Theme 18: Shopping

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Do you often go shopping for personal items?
Maxine: When I can afford it yes … my college is in the city centre and I do a lot of window shopping … but being a student I’m on a tight budget so I have to be careful with money …

Examiner: Are there many shops where you live?
Jenny: We’ve got a few local shops nearby and a few independent stores but none of the big high street names … I have to go into town for them  …

Examiner: Do you enjoy shopping?
Marco: It depends … I hate it when the sales are on … crowds of people all trying to snap up a bargain … I find it all a bit stressful … I also get annoyed when shop assistants try to give me the hard sell when all I want to do is look around …

Part 2-style task

Describe a time when you bought something for someone. You should say

  • when this was
  • what is was you bought
  • who you bought it for

and say how you felt about buying it for them.

Coleen:  I’d like to tell you about the time … about four years ago … my husband and I bought a computer for our daughter  … she was about to go to university and we’d promised her we would treat her to one … at the time there had been a big advertising campaign for the latest Apple Macbook and our daughter was very keen to have one … she kept telling us they were value for money … even though they seemed very expensive to us … anyway we tried to shop around to see if we could pick up a bargain … this was in the middle of the summer sales and wherever you went prices were being slashed on big brand names … but unfortunately not Apple products … we ended up having to pay the full price … I remember my daughter justifying the cost by pointing out how nice the Apple carrier bag was … but it was lovely to see her so excited and the customer service she’s received during the four years she’s had it has been excellent … so it was value for money after all …

Part 3-style questions

Examiner:  Do you think we will stop using paper money in the future?
Louisa: I think it’s almost certain … at the moment it’s still possible to pay in cash but I’m sure this will change … the problem is people are more likely to get into debt and run up a credit card billwhen this happens.

Examiner: How do companies encourage the consumer to spend their money?
Peter: Well … a recent development in my country is something called ‘Black Friday’ where people are encouraged to shop until they drop and buy the latest must-have products … then there are things like loyalty cards to get the customer back in the store …

Examiner: What do you think shops need to do to create a positive shopping experience?
Tania: The main thing for me is not being pressurised to buy … I appreciate that shop assistants are probably on commission but if I’m looking for clothes for example I like to take my time … to try something on … and to ask for help if I need it …

Definitions

  • advertising campaign: a series of advertisements to persuade people to buy something
  • big brand names: large well-known companies or product names
  • to be careful with money: to not over-spend
  • carrier bag: bags (usually plastic) supplied by shops
  • customer service: the degree to which customers are treated well
  • to get into debt: to owe money
  • to give someone the hard sell: to put pressure on someone to buy something
  • high street names: well-known shops
  • independent stores: small shops independent of large companies
  • local shops: community shops
  • loyalty card: a card issued by a shop to allow customers to save money on the basis of what they spend
  • must-have product: a product that is very popular that a lot of people want to have
  • to be on a tight budget: to have a limited amount of money to spend
  • to be on commission: to pay someone in relation to the amount they sell
  • a pay in cash: to pay for something using coins or paper money
  • to pay the full price: to pay the full amount for something
  • to pick up a bargain: to buy something much cheaper than the normal price
  • to run up a credit card bill: to owe money on a credit card
  • to shop around: to try different shops to find the best deal
  • shop assistant: the person who serves customers
  • to shop until you drop: to do a lot of shopping
  • to slash prices: to reduce prices a great deal
  • to snap up a bargain: to buy something quickly that is being sold cheaply
  • summer sales: a period in the year when things are sold cheaply
  • to try something on: to see if an item of clothing fits or is suitable
  • to be value for money: to be worth the cost
  • window shopping: to visit a store to look at items without the intention of buying anything

 

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