Suggestions for a Less Stressful Shopping Season
The 2013 holiday shopping season is set to be the shortest on record. With just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year’s 32 days, consumers will undoubtedly be seeking easy and efficient ways to still get their shopping done. In order to make the most of your shopping trips, here are a few simple tips from the professional at Hamilton Place Mall:
Have a shopping list. Taking a few minutes to actually write out what you need and who you’re shopping for can save both stress and over-spending. It will also save you time, especially if you’ve written down information such as sizes and color preferences. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips such as the babysitter, dog groomer, mail and newspaper carriers or hair stylist. This will also help you manage your holiday budget. But you may also want to have a few “surprise” gifts that are generic in case you forget anyone or someone drops by with a gift for you during the holidays.
Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes to keep your feet happy during your shopping trip. If possible, leave your bulky winter coat in the car.
Shop during the week rather than on the weekend. Generally, fewer people shop during the week as compared to the weekend. Also, malls are places where people socialize as well as shop. With school in session during the week, you’ll find fewer families in the mall at that time.
Shop early in the day rather than later in the day or evening. Remember the saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” The same applies to shopping. In the mornings there are generally fewer people out. That means fewer crowds, faster service and time to browse a bit more when making gift selections.
Shop with somebody. This is a good idea unless the person you’re shopping with is the person you’re shopping for! Nevertheless, time goes by faster when you’re shopping with someone. Plus, you have somebody to talk to, to share gift ideas with and to help make color and size decisions.
Make multiple shopping trips rather than an all-day shopping marathon. This will require a bit more planning, but can help preserve your strength, stamina and sanity in the long run. There are numerous methods to use in following this suggestion such as shopping for all the members of a particular family or purchasing children’s presents on one trip and adult’s presents on another trip.
Map out your shopping trip. When planning a trip, you wouldn’t dream of driving off without having looked up directions on your phone or the internet. Why should shopping be any different? If you know what you want to purchase and where you can find it, half your battle is won.
Don’t forget the gift receipt and gift wrapping. In order to ensure that the recipient can return or exchange an item, make sure the sales associate includes a gift receipt with your purchase. At Hamilton Place Mall you will find Kids on the Block gift wrap stations located on the upper level by Customer Service and on the lower level by JCPenney.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or directions. In order to make room for holiday and seasonal merchandise, stores sometimes have to reconfigure departments or sections. This can be confusing to a customer who regularly shops that store. As a result, a great deal of time can be spent “searching” for merchandise and the searching can lead to frustration. Why not simply ask a sales associate for assistance?
THINK SAFETY - One final suggestion regarding shopping – at any time – but particularly during the holidays, is to keep safety in mind at all times. Know where you place your credit card or checkbook after a purchase. Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your wallet or purse. Take in just want you need to spend and come back later. When getting money from an ATM, don’t let people crowd you too closely. When taking purchases to your car, lock them out of sight in the trunk rather than exposed in the back seat. Finally, let somebody at home know you’re going to be shopping, your destination, route and estimated time of return.
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Last Update on January 27, 2015 08:27 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve policymakers will have a batch of fresh data to consider as they begin a two-day meeting to look at interest rates.
The Commerce Department releases December data on durable goods order this morning. Factory orders slumped in November, largely due to falling demand in the military and defense sectors. But a key category that economists view as a proxy for business investment spending was flat after declines the previous two months.
Also this morning, Standard & Poor's releases the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for November. The rise in prices slowed in October amid falling real estate sales. New home sales were down in November, and the Commerce Department will offer December sales figures this morning.
And the Conference Board releases its Consumer Confidence Index for January this morning. December's report showed growing optimism.
Also today, there's a full lineup of corporate earnings reports expected today. DuPont, American Airlines, Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble, 3M and Pfizer all report quarterly financial results before the market opens. Apple, Amgen, AT&T and Yahoo release results after the market closes.
WASHINGTON (AP) --The Congressional Budget Office says the federal budget deficit will shrink this year to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office.
CBO says the deficit will be $468 billion for the budget year that ends in September. That's slightly less than last year's $483 billion deficit.
As a share of the economy, CBO says this year's deficit will be slightly below the historical average of the past 50 years.
In a report released Monday, the agency projects solid economic growth for the next few years. The official scorekeeper of Congress also expects unemployment to drop slightly.
Beyond 2018, CBO projects deficits to start rising again as more baby boomers retire and enroll in Social Security and Medicare.
NORTH DAKOTA SALTWATER SPILL
MARMON, N.D. (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency says more than 4 million gallons of a mixture of fresh water, brine and oil have been pumped from the area affected by the largest saltwater spill of North Dakota's current energy boom.
The federal agency made public on Monday an assessment on the nearly 3 million-gallon spill of saltwater generated by oil drilling that leaked from a ruptured pipeline. Operator Summit Midstream Partners LLC detected the spill Jan. 6, but it's still unclear exactly when it occurred and what caused it.
Saltwater, also known as brine, is an oil-production byproduct that's considered an environmental hazard.
The EPA also says dams are being constructed in case water levels rise as ice melts, and to contain the drainage of saltwater.
ARCTIC OFFSHORE LEASING
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Alaska's congressional delegation is expecting the federal government to pull additional areas from consideration for Arctic Ocean offshore drilling when it announces a five-year drilling plan.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she was briefed last week by the Interior Department on the upcoming drilling plan.
Federal waters used by subsistence hunters are other areas that were excluded from leasing in past sales. Murkowski says she was told those exclusions could be made permanent and additional areas pulled from consideration.
She's says that's another blow to development in the state, which already is suffering with the drop in oil prices.
Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and U.S. Rep. Don Young spoke at a news conference in Washington, D.C., to state their objections to pursue a wilderness designation for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats have temporarily stalled progress on a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the top priority of the Republican-controlled Congress.
The Senate voted 53-39 Monday to cut off debate on the bill, in a procedural vote. That's short of the 60 votes needed.
The vote caps a partisan dispute over the time granted to consider amendments to the bill.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to move to pass the legislation, which has enough support. Democrats argued they needed more time to debate additions.
Some Democrats who had supported previous bills approving the pipeline, including one of the bill's current sponsors, helped filibuster the move to limit debate.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- West Coast dockworkers and their employers have resolved a key dispute in new contract talks.
A spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents operators of port terminals, says companies and union negotiators reached a tentative agreement on whether the union would maintain and repair truck beds that haul containers that have been unloaded from ships.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union had no immediate comment.
Who handles truck chasses emerged as a stumbling block in contract talks. The union wanted those jobs, partly because automation at seaports could erode its membership.
Cargo has been moving slowly through West Coast ports, which link the U.S. to Asia. Employers say workers are slowing down; workers blame employers, citing the outsourcing of chassis repair as one problem.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Want a ride home from car service Uber during the major snowstorm descending on the Northeast? Expect to pay more than the usual fare.
Still, after taking heat for big price increases during past storms, Uber has capped how much prices can rise in U.S. cities during disasters or emergencies.
In New York City, surge pricing will be capped at 2.8 times -- nearly triple -- the normal fare. The San Francisco company is also planning to donate the proceeds after paying drivers to the American Red Cross. That's part of its nationwide policy during disasters and emergencies after criticism when prices surged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
At smaller rival Lyft, prices never go higher than three times the regular rate.
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