Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Dave’s Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Tips

Coming from a family that is notoriously hard to shop for, and who (despite constant prodding since late October) don’t really come through in providing gift lists (more on this in a second), I’m usually left to do my Christmas shopping at the last minute.  Alas, as of a few minutes ago, I’m done aside from a bottle of wine and some Tim Hortons gift cards (gotta look after the Postie, after all).

For me, wish lists are a really thoughtful tool of guidance for family members.  It’s not like you HAVE to buy from it, but it can provide a window into the wants of loved ones whose wants might not be immediately apparent to you.

Anyways, on to the tips:

  • Go to stores the moment they open, usually around 10am
    You won’t be as swamped by other shoppers and salespeople are fresh from a good night’s sleep and not worn out by idiotic shoppers, so you get more attentive service.
  • Have plenty of cash, and use it
    Most big chains have a cash only line that will be shorter than debit or credit lines.  Plus, the people behind you will be friendlier when they see you won’t be taking an extra 5 minutes fidgeting with the card swipe thingy, and you get an extra 5 minutes.
  • Bring snacks
    This one is pretty clear.  A hungry shopper is a bitter shopper.
  • Lose the jacket
    Sweating while shopping is annoying.  Try to leave your jacket in the car, or stash it in a locker at a mall.  Comfort is key.
  • A good shoulder bag that can hold A LOT
    This frees your hands of purchases and makes carrying your gifts a lot easier.  Plus, the rule of size means that you can use it to force your way through crowds, or swing into the whiny kid ahead of you in line in the hopes that you’ll knock him or her unconscious to the relief of everyone in the store… his or her parents included.
  • Know what you’re going to buy before you go in
    Don’t dawdle in the aisles.  Go online before you head out (and before the stores open) and you’ll know what you want, where it is in the store, and how much it will be.

There you go.  With barely one whole shopping day left, I hope these tips come in handy, and I’ll try to remember to repost this in mid-December 2009.

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