Tuesday, April 22, 2014

His - Living in America - Shopping Centres / Malls

When I lived in Australia it was possible to go to a shopping centre, park the car once, and get everything I need from one place. In America that is near impossible unless the Super Walmart happens to have everything you want in stock (which is rare as it seems like they are always out of at least one item that you want).

A typical shopping centre in Australia has a similar layout to malls in Australia, but they serve a different purpose. The main function of an American mall is mainly for discretionary spending including clothing, shoes, entertainment and restaurants. In Australia, a shopping centre serves the same purpose, but also fulfills everyday shopping needs as well. Read on as I explain how: 

Shopping trolleys at a mall? In Australia that is not unusual.
Supermarkets: Every shopping centre has at least one supermarket as an anchor store. As you enter the shopping centre you will see many people pushing their trolley full of groceries out to their car. Supermarkets in our part of America have their own building and parking lot and are not inside a mall.

Underground Parking: I am not a fan of grocery shopping at the best of times, but I really hate it when it is pouring down rain. This is not as big an issue in many shopping centres in Australia as most offer underground parking. Many shopping centres have built a couple of parking levels below the stores so patrons can park undercover and not get wet when it is raining outside. While this is convenient it can also be tricky to find a parking spot on a weekend when the weather is nasty outside.

One Stop Shopping: A trip to a shopping centre in Australia can truly be a one stop for all of your needs. In addition to supermarkets it is common to have a chemist store (which is the same thing as a drug store), a butcher store, a bakery, a Newsagent (similar to a Newsstand/book store that you find in most American airports), and a post office. Many of the larger centres also have at least one large discount department store such a K-Mart, Target or Big W (similar to Wal-Mart). Many of them still have travel agencies which is something I haven't seen in a U.S mall in many years. It really was set up that you could park once and then go from store to store and get everything you could possibly need which was always nice.

Source - The parking ticket machine at Charlestown Square in Australia.

In America if you needed to go to the post office, the grocery store and the drug store you would have to make at least two stops and they would probably be miles apart and on opposite sides of a busy road. Although I have greater choice and flexibility in store hours (most stores in Australia close by 9pm) in America, I do miss being able to stop at one place and getting all of my shopping needs done in one place. I don't go to the mall nearly as much in America as they really don't have the services that I require on most days. It would be great if they had supermarkets, butcher shops and post offices so I could have one stop shopping again but I don't think it will ever happen.

There are pros and cons for each. In Australia it is convenient to get all of your shopping done in one place, but it can be hard to find a parking spot on busy days and especially when it is raining. In America it is often easier to find a parking spot and the stores have better hours, but you have to make several stops if you have more than one store to visit. 

Which option appeals to you more?


  1. Hi Sean:

    I find your question interesting, as never having been to Australia, but comparing European stores to American stores and preferring American because everything is in one place.

    I never thought about the post office.

    In my area of the country, the supermarket either has a pharmacy in it or has one in the same plaza.

    Malls to me are places where you get clothes and other nick knacks, but I guess to someone used to having a grocery store in one, it might be inconvenient for there not to be one.

    Underground parking below a supermarket? I only ever encountered that in a city where street parking or a lot was at a premium. It is a good idea though from the standpoint of being protected from the elements.

    Best regards,

    PS: Visiting from the A to Z sign up page

  2. How interesting! I think I like the way things are here in the U.S. but that is probably a result of my habits. It would be convenient to have those errands in one place but I am sure it would be really busy.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. So you might spend as much in gas finding a parking spot as you do driving around town? LOL

    Blogging AtoZ "Things My Husband Has Broken"

  4. That is interesting about the differences between the two countries with shopping. Honestly, I'm not a shopper, would avoid it if I possibly could, but I have to say one thing I don't like is looking for parking or parking far away, especially then with bringing groceries back out, so I'm going to say I think I like the American approach better.


  5. That's really interesting. I'd like our shopping malls to be like that too. I love finding out about how those everyday things we take for granted are so different in other cultures. A to Z really gives you a cultural awareness. Thanks for sharing Sean. Great S word. Maria from Delight Directed Living


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