October 5, 2012

10 Things I Learned from Shopping in Toronto

My room is overflowing with shopping bags and good finds! Now my worry is if my baggage allowance can accommodate the shopping bags, and whatever are inside the shopping bags! Before I start sharing my good finds, let me just share the 10 things I learned from shopping in Toronto.

1.  Sales Staff Just Love Their Jobs!

It is amazing how everyone in the stores (be it in malls, specialty shops, or even cafes) just warmly greet you and try to connect with you. To be honest, I find it tiring at times. After the usual, "I am good, how are you?" line.. all I wanted to do is just check the racks and get to the cashier. But what I learned from them, is that they do love what they are doing. They are consitent. They do their job with passion as seen by the way they handle the stuff, carefully wrap the items, ensure you get the right change, and send you off with a smile. I wish we were more like that in Manila.

2. Check Out the Discount Coupons

They are everywhere - newspaper, magazines, stands. In the lobby of our hotel, we found a board with little discount coupons for different brands. You can save a few dollars, or even in offsetting the taxes by using these coupons!

 To read more tips and learnings, click

3. Answer Surveys and Get Discounts

Check out your receipts and see if they are asking you to answer online survey about their service! No, they won't pay you for your responses, but it would entitle you to discount codes which you can use on your next purchase!


So if you are the type who loves sending feedback (or just complain), do log in, give them some love and get the precious code!

4. They Discipline You

Imagine a typical scene, you lined up in the dressing room, tried the clothes on, after a few blogger poses (and stolen shots), you would realize you don't like the fit of the items and you walk out and just throw the items to the sales lady manning the dressing room.. But you cannot do that in Canada, nope! Before sending me to the cubicle, the sales associate reminded me to hang the clothes again nicely and give back the ones I don't like.

Sounds like an easy task. It is indeed an easy task. But more than helping the store get organized, it is helping more people to be more disciplined.

5. Swipe the Cards Carefully

One afternoon in the busy mall called Eaton Center, I was running out of cash and I had to swipe my credit card. I was hoping the cashier would do the swiping for me, but nope - terminals are in front of customer's side. You do the swiping and it gives you security that no one will have access to your card. Some of the stores might ask you to sign the receipt, but most will not.

6. Price Tags are NOT the Face Value

Okay, so you saw a great deal - top for only $10, or a fitted dress for only $15. Until you get to the cashier and pay for the good stuff, and you end up paying for more than what is in the tag price. Yes, taxes and HST (also known as Harmonized Sales Tax) are always present in the receipt. Taxes are usually at 13%, but a new friend in the office told us that it varies sometimes. The bottom line, when you see a good deal, don't just jump and head to the cashier. Make sure you have enough money or you have your credit card with you.

My friend and I asked if we can pay in USD.. but nope, only CAD even
if there is USD amount in there ;)

7. Value Those Cents

I got tons of loonies and toonies, and cents and quarters in my purse. I got used to paying bills, and just never used my coins; BUT those coins mean treasure. Most of the prices are not flat at 99.99 or 7.00. Most often, prices and bills are at 89.65CAD, 54.05CAD or .something, something cents.

8. Read the Promos Carefully

Once upon a time in this posh lingerie store, I bought some undies and saw the promo cards screaming at me - "Buy 1, Get 1 at $15!" (for bra). I got excited and picked the best pairs (lace, colors.. you can imagine!). When I get to the cashier, I was expecting my total bill would be less than $50, but I felt deaf when the cashier said $98. I thought there was a mistake.. well, it was my mistake. My understanding.. I thought it was Buy 1, Take 1 Free, or both pairs for $15! But I had to pay full for the first pair and $15 for the second. Tehehe.. The good thing is, they assisted me in getting my right bra and cup size! And I felt that what I got is still a good deal. The moral.. read promos carefully..

9. Bring Your Own Plastic Bag

Well.. most of the stores, especially groceries charge cents for extra bag, so it wouldn't hurt to bring your eco bag or simply recycle plastics. Just a little help to the environment ;)

10. You Still Get to Go with Freebies

Yes, some items comes with free coupons and more discount coupons for your next purchase. Some stores even throw gift cards, discount cards and coupons in your shopping bag. You would be surprised when you get home and found sweet deals!

Free coffee coupon for purchase of Tim Horton's mug!
I miss Tim Horton's!

Gift cards... which unfortunately I do not have the opp to use.. 

Well.. shopping is still shopping, and it is always fun! Especially when you learn things and culture from other countries.. I will end this post with a pic taken in Fairview Mall (one of the shopping malls in Toronto). We got there an hour before closing and I still managed to buy some good stuff! Yey!

Do you have interesting learnings while shopping?

If you like this post, click the like button or the Facebook Share button! Spread the love. Like my Facebook Fan Page at or follow my updates on Twitter @ruthilicious.

If you are reading this post somewhere, it is originally written by Ruth and published in