Ah, the joys of the holidays. Shopping! Essential to gift giving and yet more painful than the bills that come in January. While some have found a way around it by going online, the majority of us are relegated to long lines, no parking spots, and not enough muscle strength to carry everything back to the car at the end of the day. Need some advice? Just follow my tried and true steps to make your shopping experience a more enjoyable one.
1. Use the washroom at home. Stop drinking any liquids an hour before venturing out into the battleground.
2. Make a list. Then, make it again, this time in order of stopping points and stores that you will be frequenting.
3. Dress comfortably and for warmer weather than is currently outside. You will likely be spending most of your time either inside stores or inside your car. Besides, a mad dash from your parking space to the door is always invigorating and can clear your mind.
4. A parking spot is a rare and elusive thing. The best thing to do besides getting there before the store opens is to keep an eye on the people exiting the store and make for where they are headed. If you have to wait for them to put away their things and buckle in young children and get seatbelts on and have a conversation before backing out of their spot even though there is a line of cars behind you, do it. Now is no time to be nice.
5. If you are going to need a cart, get it. Don’t bother going and filling up your arms only to find yourself dropping things off the top of the stack as you stagger your way to the checkout.
6. Once inside the store, stop. Look around. If you don’t know exactly where your item is, ask. Wandering aimlessly is an invitation to all available sales people to attack.
7. Don’t be dazzled by all the glitter. Focus on what you are there for and put up the blinders, especially if you want to cut down on the crying in January when your credit card bill is due.
8. If you are deciding between different brands of the same product, take them all off the rack to do it. There’s nothing more annoying than having your decision made for you by some grabby stranger.
9. As you near the checkout, make use of your peripheral vision. Choose the shortest line but keep those eyes open for one that’s moving twice as fast. If you do decide to switch, sooner rather than later is the key.
10. If you are in a mall, learn how to duck and weave. Be graceful and quick. There’s a slow-moving family ahead of you? Switch aisles. Some punk kid is making trouble in your path? Walk around. If you see someone pass you, draft them. Stick behind them as if your life depends on it. If they notice you, feign ignorance. If they look back at you, turn around and pretend to also be looking at someone behind you. It confuses them.
11. All done? Good! Now get back to your car and shiver all the way home where you will drink many glasses of water to counteract the dehydration you will undoubtedly have from not drinking all day. Strew all purchases on the living room floor if you don’t live with the their recipients, or stuff them in a closet if you do live with them (preferably the cleaning closet, they will never look there). Flop down on the couch and take a nap.
See? Shopping is possible, as is avoiding the dreaded washroom line in the mall. Just follow these eleven steps to transform your shopping experiences from sad to sublime. And if you catch me following behind you in a crowded mall, just pretend I’m not there. I’ll be pretending you aren’t.