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Shopping in Kingston

A few things to Know


Products in stores will have prices marked on the display or the products themselves.  It is not customary to negotiate about the price of goods at stores.


Advertising supplements, called flyers, from stores which have sales every week. Very often, a common item will go on sale (a reduced price) once every few weeks.  Therefore, if you need to buy something which costs a considerable amount, try waiting until you see it on sale.


Most goods and services in Ontario are taxed at 13% known as the Harmonized Sales Tax or HST.  So, if you purchase something that is listed as costing $20 you will actually pay $22.60.  For a list of what items are and aren’t taxed visit the Government of Ontario Website.

Price Matching

Many stores will offer price matching.  If you find an item that you want to buy cheaper, you can bring a copy of the ad to another store that sells the same item and get the lower price.  Ask about a stores price matching policy, some stores have one and others don’t.

Price Guarantee

A price guarantee is offered by some stores, where the item you purchased goes on sale (lower cost) within a certain number of days you can take your receipt back to the store for a “price adjustment”.  Again, not all stores will over this.

Hidden Costs of Shopping

Many people will search for the lowest “sticker/display” price possible in order to save money.  When you do this please remember that there are hidden costs to shopping, some of these include transportation and time.  For example, you find a shirt at a store you can walk to for $10 but another store that is a bus ride away has it for $8.  The cost of the bus ride is $2.  The actual cost of the cheaper t-shirt is $10 (cost + travel). So what appeared to be a better deal actually cost you the same amount, plus the added time of travel.

Have a Question about a Product?

Ask a store employee. They are great sources of information.  The internet is also a good place to research items.

Places to Shop

Second Hand Stores
  • Used Clothes, Furniture, Housewares, etc.
  • low price, little variety, old styles and modern styles
  • check the quality carefully before you buy the item

Salvation Army Thrift Store – clothes, furniture, housewares
Phase 2 – clothes, some items are expensive here.
St. Vincent de Paul
Neighbourhood Sharing –  clothing, books, housewares
Value Village –  Clothing, books, housewares, some furniture
Talize – Clothing

Garage Sales, Yard Sales, Flea Markets, or Rummage Sales
  • sales are usually held in front of homes or apartments and are very visible from the street (mostly in the Spring and Summer).
  • these sales occur at people’s homes where the owners have looked through all their possessions and have decided to sell the items they no longer want.
  • low prices (you may be able to bargain here), not a wide variety, old and modern items
  • check quality carefully before buying, as the sellers seldom accept returns or refunds
  • to find out where and when a garage sale is on, look at the last few pages (known as the classified ads) of the Kingston Whig Standard and Kingston This Week newspapers, or on signs posted on bulletin boards or in your neighbourhood
  • find the street on a map of Kingston and walk, ride or drive along until you pass by the sale; if a phone number is posted, you can call and ask for directions
  • be sure you are able to transport the items home
Dollar Stores
  • prices are low – everything usually under $5.00
  • good variety of household items, stationery, toys and more
  • items may be low quality
Discount Department Stores

Prices are relatively low, the variety of items is usually wide. You can find almost anything at one of these stores.

Specialty Stores
  • these are stores that sell only one thing (such as clothing or shoes or furniture) and the salespeople are very knowledgeable about the items they are selling
  • the items at these stores are usually more expensive than in discount stores
  • clothing stores are mainly in malls but there are some downtown
  • furniture stores are generally located in the west end of Kingston
  • Look for notices from students who are leaving Kingston and are selling their furniture and appliances cheaply in order to get rid of them. Better yet, talk to other students to find out if they know someone who has completed their studies at Queen’s and will keep you in mind when they want to sell their things.
  • The internet can be a very easy and effective way to buy and sell used furniture and household items.
    • There is a very active student-run Facebook group called Free and For Sale  for students to sell and purchase used  furniture  and household items within the Queen’s community. Some items are offered for free.
    • Other sites, not affliated with Queen’s, are available  to buy and sell used goods,  and  include Kijiji and Craigslist
  • Items listed may not be exactly as advertised, so be careful when making deals online.

More information and understanding your rights as a consumer