Do the Amish patronize modern stores?




The Amish do shop at ordinary stores. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, for example, it is common to see a typical Amish family walking through a large Wal-Mart Supercenter or Target, pushing a full shopping cart. The Amish man and his wife, accompanied by their many children, select products they need for their household.

The merchants provide hitching posts for their Amish customers to tie their horses while they are shopping. Some have gone as far as to erect open structures around the posts, providing cover for the horse and buggy.

Other modern stores close to Amish communities do not have posts to tie horses. Rather, the Amish make use of paid drivers. The Amish hire a local non-Amish person to drive them to the store and return to their home with their store-bought items.



The Amish purchase groceries and other necessities in the modern supermarkets. Foodstuff and cleaning products are common selections. They are quite selective as to what they purchase, but so is everyone else. They look for and take advantage of sales or bargains. Sometimes considered frugal, the Amish are just like non-Amish: they want the most for their money. They shop where they find the best deals.

They do not purchase items they would consider worldly. There are no holiday decorations, for example, that feature Santa Claus.

The Amish woman, in charge of her kitchen, buys those provisions needed to prepare the hardy meals she proudly serves to her family. Basic ingredients, such as flour and sugar, are part of her purchases for her pantry. She is more likely to buy ingredients and make food from scratch than to buy a premade selection.

They do not purchase their clothing at modern stores. They will, however, purchase shoes. It is common to see the family wearing contemporary, dark-colored running shoes while they shop.

The Amish also purchase needed items at hardware stores and home improvement centers. They purchase tools, hardware, and other supplies.

Throughout the Amish community, there are Amish stores. They are often bulk goods stores, where a large volume of a basic good has been purchased, and a smaller quantity can be bought. Cornmeal, for example, may be available in a one-pound bag, rather than a 100-pound large sack. The Amish purchase a variety of provisions at these stores, and the stores are often Amish owned.

Another type of unusual store found in the Amish communities is a dents-and-damaged-goods outlet. These stores offer groceries at huge discounts. The items are often out-of-date. Canned items are dented. Boxed groceries may be damaged. Merchandise is sometimes unusual or ethnic. However, there are many bargains. There are also regular staples available in these stores, such as milk, bread, eggs, meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. Non-Amish patronize these stores, which are busy during peak times. It is not uncommon to see more non-Amish in the Amish stores than there are Amish.



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Special Note:


Amish Wisdom is an ongoing feature of various entries about the Amish on George Sheldon's website and blog. Written and produced by George, it is intended to provide information about those of the Amish faith.

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