Monday, December 22, 2008

Last-second shopping tips

I went through a phase where I was working in the Braintree mall, at a somewhat upscale store. I saw and learned a few things, so I humbly offer my readers some lessons learned from working over the sound of three years' worth of Christmas music. Frankly, I should have posted this two weeks ago, but it didn't dawn on me:

  • Just park already You can park a little further away from the mall and walk for 10 minutes, or you can circle the lot for 20 minutes, getting frustrated as you just miss this space and that space.

  • Park behind the mall The anchor stores and food court operators want you to park right in front so you have to be tempted by their wares. Don't fall for it. Circle behind the mall -- many places have back entrances that most shoppers don't see. Or, park near the exterior entrance of a less popular store.

  • Know what you're getting into before requesting gift wrap Gift wrappers in stores aren't necessarily particulalry qualified, and the waiting time is hardly worth it. I'm one of the last people who should be wrapping gifts, and even I was commissioned from time to time.

  • Look on lower shelves Of course, retail outlets put all their big-ticket or desperate-to-move items at eye level. The better deals are further down. Places such as Brookstone hide some of the most interesting stuff out of the way.

  • Look near the register at upscale places A lot of upscale stocking stuffers" make great gifts for humble folks such as you or I, and an impulse purchase for the rich at Restoration Hardware or Pier 21 makes for a great deliberate buy for the rest of us. As stocking stuffers are placed near the registers for impulse buys, check out the registers of upscale places; or put together a couple of finds from other stores.

  • Go tonight The Monday night before Christmas is shockingly dead in malls. Dead. Tuesday night is often decent as well; throughout the holiday season, you will pretty much have the mall to yourself on Monday nights. That's when I go. If you go during the weekend, you just deserve what happens to you.

I don't know if this helps, but there you go.

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