...is hella expensive! The use of the euro is ridiculous in my mind. Every time I go and buy something, whether it's a souvenir gift or a candy bar, I immediately convert the price I see on the tag to USD and think, "I wouldn't pay this much for this back home."
The easy thing though is that the price you see is the price you pay for. The tax (22%!) is already incorporated into the price tag, making it easy to do the math of the total before you make your way to the cash register.
Given the limited amount of money I have, I haven't shopped so much yet. I've bought a couple of things but they are for peeps back home. Shopping for others is by no means the same as shopping for yourself.
There are plenty of stores here. Mostly commercial though. None so touristy. I try not to go buy things from the stores that you can find back in the US of A. And things are priced higher here too. I saw a pair of black vans that I was wearing at the time for sale at this one store, and it was 56€!
The department stores here are insane. Stockmann is the Macys and Nordstrom combined, and then some. The one in Helsinki was like 8 floors, including a supermarket and electronics department. You can find anything there.
I feel awkward shopping with other people. I've always been that way I suppose. So whenever I go shopping with the hb and hs, I tend to be following them instead of going places I want to. It's mainly my fault though. I don't assert my opinion as to where I'd like to go because of fear of embarrassment. I don't think the reason of "I want to buy something for my ___ in that store" is believable here. Soo this is what I have done:
1) Faked / Up-played an illness to sneak away from my hb and hd.
2) When on a run, I use it as an escape to run to the store.
3) When at a baseball game/practice I slyly go off without telling anyone.
For #1 I actually ran into my hs at a store alone. I told a white lie and said my hm knew where I was. And she believed it. But then she called my hb and told him she was with me at the store. And since he knew I went back to the hotel because of my severe headache, I would think he would think it would be odd that I'm out and about shopping alone. But I never heard of it.
On that occassion too I was shopping alone (before I was caught by the hs) I went to a store and came back to the hotel cause I was going to drop of the bags in the room. And right when I did so the room bell rings and it's my host parents. What a string of luck! Cause if I didn't open the door, who would know what was going to happen.