Meat, poultry, pork and eggs are all subject to rigorous and consistent federal inspection by the U.S.D.A. (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and rated by "grade". Meat is graded by both quality (wholesomeness, safety and freshness) and yield (amount of usable lean meat). The highest grades for meat are prime, choice and select, and the yield is graded from 1-5, 5 being the highest.
Learn more about meat and poultry grades and nutrition at the USDA website:
Eggs are also graded on quality and appearance, with the highest grades being AA and A, suitable for both eating and baking. Grade B eggs are of lower quality and may be suitable for baking.
Learn more about eggs at:
Fish and seafood are also subject to federal inspection, but not consistently. Make sure you sniff and examine the fish before buying it. Shellfish like clams, mussels and oysters, if uncooked, should have closed shells. Open shells indicate they are unfit for consumption.
Organic produce and foodstuffs are often free of pesticides and additives that may cause health problems. They are currently subject to many different regional and private standards. However, the federal government is in the process of establishing uniform regulations for what constitutes "organic."
How and Where to Shop in the US
In the U.S. most stores and shops offer items for a non-negotiable, fixed price, called the "list" price. Sometimes items are discounted. These are called "sales", and the item is said to be "on sale". You can check your local Sunday newspaper inserts for coupons, and for discounts on items at the stores on given days.
! Sales: Many clothing stores, department stores, appliance stores and mattress stores and car dealers offer special sales on or before major holidays like July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and even on minor holidays like Father's Day and President's Day. "White sales" on linens and housewares occur during the summer months, in January, and after Christmas.
Negotiable Items Include:
both new (at some dealerships) and used cars
Used items found at garage sales and flea markets, and through private sellers in the classifieds
Places to Shop:
Shopping malls are retail spaces shared by a large or small group of stores. Malls are very popular places for Americans to shop.
"Thrift shops" run by charitable organizations like Goodwill or the Salvation Army support the poor, homeless and sick by donating proceeds from sales of "second-hand" or used items. You can find good deals on clothing, furniture and some appliances at these shops. You can also donate your old items for a tax deduction.
"Consignment shops" sell used items but offer part of the proceeds to the private seller. If you want money for your old clothes you can try a consignment shop. It is at the shop's discretion whether to accept your clothes for sale. Most stores require the clothing be clean and neat, in good condition and without tears or lost buttons.
"Garage sales" are very popular in the U.S. Private individuals put their used items out in front of their houses and let the public browse their wares. If you like an item, you can negotiate the price. You can find garage sale notices in the classifieds section of your local paper and posted on telephone poles and bulletin boards in your neighborhood.
"Flea markets" are large public markets filled with vendors selling new and used clothing, old bicycles, and housewares. You can sometimes find good deals here.