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Information on Shopping

Shopping mall

A shopping mall is a building or set of buildings that contain stores and have interconnecting walkways that make it easy for people to walk from store to store. The walkways may or may not be enclosed. In the United Kingdom these are called "shopping centres".

A strip mall is a type of shopping mall where the stores are arranged in a row, with a sidewalk in front. Strip malls are typically developed as a unit and have large parking lots in front. In the United Kingdom these are called "out of town shopping centres", even though they might not be out of town.

Table of contents
1 History
2 List of shopping malls
3 See also
4 External Links


The first enclosed shopping mall ever built was the Galleria Victor Emmanuel in Milan. Many other large cities created similar malls in the late 19th century and early 20th century along similar lines.

In the late 20th century, with the rise of the suburb and automobile culture in the United States, a new form of mall was created away from city centers. The design is modeled after small town Main streets in the USA, but placed entirely indoors. This new generation of mall was pioneered by Southdale, located in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina, Minnesota.

A large shopping mall is sometimes called a megamall. The three largest enclosed shopping malls are the Mall of Arabia inside Dubai Land in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the Mall of America in another Twin Cities suburb, Bloomington, Minnesota, USA. However, the world's largest shopping complex at one discrete location is the two-mall agglomeration in the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Mall can refer to a shopping mall, which is a place where a collection of shops all adjoin a pedestrian area, or exclusively pedestrian street, that allows shoppers to walk separately and isolated from vehicle traffic. Mall is generally used in North America and Australasia to refer to large shopping areas, while the term Arcade is more often used, especially in Britain, to refer to a narrow pedestrian only street, often covered or between closely spaced buildings.

List of shopping malls





United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

United States

See also

External Links

Shopping hours

Customs and regulations for shopping hours (times that shops are open) vary from country to country.

Table of contents
1 Netherlands
2 Shopping days
3 Ramadan
4 External link


In the Netherlands each town has the evening of either Thursday or Friday designated as shopping evening. In most cases it is Thursday. Towns for which it is Friday include:

On regular evenings most shops close at 6 p.m., but supermarkets often at 8 or 9, sometimes 10 p.m. Many towns have one or more little supermarkets that are open until later in the evening, occasionally all night. A regular size supermarket that is open until midnight seven days a week is Food Village at Schiphol Airport (before customs, hence not only for air travellers).

Shopping days

In some countries most shops are closed on Sundays. In Islamic countries some shops are closed on Fridays. In Israel many shops are closed on Friday evening and Saturday during daytime.

Each state in Australia sets its own standard trading hours, but in most of the country the shops are open seven days a week for at least part of the day.

For some shops and other businesses Christmas Day is the only day in the year that they are closed.

In the US a shop may e.g. be open all days of the year except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Easter Sunday.


In Islamic countries shops may have special opening hours during Ramadan.

External link

Shopping cart

A shopping cart (also called a buggy, or a trolley in British English) is a cart supplied by a shop, especially a supermarket, for use by customers inside the shop for transport of merchandise to the check-out counter, and, after paying, often also to the car on the parking lot. Often customers are supplied the convenience of taking a cart in or near the shop and returning it on the car park, and personnel are charged with moving carts from the latter to the former. Sometimes the customer has to pay a small deposit by inserting a coin, which is returned if and when the customer returns the cart at a designated cart parking point.

This is also done for profit with luggage carts at many airports, where companies like Smarte Carte charge two or more dollars (or equivalent) for rental, and return a small token reward of a quarter (25 cents) for returning carts to the other end of any dispenser machine.

Shopping carts

In the United States, most shopping carts are made of metal or plastic and designed to nest within each other in a line to facilitate moving many at one time, and to save on storage space.

Often there is the problem of theft of shopping carts; for example, shopping carts are often used by urban homeless people to carry their belongings. One of the solutions is a system of sensors around the parking lot which block a wheel. Sometimes shopping carts are physically prevented from even leaving the shop, but that is mainly a solution if few customers come by car. Retailers report more than 800 million dollars of missing carts in the U.S. alone each year.

An alternative for the shopping cart is a small handheld shopping basket. A customer can often choose between a cart and a basket, and may prefer a basket if the amount of merchandise is small. Small shops often supply only baskets, where large carts would be impractical.

See also: moving sidewalk

Using the term metaphorically, an e-shopping cart (electronic shopping cart) is software which allows customers shopping on a website to accept product orders for multiple products from the website. This software automatically calculates and totals orders for customers and indicates the total price including post and packing.

