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How does duty free shopping work?

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I've always just walked past the duty free shopping stores because we usually don't have time to shop, and they don't seem to offer great bargains.

However, I am enamored of Calvados. We were returning from England to the US, and had some time, and I noticed that they had Calvados in the duty free store. Our flight was from Heathrow to Chicago to Cleveland. Since we were inside security, I saw no problem carrying the Calvados onto the Heathrow/ Ohare flight, but I knew we would have to pass through security again in Ohare, and I would have a banned liquid in my possession, unless I stashed it in my checked luggage as we passed through customs.

Is that an accepted procedure for dealing with such purchases? Or is there an alternative.

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