I like window-shopping especially in a new shopping centre, but I rarely waste time doing it. If I want to buy something, I’ll go in the largest hypermarket and buy it. In my family every morning it is my dad who buys everything that we need such as bread or rolls, milk, some cold cuts and the basic food for supper and breakfast. He always buys different products for my grandmother mostly which are quite heavy. Thus we don’t need to do week-end shopping as other families do.
I prefer shopping in the nearest super/hypermarket because it sells almost everything that a family needs. There you can get almost everything under one roof. Almost all supermarkets are self-service stores, which are really popular because you make your choice as you please. Another advantage of supermarkets is that they have lower prices than small shops. I suppose this is because bulk sale is cheaper. But sometimes they cut the price of certain goods so that people will come to them. These hypermarkets are owned and run by rich investigators thus the bigger fish eat the little fish. People who are in favour of small shops argue that their needs are much better looked after in a small shop and that the assistants are more polite and attentive when serving them. Smaller shops are mainly privately owned and their number is growing from month to month. These shops are the baker’s, butcher’s, confectioner’s, fruiterer’s, greengrocer’s, grocer’s, fishmonger’s etc. They always have fresh products, the bread is never stale or dry, the milk is never sour, and the service is always fast and polite. Anyway, I warn everybody against doing their big shopping on Friday or Saturday because on these days the bigger shops are full of customers. On Saturdays’ mornings you always have to queue up in front of the counters as well as the pay desks. Everybody is in a hurry, both buyers and shop assistants are nervous and there are often a lot of irritating remarks. They have got plastic baskets for the fewer goods and wire trolleys for customers who want to buy a lot. Young mothers often use them to push their babies in. The goods are tidily arranged on trays and long shelves on which the various prices are clearly marked or the goods themselves are labelled.
The first counter to your right is the fruit and vegetable counter with its fresh fruits, mainly the ones in season and tangerines, oranges, bananas, pineapples, pruned fruits like figs and dates, tinned fruit, marmalade and lots of different kinds of vegetables. Next we come to the confectionery shelves with all sorts of sweets, chocolate bars, cakes, biscuits, fancy cakes, boxes of chocolates, candied peanuts and stuffed sweets. Then comes the bakery counter, which is always well stocked with fresh white wheat and brown rye bread, rolls, croissants, buns, rusks, etc. after that we come to the wine counter, where dry and sweet wines (common table or vintage wines) are sold. Then comes the dry groceries shelves, where you buy flour, cereals, tea, spices, rice sugar (lump, castor, granulated or brown). Everything is sold ready packed. Vegetable and sunflower oils are sold ready-bottled. There is also a big dairy counter with a large variety of dairy products: sweet or salted butter, margarine, eggs, hard and soft cheese, full-fat or skimmed milk, sour cream, sweet cream and fruit yoghurts. Next to this is the delicatessen and smoked meats and sausages counter. This counter sells ready-to-serve foods such as roast chicken, prepared meats, French salads etc. Here one is offered a variety of sausages, ham, bacon, rolled beef, smoked pork, salami and other cold cuts. There is a special hall, where they sell meat and poultry, lard and other animal fats and offal. A special counter handles packed meats. Meat is sold here ready-weighed and packed in cling film. There is a wide choice of fat and lean pork, beef, veal and minced meat not to mention semi-prepared, ready-to-fry and ready-to-serve meats.
Before going shopping I take stock of our supplies then there is no need to run to the neighbour to borrow a bit of this or a little of that. After taking stock I draw up a shopping list and set out to do my shopping. I walk from shelf to shelf, filling my basket with the things I need. I have to think over what to buy because I can’t afford to buy all kinds of things I don’t need. After finishing shopping I go to the cash desk, where there is often a long queue. When it is my turn, the cashier adds up the bill on the cash register and gives me the receipt. I can pay today in cash, by credit card or with buying tickets. The easiest thing is to pay in cash, because paying with the buying tickets aren’t changed and if you pay by a credit card, make sure you know your pin-code and it is slower, too. The grand total is rounded whole. Then I pack the things I have bought into a shopping bag and leave the shop/supermarket. Meat is usually sold by the joint or slice, bread is by the loaf, flour, rice and salt by the packet, cream, yoghurt and milk by the carton, oil, juice, beer and wine by the bottle and you normally ask for a jar of jam or instant coffee, a tube of mustard or toothpaste, a packet of tea or cigarettes, a head of lettuce or cabbage, a bunch of grapes or bananas and a box of matches.
If an article, usually a durable consumer product, costs more than you can afford, you buy it on a hire-purchase. A majority of shops and stores offer facilities for credit buying. This means that you pay a cash deposit on the price of the article whether it is a car, a TV or a furniture, and pay the balance off in instalments over an agreed period of time. It is a widely used method of buying because it enables a lot of people to obtain things. The buyer signs a written agreement with the finance company which lends him the money at an agreed rate of interest. He is also asked to find someone to act as guarantor for the loan. The interest rates vary, but usually they are around 30 percent. The final price you pay depends on the size of initial cash deposit and the length of time over which payments are spread.
Other services: At the photographer‘s you can have your photo taken and if it’s urgent, they will do it in a few minutes. The photos from your family or anything may be enlarged, developed or you can have snapshots printed, too. The watchmaker repairs or sets your watch if it is slow or fast and he also changes the battery if it is run down. The shoemaker does the shoe heels or soles, patches or sews the upper leather of your shoes if they want repairing. I go to the dry-cleaner’s if I want to have any stains removed or if I want any of my clothes dyed from one colour to another. I rarely go to the barber’s where I have a haircut, shampoo and shave. I like having my hair cut myself instead of the barber’s not to mention it’s free. I used to go to the hairdresser and had my hair done according to the dictates of fashion. If the clothes do not fit well or we want to have a new suit made, a tailor or a dressmaker is needed. Ready-to-wear suits often do not fit; the jacket may be a bit broad in the shoulders or the trousers too long. They must be taken in or let out, turned up or let down. When buttons have come off, they have to be sewn on. We take our car for its usual MOT (Ministry of Transport) to the local garage, where the car mechanic gives it a check-up and repairs any parts that don’t work properly.
