But, you ask, how do I avoid the eye rolls and groans that come with extended trips of this type? Let us be honest, sometimes those "short" shopping trips turn into full session pace breakers.
The simply answer is, make shopping more exciting, and weave the store into the plot, or give the store a plot of its own. This is exactly what The Flying Pincushion Games new product line "Mystical Marketplaces" looks to do. It is all too easy for GM's (I have done this myself) to hand wave shops and buying to a mechanical and book keeping level, which is not all that fun for anyone involved.
Mystical Marketplaces addresses this problem by providing vividly detailed shops and locations, run by interesting and three dimensional proprietors with their own stories and motivations. Add that to quests and task that are shop specific, and an easy to use barter and patronage system, and we go from a bland "get it done and over with" shopping trip to a multifaceted adventure opportunity that also happens to have the option to purchase gear, some of which is unique to the shop. All of this adds up to a deeper immersion into the game world for the players, less work and more adventure hooks for GM's, and a more memorable game session for everyone involved.
Look for the first installment of Mystical Marketplaces, "The Brass Drake" to be up for sale from such well known RPG store sites as DriveThruRPG, Paizo.com, and PFSRD20.com in the near future. Best of all, "The Brass Drake" is only the first of what will be a sizable catalog of unique, flavorful, time saving, and fun stores and shops for your PC's to explore. Oh, and at a very reasonable price too!
The Flying Pincushin Games Co-Owner