Monday, December 6, 2010

At least Santa has help

Let’s just admit that holiday shopping can be rough. There are insane crowds, relentless piped-in holiday music, elusive parking spaces, traffic jams, and the extreme likelihood of running into another shopper who is intensely grumpy and not afraid to share it.

As annoying as all that can be for shoppers, think of the store employees!

How about making life easier for everyone?

• Put your cell phone away, especially while making a purchase. Try smiling and talking directly to the sales associate. And refer back to our earlier post on using cell phones in public places. (And please, please put the cell phone down while cruising parking lots and busy streets.)

• Consider self-help, literally. Many stores have computer terminals for customer use, and using them to search for items in the building may save you time.

• Think of the children! Seriously, shopping can be extremely frustrating and tedious to children (at least when they complain or cry, they have the excuse of exhibiting completely developmentally appropriate behavior). Bring a toy, snack or book to occupy them. Even if your children are perfect angels, the store employees will be quite busy enough without babysitting them. Most of all, remember your top responsibility is attending to your children’s needs — even if that means leaving early and having to shop again another day.

• Exercise patience. You are one of many shoppers, and the store employee may be juggling a lot of different demands. If an employee is helping another shopper, refrain from yelling out a question or request for help.

• Be flexible. Sometimes, you won’t be able to find exactly what you want. While you naturally may be disappointed, loudly proclaiming that someone’s Christmas will now be ruined will not change anything. Also, this is a good time to step back and reevaluate what you want Christmas to mean to you and your family.

• Remember to thank those who help you.

Finally, if you or your friends are especially hard hit by the economy, take these tips on how to “mind your money manners.”

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