Some setup must be done in the HTML code of the website, and the shopping cart software must be installed on the server which hosts the site or on the secure server which accepts sensitive ordering information.

See also: electronic commerce

Shopping Bag

Shopping Bag is an album from The Partridge Family, a fictional television family and music group.

The album contained a plastic shopping bag which was about big enough to carry someone's lunch in it. The album went gold and is now available on CD.

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Christmas (i.e. the Mass of Christ) is a traditional holiday in the Christian calendar which takes place around the end of December and celebrates the nativity of Jesus Christ. Christmas is also celebrated as a secular holiday throughout much of the world. The precise date of the birth and historicity of Jesus are hotly debated (see Jesus).

The word "Christmas" is often abbreviated to "Xmas", the "X" being an uppercase Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of "Christos" in Greek. The abbreviation is widely but not universally accepted; some view it as demeaning to the name of Christ.

A house decorated for Christmas in Yate (south west England)

Table of contents
1 Date of Celebration
2 Customs and Celebrations
3 Christmas in Culture
4 History of the Date of Christmas
5 External link

Date of Celebration

Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in all Christian churches (Eastern Rite Roman & Protestant), but since most Eastern Orthodox churches have not accepted either the Gregorian calendar or the Revised Julian Calendar reforms, the Ecclesiastic December 25 will fall on the civil date of January 7 for the years between 1900 to 2099. The date comes from the tradition that Jesus was born during The Jewish Festival of Lights (i.e. Hanukkah the 25th of Kislev - the beginning of Tevet) Kislev being accepted generally to correspond with December. The modern popular choice of 5BC for the year of Jesus's birth would place the 25th of Kislev on the 25th of November with the Old Julian calendar.

Traditionally in the United Kingdom the Christmas season ran for twelve days following Christmas Day, the twelve days of Christmas, a period of feasting and merrymaking that ended on Twelfth Night, the Feast of the Epiphany. This period corresponds with the liturgical season of Christmas.

Customs and Celebrations

An enormous number of customs surround Christmas, and vary from country to country. Many aspects, such as the Christmas Tree, the Yule Log, and the giving of presents, were taken from the earlier pagan holiday of Yule and the traditional celebrations of the Winter solstice. Thus a few Christian churches, most notably the Jehovah's Witnesses, view Christmas as a pagan holiday and do not celebrate it. Some of the more popular aspects of British and North American Christmasses include Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) who brings gifts to children on his sleigh pulled by reindeer; the giving of gifts to friends and family; decorating a Christmas Tree with lights and ornaments; and the decoration of the home with evergreen foliage, particularly holly and mistletoe. In North America and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom it is traditional to decorate the outside of houses with large numbers of lights.

"Now is it Christmas again", painting from 1907 by the Swedish artist Carl Larsson

In most Western countries, Christmas celebrations take have both religious and secular aspects. The religious celebrations start with the celebration of Advent around the start of December, and are marked by special church services. Advent services lead up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and often include Advent carols. In the period immediately before Christmas, there are many Christmas services at which Christmas hymns and Christmas carols are sung, and there are special services, typified by the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Cambridge. At Christmas special services often include a Midnight Mass, or a Mass of the Nativity. The church's season of Christmas ends on the feast of the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, the traditional date of the visit of the Three Kings to the child Jesus.

Christmas is also celebrated by the non-religious as a secular holiday and, often, an opportunity to catch up with one's extended family. In many it is a time for giving gifts, exchanging Christmas cards, and having Christmas parties, which often take place over several weeks before Christmas Day. On Christmas Day a special meal is usually served, for which there are varying traditional menus in every country. In the United Kingdom, the traditional meal consists of roast turkey or goose, served with roast potatoes and other vegetables, followed by christmas pudding, a heavy boiled pudding made with dried fruit (traditionally plums) and flour. Christmas is a time when shops will increase their sales, and introduce new products which are sold at premium prices, taking advantage of the many marketing opportunities. Radio and TV stations popularise Christmas by broadcasting Christmas carols and Christmas songs. However, some Christian religions and denominations (like the Jehovah's Witnesses and various Puritan groups), disdain the celebration of holidays without explicit Biblical authorization, and so neither celebrate Christmas nor exchange Christmas cards.

The Christmas period in some countries, such as the United Kingdom extends beyond Christmas day up to New Year, which also has its own parties, though in Scotland Hogmanay which occurs at the New Year is celebrated more than Christmas. The secular aspects of Christmas continue afterwards with the sales of goods in shops at the Christmas sales and New Year sales, when shops sell off goods which were not sold before Christmas, or use the opportunity to clear out goods, or simply take advantage of the many shoppers who go to these events in order to increase their sales. Another popular aspect of the Christmas season is the pantomime.