Our central department store in our town is a two-storey building where you can buy several thousand items of consumer goods. All the best-known products are usually in stock. On the ground floor you will find jewellery, haberdashery, sports articles, toys, perfumery, household goods and leather goods. The second floor is taken up by ready-made clothes for men and women and a nice assortment of underwear. You will also find coats for all season wear (fur coats, overcoats, waterproofs, raincoats) and footwear (boots, slippers, sandals, and high-heeled shoes) as well as textiles, drapery, millinery counters, cameras, musical records.
If you would like to buy clothes first you should ask the shop assistant to show you some. She will show you some of pieces, which you can try on in the changing room. If it fits you then you buy it otherwise you can ask another one e.g. in a larger size.
The central post office in our town occupies a huge, old building. It has a lot of services e.g. it maintains connection with our relatives/friends living far away from us (drop a letter or a postcard); you can subscribe to newspapers or magazines; you can buy stamps, post-cards or envelopes; you can send money by money order or cheque; you can also post a parcel. These things have changed a lot recently, to be more precise they have become more simple and faster.
In front of it you see public telephone boxes mainly for long-distance calls. To tell you the truth a few people use them, because today almost everybody has got a mobile phone (See further details below). When you enter the lobby there are some post-boxes where we can post our letters or postcards; we take it for granted that the postman will deliver it to the right place. On the right side there is a newspapers and magazines counter, which sells the latest issues of all dailies, weeklies, annuals. There is a sale of stamps counter, too where you can buy stamps, coins, postcards, letter writing paper and envelopes. When you enter the main hall you see rows of counters and bottom of them a sign or a topic, which helps you how to find the one you want. The first is marked parcel post, which handles all parcels and packages. There is a parcel balance where your parcel is weighed. You must fill in a parcel form before posting it. At all other counters you can send money by money order or cheque; take up money; post letters, telegrams, postcards; pay your rent or bills for gas, electricity, telephones. There is also a savings bank section, where you can keep a savings account or buy bonds. Packets and parcels can be sent by parcel post or if they are not too big, by letter post. Letter post is quicker. A letter can be registered or sent by recorded delivery, which means that the person who receives it must sign it. If a letter is urgent, you send it express or â€˜air mail’ and pay a bit more for the postage. In Hungary we write the addressee’s name on the right-hand side of the envelope in the middle. Right underneath we write the town, street and house number. In the bottom right-hand corner we write the postal code of the town or village the addressee lives in. The sender’s name and address go in the left-hand corner of the envelope.
Nowadays people send letters less and less in a normal form than before, because a new technique was born. It’s called â€˜e-mail‘ and sent on the internet by electronic form. It is quite similar to its forefather, but it is quicker and more modern. You can create a free e-mail address; you only have to register on the suitable web-site. There is a window where you can write the subject of the letter, the addressee’s e-mail address or and there is a copy box where you can pick a name of your friend hereby he’ll receives â€˜a copy’ from it; you can add some files that you want to send and of course there is more space for the text itself. This service has been quite widespread because most companies and households have got personal computers with Internet connection.
Phone: We are on the phone at home. It has been installed for years and since then it has been much easier for us to sort out things. Our telephone hasn’t, but most of them have an answer-phone system, which if we aren’t at home would automatically answer telephone calls and record any message (which is) left by the caller. In my opinion telephone is a marvellous invention.
Traditional telephoning: If you want to make a telephone call, first step is to pick up the receiver and wait for the dialling tone. Then you insert a twenty-forint coin into the slot and begin dialling the number. If you are calling a place in the same area you just dial the number, but if it is in another area you dial first the code for that area. Then when you hear a sort of musical sound you dial the particular number. For these long-distance calls the charge is usually higher. A high tone buzzing means the line is engaged. I hang up and my coin is returned. Then I try again. If you are hearing a pay tone of rapid pips, it means you have to insert more money otherwise they will get cut off and you can start the operation all over again. If you have misdialled, you have to apologise and say â€˜sorry, wrong number’. If the number is unobtainable, it means that you must have dialled no the correct number and a machine tells you â€˜the dialled number is not in use’. When you have been put through you hold on till somebody at the other end of the line answers the phone. He will say â€˜Hallo, this is Mr. X speaking’. Then you can give your name and actually your connection is come off (or you say who you would like to talk to).
As the matter of fact, it is an old-fashioned process to make a phone call in a telephone box. Nowadays most people have got a mobile phone (moving/portable phone), which maintains connections you almost anywhere. These receivers are bought in different sizes and there are three big suppliers in Hungary from which you can choose. On one hand you can be a subscriber and then you have to pay your bill monthly or on the other hand you can be a post-paid costumer. The procedure of the answering itself is almost the same as the old method but of course a coin isn’t needed. However, there is one thing that can cause a problem when you are in such a place where there is no reception.
Internet: The word itself is widespread all over the world. It means â€˜network of networks’ and it is a spacious system, which contains lots of computer-networks. In fact, you can send files to anywhere with its help, there are a lot of computer needed operations like sending e-mails, downloading files, buying things with credit card and mostly it delivers lots of information if you are â€˜surfing on the net’. There are some internet browsers which must be installed on your PC and then you can type a web-site address that you want to see.
Készítette: Somogyi Péter