Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Shopping Guide

Dear Fellow Holiday Shoppers,

In the spirit of the season I would like to share a few shopping tips that will make your holiday shopping more enjoyable.  I believe that if you follow my advice your shopping will be more productive for you and far less annoying to me.

It’s important to remember that your shopping trip starts in the parking lot.  I know that it’s tough to find parking, and sometimes the only space available is the one you’re waiting for someone to vacate.  Someone that you’ve stalked through the lot and are now waiting as they load their purchases and you sit in the middle of the road with a string of cars behind you.  That can happen, but more often than not, if you just drive down farther you’ll find an open space.  Yes, that means you’ll have a longer walk, but unless you’re disabled (and if you are disabled you get one of those sweet spots up front so this isn’t really your problem anyway) it’s really not going to hurt you. 

Once inside it’s important to remember that you are not the only person in the store.  There are other shoppers that also need to find items and that might need assistance from store personnel, that means you might have to actually wait in a line or say excuse me.  If you are in a store with carts it’s unacceptable to leave the cart in the middle of the aisle while getting an item off the shelf. (I’m talking to you, lady at Costco yesterday)  Think of your cart as an extension of yourself, take it with you, park it snugly against the shelf, retrieve your item all the while leaving plenty of room for people to move past you. When dealing directly with other shoppers use your words; please, thank you, excuse me, are all a better option than a grunt and an evil eye.  

When it’s time to check out take a moment to make sure you got everything you came for.  Don’t ask the person in back of you to save your place in line while you run and get something. While your purchases are being rung up don’t talk on your phone. It’s just plain rude.  Greet the check-out person.  If they ask how you are, respond and smile.  That’s just good manners. They have it rough enough without you ignoring them or worse, berating them.  If something doesn’t go your way yelling at the clerk isn’t going to help your situation. (that saying about flies and honey is definitely true.  It is rare, if ever, that I don’t get what I want from a store. I don’t expect outrageous things, and when I have a problem I am calm, rational, and above all, courteous.  A smile will get you just about anything) Venting your frustration on the guy making minimum wage is just tacky.  If you have a problem, politely ask for a manager and then politely state your case to said manager.  If your request isn’t completely crazy or against a stated store policy they are most likely going to give you what you want. 

For a smooth transaction have your payment method ready.  Don’t be searching around for your credit card after all your purchases are rung up.  If by some chance you still write checks, you can have it made out ahead of time and just fill in the total.  This makes the people in line behind you not hate you for wasting their time. 

When you get back to your car and are unloading your packages, if there is a car waiting for your spot don’t take extra time leaving just to spite him and make him wait. Think of all the cars behind him that he’s blocking and don’t make them suffer because that guy is an idiot. 

And finally, remember that all your fellow shoppers are there for the same reasons you are.  All they want to do is get in and get out as quickly as possible, they're trying to survive the holidays just like you. 


  1. I love that you went out and said all the things I've been thinking in my head the last few days of holiday shopping (and DRIVING in holiday traffic). I've never understood why people can't shop happily, and why they can't be kind and courteous to those around them. Stores are crowded and stressful, yes; but that one person who is being kind can really improve the place. Why not be that person and hope it spreads? That's always been my philosophy! Happy shopping (or happy survival) everyone! :)

  2. One more bit of advice. Please, please take your change somewhere and exchange it for cash. It is just rude to pay for your $35.00 purchase in dimes and nickels while a dozen people are waiting to check out. Sadly, this is a true story that happened to me recently. The people behind me became ruder as the time drug on and so I turned around and tried to make light of the situation by quietly saying, “It could be worse. She could have had all pennies.”

  3. These are great! May I rip you off, once again and post them on my blog? I worked retail for years and normally loved it, but once in awhile . . . . i8t was challenging.

    I would add, always take a cart in with you if the store has them and always greet the greeters at the door. Can you imagine being at that age and having to work to make ends meet? Not my dream! I have also noticed that as the retail workers get more frazzled as the holidays progress they are more grateful for a kind word, smile and inquiry of how they are doing.

    Thanks for posting this!!

  4. Sharron - I'm glad you liked them, feel free to re-post.