Christmas is also somewhat popular in Japan, encouraged by the commercial sector who see the opportunities in encouraging gift-giving. The gift-giving is mainly done between lovers, and Christmas does not carry religious connotations. Christmas is not as important as New Year's Day in Japan. The Japanese use the American and British Santa Claus in their holiday.

The holiday's popularity is so pronounced that other faiths have emphasized their own winter holidays to serve as their own religion's equivalent. The most obvious example is Judaism's Chanukah which has evolved in the 20th century into a similar family gift giving holiday.

In the Republic of China on Taiwan, Christmas is not officially celebrated, but December 25 coincidentially falls on the date of the signing of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947 and hence there is an official holiday on that date, which is largely treated as if it was Christmas.

See also List of winter festivals

John Denver and the Muppets:
A Christmas Together

Christmas is traditionally associated with the Northern Hemisphere winter, and thus winter motifs are prominent in Christmas decorations and in the Santa Claus myth. Residents of countries located in the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere thus experience somewhat of a dissonance between popular culture depictions of Christmas and their own balmy Christmas celebrations.

Christmas is, typically, the largest annual economic stimulus for the economies of celebrating Christian nations.

Countries that celebrate Christmas on December 25th precede it by Christmas Eve, and some of them follow it by Boxing Day. In the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark Christmas Day and Boxing Day are called (the equivalent of) First and Second Christmas Day.

For some shops and other businesses Christmas Day is the only day in the year that they are closed.

The traditional Christmas flower is the poinsettia.

Christmas in Culture

A large number of fictional Christmas stories have been written, usually involving heart-touching tales that involve a Christmas miracle. Several of these stories have passed into popular culture and been accepted as part of the tradition of Christmas.

One of the most popular is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, in which the curmudgeonly miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who rejects compassion and philanthropy, and Christmas as a symbol of both, is visited by the "Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future" who show him the consequences of his ways. Dickens is sometimes credited with shaping the modern celebration of Christmas (tree, plum pudding, carols) through his novel and other Christmas-related stories.

Another Christmas story is the acclaimed film, It's a Wonderful Life which is essentially the reverse of A Christmas Carol where the hero, George Bailey, is a businessman who sacrifised his dreams to help his community. On Christmas Eve, a guardian angel prevents from committing suicide in despair and magically shows him how much he meant to the world around him.

See also :

History of the Date of Christmas

Many scholars have argued over the exact birthday and year of Christs birth. It is not a conclusive matter. It is probably impossible to say that He was born on one date or another. What we do know is that the year was between 5-7BC due to the astrological pnomen at that time, and the date of the Census. Where these coincide there we have the most likely date. Some say it was not possible to have been born in deep winter. But this is speculation. The fairest thing is to say that He was born probably between October and March 5-7BC. Originally, Christmas' date was set to correspond with Roman festival of the birth of the Sun God Mithra. As early as A.D. 354, the Birth of Christ was celebrated on Dec. 25th in Rome. Other cities had other traditional dates. The history of Christmas is closely associated with that of the Epiphany. The earliest body of gospel tradition, represented by Mark no less than by the primitive non-Marcan document embodied in the first and third gospels, begins, not with the birth and childhood of Jesus, but with His baptism; and this order of accretion of gospel matter is faithfully reflected in the time order of the invention-of feasts. The great church adopted Christmas much later than Epiphany, and before the 5th century there was no general consensus of opinion as to when it should come in the calendar, whether on the 6th of January, or the 25th of March, or the 25th of December.

The earliest identification of the 25th of December with the birthday of Christ is in a passage, otherwise unknown and probably spurious, of Theophilus of Antioch (171-183), preserved in Latin by the Magdeburg centuriators, to the effect that the Gauls contended that as they celebrated the birth of the Lord on the 25th of December, whatever day of the week it might be, so they ought to celebrate the Pascha on the 25th of March when the resurrection befell.

The next mention of December 25 is in Hippolytus' (c. 202) commentary on Daniel. Jesus, he says, was born at Bethlehem on December 25, a Wednesday, in the forty-second year of Augustus. This passage also is almost certainly interpolated. In any case he mentions no feast, nor was such a feast congruous with the orthodox ideas of that age. As late as 245 Origen, in his eighth homily on Leviticus, repudiates as sinful the very idea of keeping the birthday of Christ "as if he were a king Pharaoh." The first certain mention of December 25 is in a Latin chronographer of A.D. 354, first published entire by Mommsen. It runs thus in English: "Year I after Christ, in the consulate of Caesar and Paulus, the Lord Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December, a Friday and 15th day of the new moon." Here again no feastal celebration of the day is attested.

