Shopping is a mechanic used to purchase items.
Periodically, inmates will yield a cash sack (in The Escapists 2, this will be a coin) symbol above their heads. This indicates that they are ready to do business. Press [Interact] near these vendors in The Escapists 2 or click on them in The Escapists to open up the shopping menu. Buying items requires the game's currency. Additionally, in The Escapists 2, inmates need to have an opinion of 50 or more, otherwise purchases will fail. Once you buy an item, that item is yours and it will no longer be on sale. If you buy every item on sale, the shop will no longer exist.
Keep in mind that shops will open for a limited amount of time. Once shops close, items on sale will disappear.
Shops generally sell useful Contraband, such as Crowbars, Rolls of Duct Tape, Tool Handles and other materials. They can also sell other items such as prison-exclusive items, as seen in Jungle Compound or most The Escapists 2 maps.
Fun Tip (TE1): You can Pause the game and wait for the shops to change, They seem to be time related and switch even when the game time has paused. This is an optimal way to get most of your items all together.
In Versus Mode, however, the traders sell different items. They also sell them for free.
If the inmates have a bad opinion of you in The Escapists, they will raise the cost. They will lower their cost if your opinion of you is high, making the cost of an item 150% on 0 opinion and 75% on 100 opinion.