Kashgar's Guide to Successful Christmas Shopping
Added over 4 years ago
By Linda Heaphy
Every year we here at Kashgar witness the Great Shopping Debacle that is Christmas and all the trauma it entails. What we have discovered after many years behind the counter serving our customers is that most of the stress associated with the festive season is self inflicted. What this means is that with a little bit of forward planning, it can be avoided completely
- The first point is the most obvious and is probably the hardest to apply: if you can, do your shopping early. But if you can't, don't stress. The fact is, most people work right up until Christmas Eve. Others are by nature procrastinators and require the urgency of a deadline to function successfully. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this - don't beat yourself up over it and add guilt to your burden of stress. If you are only capable of doing your Christmas shopping one day before the event, do it on that day. Just remember to plan for it with the same care that a General uses before going into battle: make sure the day is free of other distractions or commitments, remember to eat lunch and hydrate along the way, and PREPARE,which leads us to:
- Make a list. It's the difference between a satisfactory and enjoyable shopping experience and a descent into hell. You CANNOT get distracted if you have a list. On your list put the name of the person you are buying for, three gift suggestions in order of preference and the amount of money you wish to spend (a minimum and maximum is usually best). This preparatory work can be done well in advance of your actual shopping trip, and you can utilise the skills of others who may be far better at this sort of thing than you (ie your wife). In addition, use your list to help you:
- Buy your heaviest gifts at the end of the day. If this isn't possible, arrange to leave them somewhere (parcel pick-up, a car) and collect them before going home. If this isn't possible, leave them behind the counter of subsequent stores you visit and give your arms a break!
- Go it alone. You are far more likely to succeed in your mission if you do not have a small child, sullen husband or distracting friend along with you for the ride. If you need a second opinion, make a call.
- First choice is usually best. Have faith in what you choose, don't add to your burden of stress by second guessing yourself. People generally have a good idea in their head of what they want and what will suit the person they are buying for. But in 99% of shopping experiences you will see a customer chose, then spend the next half hour questioning their choice, only to return to it at the end. Don't forget, if it's not exactly right, it can always be exchanged.
- Take advice. Shop assistants are there to help you and welcome the opportunity to do so. Enlist their services in your game plan by telling them who you are buying for, what you want to spend and the effect you want to achieve. Then let them direct you to the appropriate items. Don't waste your time and theirs looking at $300 items if you only want to spend $30. Don't feel that you HAVE to buy something just because you have asked for their help - they really are there to assist you. Let shop staff make your Christmas experience a more efficient and more enjoyable one and enlist their aid in your search!
- Be nice to other people and they will be nice to you. Christmas shopping can be a frustrating experience: the crowds, the relentless carol playing, small children underfoot everywhere you go. Remember that everyone feels the same way, and shop assistants doubly so. Make an effort to smile at others and they WILL smile back. Take pleasure in the fact that you are helping to make someone else's day that little bit better - your reward will be tenfold.
- If you are really stuck, get a gift voucher. They may be impersonal but they really do work. If you want to personalise the voucher more, put it in a pretty box or a special card. Add a few chockys. Voila! End of Difficult-Relative problem!
- Take a small packet of lollies shopping with you and every so often give yourself a small sugar hit. This can work absolute wonders when your concentration starts to waver. Discard this advice if you are diabetic.
- Take a deep breath every now and then. This is not trial by shopping, this is meant to be an enjoyable and integral part of the Christmas experience. Roll your shoulders, flex your arms, stop for a cup of coffee, meet a friend for lunch (and then go your separate ways). There! Feel better?
- Buy yourself a treat. Reward yourself for all your hard work: a cake, a trinket of jewellery, a scented candle, that magazine on game fishing or garden gnome collecting. Don't feel guilty! You deserve it!
And remember what the spirit of Christmas really entails: a time of reflection, peace and sharing with people that you like, love and care for. Make it so. See you in the store and Merry Christmas!
Linda Heaphy Copyright 2009
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