Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holiday Shopping: A Primer

I hope everyone had a Happy Black Friday. (Oh, and Thanksgiving, too.) I was up with my family and out the door by eight o’clock to get the early morning bargains on the first official shopping day of the holiday season. No waiting in line at four a.m. for us. We’re professional shoppers. We know how to find good deals without having to exchange dollars for sleep. (And don’t even mention “Cyber-Monday” to me. That’s for quitters who take the easy road. It’s not real shopping without the possibility of bloodshed. Yes. I am a full contact shopper.)

Now, as a professional shopper, I thought it might be helpful to share some advice with any of you shopping novices out there as we enter into the Official Holiday Shopping Season. I can only hope that my words will help you survive the mall experience ... particularly if you’re shopping in the same mall as me.

For those of you who are learning to drive or who having been tearing up the roads for years ... I know I’m in California where it’s warm, but I do holiday on the East Coast. I understand that it gets cold there. But just about every person circling the lot is hoping for that one lucky spot by the front door. If you’re in a crowded parking lot, you’re going to have a much easier time finding a spot if you aren’t afraid to walk a little. Seriously. It’s the holiday season. You know how much you ate over Thanksgiving. A little exercise can be a good thing.

And please don’t follow me at five miles an hour while I’m walking back to my parking spot. My car is actually on the next aisle over. I’m only walking down this aisle to annoy you when you see me cross between the cars and realize you’ve been wasting your time.

Once inside, remember that you are in a crowded shopping mall, not alone on a desert island ... or a dessert island, which would be the best holiday vacation spot ever! (But, I digest). If you see a shiny object in the store window, do not stop short to look at it. There are people behind you. There are people behind THEM. When you stop short, they stop short too. Except me. I will continue to walk at my brisk pace and KNOCK. YOU. DOWN.

Along those lines, I do realize that we all walk at different speeds. But be warned: I have long legs and I am on a mission. If you’re out for a leisurely stroll through the mall, please stay to the right. Or, if you must, stay to the left. But DO NOT meander down the center of the walkway while traffic backs up behind you. I repeat: I WILL knock you down. (Note: This is especially good advice for when you’re the one walking through the parking lot. Because out there, I’m behind you in a CAR.)

Say you’ve found that perfect gift and are stuck waiting in a really long line to purchase it. You finally get to the register. The cashier rings you up and bags your item. Now is not the time to go searching through your purse for your wallet or in your pockets for cash. It should not come as a surprise that the cashier is going to ask you to pay for the item that you waited in line to purchase. Do everyone else in line behind you a favor and have your wallet in hand when you reach the register. Oh, and GET OFF THE CELL PHONE!! This will make your transactions so much smoother.

And finally, bear in mind that NOBODY likes a screaming child ... especiallly not the child’s own parents. So give the poor moms and dads a break. They don’t want to listen to their kids screaming any more than you do. If you’re stuck in line next to a wailing child, instead of glaring at the parent, try making funny faces at the child. Maybe you’ll even get a giggle in return. Not every parent will appreciate your effort, but if it works, the people in line—and the store employees—certainly will.

Have a Happy Holiday Shopping Season!


Jennifer Echols said...

Wow, P.J., I want to shop right behind you so you can clear the way for me! ROFL

I didn't get much shopping done over the weekend, but I did pay my niece $1.50 to teach me the Soldier Boy. (It's a dance yo.)

Micol Ostow said...

Slow walkers are the bane of my existence. Rock Center after the tree has been lit? Oy.