There were, however, many speculations in the 2nd century about the date of Christ's birth. Clement of Alexandria, towards its close, mentions several such, and condemns them as superstitions. Some chronologists, he says, alleged the birth to have occurred in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus, on the 25th of Pachon, the Egyptian month, i.e. the May 20. These were probably the Basilidian gnostics. Others set it on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi, i.e. the 19th or 20th of April. Clement himself sets it on the November 17, 3 B.C. The author of a Latin tract, called the De Pascha computus, written in Africa in 243, sets it by private revelation, ab ipso deo inspirali, on the March 28. He argues that the world was created perfect, flowers in bloom, and trees in leaf, therefore in spring; also at the equinox, and when the moon just created was full. Now the moon and sun were created on a Wednesday. The 28th of March suits all these considerations. Christ, therefore, being the Sun of Righteousness, was born on the 28th of March.

The same symbolical reasoning led Polycarp (before 160) to set his birth on Sunday, when the world's creation began, but his baptism on Wednesday, for it was the analogue of the sun's creation. On such grounds certain Latins as early as 354 may have transferred the human birthday from January 6 to December 25, which was then a Mithraic feast and is by the chronographer above referred to, but in another part of his compilation, termed Nat ails invicti solis, or birthday of the unconquered Sun. Cyprian calls Christ Sot verus, Ambrose Sol novus foster, and such rhetoric was widespread. The Syrians and Armenians, who clung to January 6, accused the Romanss of sun-worship and idolatry, contending with great probability that the feast of the 25th of December had been invented by disciples of Cerinthus and its lections by Artemon to commemorate the natural birth of Jesus. John Chrysostom also testifies December 25 to have been from the beginning known in the West, from Thrace even as far as Gades. Ambrose, On Virgins, writing to his sister, implies that as late as the papacy of Liberius 352 - 356, the Birth from the Virgin was feasted together with the Marriage of Cana and the Banquet of the 4000, which were never feasted on any other day but January 6.

Chrysostom, in a sermon preached at Antioch on December 20, 386 or 388, says that some held the feast of December 25 to have been held in the West, from Thrace as far as Cadiz, from the beginning. It certainly originated in the West, but spread quickly eastwards. In 353 - 361 it was observed at the court of Constantius II. Basil of Caesarea (died 379) adopted it. Honorius, emperor (395 - 423) in the West, informed his mother and brother Arcadius (395 - 408) in Byzantium of how the new feast was kept in Rome, separate from January 6, with its own troparia and sticharia. They adopted it, and recommended it to Chrysostom, who had long been in favour of it. Epiphanius of Crete was won over to it, as were also the other three patriarchs, Theophilus of Alexandria, John of Jerusalem, Flavian I of Antioch. This was under Pope Anastasius I, 398 - 400.

John or Wahan of Nice, in a letter printed by Combefisinhis Historiamonoizeiitarurn, affords the above details. The new feast was communicated by Proclus, patriarch of Constantinople (434 - 446), to Sahak, Catholicos of Armenia, about 440. The letter was betrayed to the Persian king, who accused Sahak of Greek intrigues, and deposed him. However, the Armenians, at least those within the Byzantine pale, adopted it for about thirty years, but finally abandoned it together with the decrees of Chalcedon early in the 8th century. Many writers of the period 375 - 450, e.g. Epiphanius, Cassian, Asterius, Basil, Chrysostom and Jerome, contrast the new feast with that of the Baptism as that of the birth after the flesh, from which we infer that the latter was generally regarded as a birth accoding to the Spirit. Instructive as showing that the new feast travelled from West eastwards is the fact (noticed by Usener) that in 387 the new feast was reckoned according to the Julian calendar by writers of the province of Asia, who in referring to other feasts use the reckoning of their local calendars. As early as 400 in Rome an imperial rescript includes Christmas among the three feasts (the others are Easter and Epiphany) on which theatres must be closed.

See also: Christmas carol, Christmas song, christmas dishes.

