American Retail

Retail is related to buying common things in stores, as a customer.

I have worked in a retail store for a little over two years. At least once or twice a week non-native speaking customers become frustrated about being unable to ask the questions they’d like to ask about promotions, pricing, and if a better deal is available. Today I’d like to share some helpful words, phrases, and questions that might help you during your next English retail experience.


In this context, promotions refers to the different sales, special pricing, and possible discounts a store is offering. Remember, it’s impolite to barter (Bartering means that you ask for a lower price),but simply asking what sale prices are available is acceptable in American culture.

How to Ask:

Option 1

Customer (You): “Excuse me, do you have any special offers going on?”

Store Employee: “Unfortunately not, sorry about that!”

Customer (You): “Ok, thank you.”

Option 2

Customer (You): “Are there any special discounts or deals going on right now?”

Store Employee: “Yes, everything is BOGO 50%”

Customer (You): “Awesome, thanks!”

What Not to Say:

Customer (You): “Give me a better price.”

Store Employee: “No.” (Followed by a bad look).

Customer (You): “I want a better deal.”

Store Employee: “All prices are final.”

Sales Terms, Jargon, and Acronyms 

BOGO 50%- This acronym stands for Buy One Get One at Half Price. You might also see BOGO FREE which means if you buy one Item get the same Item Free. Remember to NOT ask for more discounts. These prices are final.

Coupon— Coupons are usually small cards, pieces of paper, or a series of numbers that gives you a lower price on the items you want to purchase. Coupons can be both a percentage off or a dollar amount off.

Mark-Down- Sometimes items that have been in a store for a long time without selling will be ‘marked-down,’ which means that the price has been reduced by a certain percentage. For example you might see a sign that says 20% off. this means that the new price of the item is now 20% below the original price of the item.

Close Dated- Some stores like supermarkets and health food stores sell food items that can expire. If the edible item is close to expiring, or no longer able to be eaten, stores will decrease the item cost.

EDLP- Every Day Low Pricing is a term that is often seen in smaller stores and shops. EDLP means that no matter what day you come into the store, prices will be set at their lowest cost. Small town business owners like to advertise that their prices are lower than larger business as a way to increase business and advertise that customers don’t need special discounts, coupons, or deals to save money.

Flash Sale—This term refers mostly to online stores, but might still be seen in a traditional store. A Flash Sale is a sale that is available only for a very short amount of time. Sometimes Flash Sales last only 6-12 hours.