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Vocabulary Словарь
Counter - конторка; прилавок
wrap up - кутаться
to undertake - предпринимать, совершать
to regret - сожалеть
ointment – мазь

In every town there are dozens of shops, and going shopping is one of the most important of the housewife's duties. An Englishwoman, as a rule, deals with only one grocer, one butcher, one milkman and one baker. If she is fortunate enough to have a phone, she rings up the butcher and the grocer early in the morning and orders what she wants. This saves her the trouble of going to the shops herself. She does not pay each day but receives a bill each week. At the end of each week, on Saturday, there are several bills to pay, the grocer's, the butcher's, the baker's and the milkman's.

Sometimes a person sees advertised in a newspaper something that he would like. He may write for it, asking for it to be sent C.O.D. (cash on delivery). When the article arrives, he pays the postman. This saves him the trouble of going to the post-office to buy a postal order. If the person has a banking account he generally pays by cheque.

There are many other kinds of shops; one of the best known is the chemist's. Over some chemists' shops there is a sign which reads, "Dispensing Chemist." This indicates that the proprietor not only sells medicines already prepared (patent medicines) but is qualified to prepare them also. Doctors "prescribe" medicines for their patients; the patients take "the prescriptions" to the chemist to be made up. In England you can often tell a chemist's shop at a distance, for in the window there are three huge glass vessels filled with different coloured liquids; these vessels are the sign of a chemist's shop, just as a coloured pole is the sign of a barber's shop. Inns and hotels often have signs outside the door. A common name for an inn is "The Red Lion." The signboard contains the words of the name and also a picture of a fierce red lion, so that a person who could not read in the old days could always find his way to "The Red Lion" by looking at the signboards.

Chemists now sell many other things besides medicines and ointments. They stock toothbrushes, soap, health-salts, films for cameras, hairbrushes and combs and many other things. In America a chemist's shop is called a drug-store, and sells even more things, thousands of different articles. There are even stools 1 on which people can sit at a counter and buy various kinds of ice-cream and soft drinks.

Going shopping is a pleasurable experience for those who are well-off and can buy whatever they fancy. It is not so pleasant for a poorer person, who may have to go without many of the articles he would like to purchase. In big shops the customer does not pay the salesman or saleswoman (shop assistant), but takes the bill to the cash-desk and pays the cashier; the cashier receipts the bill3 and hands it back to the customer, who takes it to the assistant. The assistant, by this time, has wrapped up the purchase and made a neat parcel which he hands over to the customer. In some shops there is a special department where purchases are wrapped up and handed over. Some big shops have a home-delivery service; a motor van comes round delivering parcels to customers' houses. This saves a person the trouble of carrying numerous of articles round the town when he or she is shopping.

A small shopkeeper does not undertake to deliver goods to his customers' homes, nor does he employ a cashier. Very often he serves his customers himself, and must do so if he has no assistants. His wife may help him in the shop or his children if he has any old enough.

There is a tendency in England and America for the small shops to disappear. They are eaten up by the big firms, who have branches all over the country. Many of us regret the disappearance of the small shopkeeper. Many little shops have been in the same family for a hundred years, especially in small country towns, and we prefer dealing with them, as our parents dealt with them, to dealing with the big multiple shops whose owners are strangers to the town and take their profits out of it. A big company deliberately tries to oust a small shopkeeper. It offers to buy his business at its own price, and, if he refuses to sell, down come the prices in the shop of the big company. The big company is ready to lose money for a time to gain its ends; the small man cannot afford to sell at these low prices and may be forced to close down. When the big company has got what it wanted, up go the prices again, perhaps even higher than they were before.

But it cannot be denied that the big shops are very useful to the public. They stock an enormous variety of goods and sell at reasonable prices. I am sorry for the small shopkeepers who have been put out of business and have to look for employment. Being your own master is very different from having to take orders from another.

1. to go shopping=to go out to buy things at shops.
(Similarly, to go fishing, riding, hunting, running, motoring.)
2. as a rule = generally but not always.
3. to ring up =to telephone.
4. proprietor= owner of a shop, cinema, theatre, etc.
5. stool=chair without a back.
6. soft drinks=drinks that do not contain alcohol.
7. receipt a bill=sign or stamp it to show that it has been paid.
8. oust=to force someone out from^
9. to gain its ends=to get what it wants

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