Thursday, June 26, 2014

Where do your characters shop?

Where do you shop?

Okay, we all hit the malls, grocery stores, and the occasional chain convenience stores. Some cities have high-end shopping districts, like LA’s Rodeo Drive, Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue and Denver’s Cherry Creek.

But think about other places to shop, places that have a little more texture than white bread America.

Consider places like dollar stores. Originally designed for families with $40,000 or less in annual income, dollar stores are becoming more popular with the more affluent, who also are feeling pressures from the economic downturn.

Your character, for example, might hit the dollar store once a month to buy cheap wine glasses that she then decorates and sells for three bucks to make a few extra dollars a month. Or, a homeless guy in one of your stories might regularly hit a neighborhood dollar store to pickup a can of soup or hash.

These shopping venues add interesting granularity to your writing.

And don’t forget the other non-standard shopping locales: thrift stores, farmers markets, ethnic grocery stores, flea marts, and used furniture stores. All of them offer interesting alternatives to overpriced brand name products nicely displayed in 30,000 square foot chain stores.