External link


Amazon.com is an American electronic commerce company based in Seattle, Washington. It was one of the first major companies to sell goods over the Internet. Amazon owns Alexa Internet and the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

Table of contents
1 Business model
2 Patent controversies
3 Expansion and partnerships
4 External links

Business model

Founded as Cadabra.com by Jeff Bezos in 1994, the mainstream Internet's early days, the company began as an online bookstore. Bezos saw the potential of the Internet; while the largest brick-and-mortar bookstore might sell upwards of 200,000 titles, an online bookstore could sell many times more. Bezos renamed his company Amazon in deference to the world's most voluminous river, the Amazon. His bookstore quickly began expanding, branching off into retail sales of music CDss, videos and DVDs, software, consumer electronics, kitchen items, tools, lawn and garden items, toys, apparel, sporting goods, gourmet food, jewelry, watches, health and personal-care items, and more. Amazon assigns a unique identifier to all items it sells, the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). For books, the ASIN is the same as the item's ISBN.

Amazon's initial business plan was unique, in that the company did not expect to turn a profit for a good four to five years after it was founded. This strategy proved to be a sound one in the wake of the dotcom collapse of 2000. Amazon grew at a steady pace in the late 1990s while other Internet companies appeared out of nowhere and grew at a blindingly fast pace. Amazon's "slow" growth caused a number of its stockholders to complain, saying that the company was not reaching profitability fast enough. When the Internet "bubble" burst and many e-companies began going out of business, Amazon perservered and finally turned its first-ever profit in the fourth quarter of 2002. It totaled a meager $5 million, just 1 cent per share, on revenues of over $1 billion, but it was extremely important symbolically for a company that kept promising profitability but wasn't delivering. It has since remained profitable and maintained revenues of over $1 billion per fiscal quarter.

Amazon currently offers access to its catalog via web services, much as Google does to its search engine. Google also provides search services directly on Amazon's US site.

Patent controversies

The company has been controversial for its use of patents as an alleged hindrance to competitors. The "one click patent" is perhaps the best-known example of this. On February 25, 2003, the company was granted a patent titled "Method and system for conducting a discussion relating to an item" on Internet discussion boards.

Since October 23rd 2003 the company has been making it possible for customers to search for keywords in the full text of more that 120,000 books--33 million pages of text, all told. While there are public-domain book projects (see List of digital library projects), Amazon.com in cooperation with about 130 publishers allows users to search copyrighted books as well. To avoid copyright violations, Amazon.com does not return the text of the book but rather a picture of the page containing the selected reference, disables printing of the pages, and there are limits on the number of pages in a book a single user can see. The service has the potential to be extremely valuable to customers and may direct a large amount of traffic to Amazon.com, increasing both the reputation and the sales of the company. From the customer's point of view, the new search capability allows completely new ways of research. As people now google the Internet, they will be able to do the same with many of the books available on Amazon.com. For example, one might search for the name of their hometown on Amazon and find a large number of references in completely unexpected places. Furthermore, references to special areas of interest can now be found easily even in books whose titles would not indicate a relation to the chosen topic.

Expansion and partnerships

Amazon.com operates retail websites not only in the United States, but also in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. In addition, the websites of Borders.com, Waldenbooks.com, Virginmega.com, Virginmega.co.jp, Waterstones.co.uk, CDNOW.com and HMV.com now redirect to Amazon's site for the country in question, for which these companies are paid referral fees. Typing ToysRUs.com into one's browser will similarly bring up Amazon.com's Toys & Games tab. Amazon.com also operates the retail websites of Target Corporation's internet properties (including the online stores of Target, Marshall Field's, and Mervyn's) and provides the technology behind AOL Shopping and the online NBA store.

According to information in the Amazon.com discussion forums, Amazon derives about 40% of its sales from affiliates, whom they call "associates". By the end of the 2003, Amazon had signed up almost 1 million associates.

Amazon bought the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) in April 1998, a move that upset a number of long-time users of the database; the transformation of IMDb from a public-domain, nonprofit site to a commercial venture was seen as a slap in the face to many Internet users. However, the IMDb has continued to grow and prosper.

In 2002, Amazon became the exclusive retailer for the much-hyped Segway Human Transporter. Bezos was an early supporter of the Segway before its details were made public.

External links

Amazon retail sites



Broadly speaking, shoplifting is a term that refers to stealing from a shop, store, or other retail establishment, usually by a patron or customer.

In most states in the United States, shoplifting is a misdemeanor crime of petty larceny when specifically committed against a retail establishment by a patron. The law does not distinguish between shoplifting and other forms of petty larceny, although a judge may consider the context of any crime in sentencing.

In some jurisdictions of the United States, certain egregious instances of shoplifitng involving large dollar amounts of merchandise and/or a high degree of criminal sophistication may be prosecuted and punished as burglary.

This page created and maintained by Jamie Sanderson.
© Jamie Sanderson 1999-2005.