My experience with shopping LA has been mixed. The first couple of weeks here really sucked because it was the holidays. Any store would be slammed in a highly populated city. So I couldn't really blame the stores for being crowded.
Now that I've been here a few months and have at least navigated through my part of town, I feel a little more able to avoid some traffic and do what I call "strategic shopping." I take what the city has to offer and use it to my advantage.
Let me give you an example:
- When I want a good cut of pork, some fresh made salsa or handmade tortillas, I go to the Ralph's grocery store on Pico. It's in a Hispanic/ Latino neighborhood and is very well stocked in all things related to Mexican food.
- When it was the holidays and I wanted some good beef and little crowds, I hit the grocery store in the Jewish neighborhood. It was less full of Christmas crowds and had a great selection of various beef cuts--plus fantastic corned beef. I'm in; I'm out; I'm happy.
- For a quarter, I can park on the street in front of Trader Joe's without having to circle the crowded parking lot for 20 minutes. I can also park within 20 feet of the front door and be able to get in without raising my blood pressure. It's worth the 25 cents for my peace of mind.
- If I'm lucky enough to convince Chef to hit an outlet mall with me, I should look at the list of stores and narrow my focus to the ones where I would have the highest likelihood of getting the best deal. For example, an H&M or Old Navy outlet store, while intriguing, would not necessarily provide me with a much deeper discount than their regular stores. However, a Coach or Nine West outlet could provide me with some real savings. Such was the case today when I celebrated my new job (details to come in another post) with a deeply discounted Coach purse. It's purple and gorgeous (picture below).
Those are some of my first LA lessons in strategic shopping. I'm sure I'll come up with many more as I spend more time here. And until then, I'll patiently wait for some female friends --either new or old-- to do some shopping with.