Shopping While on Road Trip in the USA- Part 1
I am incredibly happy and proud that my blog is read by quite a few Americans. What I am about to write now will certainly be very obvious for all of you dear US Spenders. Believe it or not, this is not the case for most of the overseas folks visiting the US and looking for some bargains. So here it is: the unmissable US Bargain hunts’ trinity of stores: TJMaxx, Marshalls and Ross (in the order of my preference, btw).
Now that you know these names, while you are in the US, keep your eyes open, and you will see any of these literally everywhere: starting New York Manhattan, ending up in the middle of nowhere and seen from highway while on your road trip through this enormous country.
Pretty much every department store complex in the US has at least one of those stores and they will generally be some of the largest stores you will see. They all seem to be related as some stuff will be the same regardless of the store you will visit, yet some will be better than the others.
Don’t expect luxury experience and fancy interior. These stores are large and very basic.
Yes, you may see a lot of rubbish there and not everything is top class merchandise, BUT, these stores most certainly will have also quite some really good things for unbeatable prices which definitely make it worthwhile to visit them. Have a look what you can expect in each of this bargain’s trinity:
TJMaxx is perhaps my favourite from the three. Interior is generally a bit better than in Marshalls or Ross and merchandise seems to be in a better shape. Whereas you may encounter TJMaxx outside of the US too (e.g. London), US stores are the real thing and you will certainly have the best selection and deals there only.
Along with some lesser known brands, you can expect some Calvin Klein (underwear, dresses, cardigans), Ralph by Ralph Lauren or Ralph Lauren Sports (shirts, polos), Tommy Hilfiger (blouses, t-shirts, polos, shorts), Michael Kors (blouses). Average price: 20-30 USD per piece.
Shoes section often has Calvin Klein, Ralph by Ralph Lauren, New Balance, Converse and alike. Average price is in the range of 30 USD.
Don’t count on it, but keep your eyes open for some great cosmetic deals: TJMaxx often has Elizabeth Arden for around half of regular retail price and occasionally, Shiseido– also for half retail’s price! Same goes for perfumes: you may encounter Calvin Klein, Chloé, Marc Jacobs and alike for half retail price, priced at 15 USD and up. Not bad at all!
My second favourite is Marshalls.
For whatever reason, it seems Marshalls is the best represented in terms of presence across the US from all the three and chances are you will bump into Marshalls much more often than the other two.
It is very similar to TJMaxx, selection and prices are almost identical. Almost. Not fully. Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren also here. Shoes as well. Cosmetics also (look for perfumes, Elizabeth Arden and Shiseido!).
Check out their luggage section for some occasional Samsonite they may have and home goods’ section for Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein bedsheets (priced in the range of 30 USD) or tablecloths (around 10 USD).
Ross seems to be a bit of a poor stepchild.
The stores are the most basic from all the three and selection is not as great as in TJMaxx and Marshalls in terms of brands. These seem to be a bit of lower range. Said that, you will encounter some Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein and the prices will be at their lowest possible. Don’t expect fancy cosmetics though.
These finds prove that you can get some pretty basic but good stuff there, so it is worth a visit. Compare original vs Ross price by enlarging these pics (click on each to do so):
All in all, if your plan while shopping in the US is to stock up with some basic US brand’s stuff- start you search in any or all the three of those stores. Since they are huge, don’t expect to be done quickly as you will need to go through a lot of stuff- with some patience, it is very likely you will end up with some quite good bargains though! Definitely unbeatable in terms of prices compared to anywhere else in the world!
Coming up next for your shopping in the US: shoes and a glimpse of luxury.