhere for lunch, go to a movie, or just hang out.

Sarah: Isn’t this much more fun? Shopping centers are like Disneyland!

Aidan: This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

Sara: Just look. You have two shopping malls, retail stores, outlet stores, department stores, and specialty stores. What more could you want?

Aidan: That’s great for you, but what am I supposed to do?

Sarah: You can come with me, watch me try on clothes, and help me decide what to buy. Come on, I want to go to those stores in the strip mall over there.

Aidan: Why don’t I just find a place to get a snack and wait for you? I’m just dead weight when it comes to shopping.

Sarah: But I thought you wanted to spend the day together.

Aidan: I did, but I didn’t know I’d have to go to shopping hell to do it.

[end of dialogue]

When it comes to writing scripts, there is no one better than our own scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse. From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2013 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
outlet store – a store that sells discounted (with lower-than-usual prices) items of a single brand, usually because those items did not sell well in regular stores

* The outlet stores have a lot of clothes that were trendy last season.

to hang out – to spend time with another person in a relaxed, informal way without any clear purpose or goal

* I have a few hours before my next class. Do you want to hang out at the park for a while?

shopping center – an area with many stores that are close to each other

* This shopping center has everything you could need: a grocery store, a drugstore, a home improvement store, and office supply store, and a pet store.

to have (something) in mind – to be thinking about a particular thing

* I heard you want to organize a surprise birthday party for Geraldo. What do you have in mind?

shopping mall – a very large building with many stores in one building, so that people can walk between stores without going outside, usually with a food court (an area with many fast-food restaurants)

* The shopping malls are really crowded in the weeks before Christmas, because everybody is buying presents then.

retail store – a store where products are sold to individuals at normal prices

* Retail stores are struggling to compete with online stores.

department store – a large store that sells many different types of things in different areas, such as women’s clothing, men’s clothing, children’s clothing, shoes, accessories, makeup and perfume, jewelry, textiles (sheets and towels) and household goods

* When Brenda and Michael got engaged, they went to a department store and made a list of all the things they would like to receive as wedding gifts.

specialty store – a store that sells a particular type of thing that may not interest all consumers, but has many different varieties of the product and the salespeople have a lot of knowledge about it

* This is a specialty store that sells comic books and superhero figures.

supposed to do – expected to do

* What are teachers supposed to do when students arrive at school hungry and tired?

to try on – to put on a piece of clothing to determine whether it fits well and looks nice, so that one can decide whether to buy it

* Do you have a room where I can try on this dress?

strip mall – a group of stores and restaurants that are connected or are very close to each other along a busy road with a lot of parking spaces in front

* All these strip malls look the same: a grocery store, a few restaurants, a bank, and hair salons.

dead weight – someone or something that makes a situation more difficult and does not add any value or provide any assistance; a burden (heavy weight) that must be carried, but has no worth

* When Jambo was hired as the new CEO, his first goal was to “eliminate the dead weight” by firing unnecessary employees.

when it comes to – regarding; related to

* When it comes to spreadsheets, nobody is as talented as Kawika.

hell – the opposite of heaven; the place where bad people go after they die; a very unpleasant, uncomfortable place or situation

* Ingrid has always loved being active and spending time outdoors, so sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day is her idea of hell.

Comprehension Questions
1. Where would you expect to find the lowest prices?
a) An outlet store.
b) A department store.
c) A specialty store.

2. Why does Aidan call himself “dead weight when it comes to shopping”?
a) Because he doesn’t have enough money to buy anything.
b) Because he’s not good at giving advice about what to buy.
c) Because he thinks shopping is bad for his health.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to have (something) in mind

The phrase “to have (something) in mind,” in this podcast, means to be thinking about a particular thing: “When you mentioned a destination wedding, I had in mind a beautiful tropical beach, not an active volcano!” The phrase “to make up (one’s) mind” means to decide between two or more thing: “Do you want to go the mountains or the coast? Make up your mind!” The phrase “to change (one’s) mind” means to change one’s opinion about something: “Why did you change your mind about the paint color?” The phrase “to turn (something) over in (one’s) mind” means to think about something for a long time: “Let me turn your proposal over in my mind for a few days and then get back to you.”

dead weight

In this podcast, the phrase “dead weight” means someone or something that makes a situation more difficult and does not add any value or provide any assistance: “I wish Marilyn would stop dating Chuck. He’s just dead weight.” The phrase “to pull (one’s) weight” means to do one’s share of the work: “We will not tolerate team members who don’t pull their weight.” The phrase “to throw (one’s) weight around” means to use one’s position or authority to boss other people around and tell them what to do: “You may be a vice-president and throw your weight around at work, but here at home we’re all equals, so wash those dishes!” Finally, the phrase “to take the weight off (one’s) feet” means to sit down: “Wow, you look like you’ve had a long day. Take the weight off your feet and I’ll bring you a glass of iced tea.”

Culture Note
Mixed-Use Developments

In recent years, many part of the United States have seen a “trend” (increase or decrease in the popularity of something over time) toward “mixed-use developments,” or areas where buildings and structures have “residential” (related to homes), “commercial” (related to businesses), “retail” (related to sales), “recreational” (related to playing and relaxation), and “industrial” (related to manufacturing) uses. For example, buildings might have offices or retail stores on the first floor, and apartments on upper floors.

Mixed-use developments are “a departure from” (different from) the very “strict” (rigid, defined, and inflexible) “zoning” used in many parts of the United States in the past. These “zoning plans” allowed only a particular type of use in a single area, so residential areas would be separate from office areas and retail areas.

Mixed-use developments offer many advantages over single-use zones. For example, they “tend to have” (usually have) a greater variety of housing and they encourage “greater population density” (a higher number of people living in a certain area). People usually have shorter “commutes” (transportation between home and work) because they live closer to their workplaces. Mixed-use developments are generally more “pedestrian-friendly” (safer and more comfortable for people who walk instead of drive).

However, mixed-use developments are generally more expensive, and they are a “riskier” (with a greater chance of not succeeding) investments, because all the different “intended” (uses) must be able to “stay in business” (remain open; continue to be operational) over time. Mixed-use developments often have limited parking spaces, which can create traffic problems unless there is a good system of public transportation.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - b