Expats Shopping in the USA
What do all expats do when returning from a US visit… they shop. There is always something a person living abroad wants that they can’t get in their new country of residence. Most likely it’s some electronics, a food specialty item or clothes. Clothes seem to be what I always hear that people bring back. I don’t think there’s any place in the world that has such a large selection with inexpensive prices as the United States. For me, because of where I live, size plays a role. The people are much smaller in stature. As a result, the largest men’s shoe size is a 10. My point is that there are all kinds of reasons why expats bring back with them that second suitcase full. If you are like us, you go to the US with a suitcase inside a suitcase just to have room to bring things back.
My most recent three-week US trip ended with a day of shopping in Miami. So, we decided to go to the famous Sawgrass Mill Outlet Mall. This mall has over 350 stores including the very high-end ones like Gucci and my favorite Columbia Sportswear. We know people that live in South American countries that just fly in the Miami to go shopping, and then they go home. The hotels around the airport are very accommodating to shoppers. Consequently, they don’t mind having Amazon.com orders sent to them. We stayed at the Hyatt House near the airport and had a box sent to our hotel and I saw one lady picking up her 20-30 boxes of Amazon stuff.
The mall is about a 40-minute drive from the Miami International Airport and has shuttles that go to 200 hotels in the Miami area. The Sawgrass Mill Mall is set up for people who are buying to take back with them. As a result, the mall is full of people wheeling their suitcases with them. Hence, they take them right into the stores, make their purchases, and put them in the suitcase. If you don’t need a suitcase, they rent carts, somewhat like you get in an airport. Only these have a built in seat for that tired spouse. I ended up buying a rolling duffel bag that was capable of holding 50 pounds of clothes for $35. And by the end of the day, I was one of those tourists pulling their day’s bounty behind them.
Spending a Day in the Mall
This mall is meant for people to be at the entire day. Therefore, in this mall, you can get a foot or chair massage, teeth whitening, or a chiropractic adjustment just to name a few. There is a huge food court and lots of other typical mall food treats. How many people remember Orange Julius? I haven’t had one of those in 30 years. It seems that Dairy Queen owns them now. I couldn’t resist and had one. Later in the day, I came across a Hagen Daas kiosk. They don’t sell that in Ecuador. As a result, I had to have a taste to bring back those comfort food memories.
After a long day at the mall and a stomach full of memories, we went back to the hotel to get ready for an early flight home the next day. Of Course, we spent the next two hours figuring out how to balance all we purchased into suitcases of no more than 50 pounds each. Too bad we weren’t flying a higher class where we could get 70 lbs, would have made packing for these expats, so much easier.
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