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 June 29, 2015 17:11 GMT
PENDING HOME SALES
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in May, as pending sales climbed to their highest level in more than nine years.
The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 0.9 percent to 112.6 last month. The index has increased 10.4 percent over the past 12 months, putting it just below the April 2006 level -- which was more than a year before the housing bust triggered the Great Recession.
The steady job growth coupled with low but rising mortgage rates have fueled the purchases. Pending sales increased in the Northeast and West last month, while slipping in the Midwest and South.
Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The president of Cyprus has sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) saying he supports his request for an extension of a few days to the country's bailout.
The bailout expires tomorrow, and Tsipras asked for it to be extended so Greece can hold a referendum on creditor reform demands on Sunday.
Without a deal to extend the bailout program, Greece will lose access to the remaining 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) of rescue loans, and is unlikely to be able to meet a 1.6 billion-euro debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund due the same day.
The accelerating crisis has thrown into question Greece's financial future and continued membership in the 19-nation shared euro currency -- and even the 28-country European Union.
BOND INSURERS-SECTOR SNAP
NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of bond insurers tumbled today after Puerto Rico's governor said the U.S. territory had little hope of paying its $72 billion debt.
Puerto Rico's bonds are popular with U.S. mutual funds because they are tax-free, but hedge funds and distressed-debt buyers began stepping in to buy up debt as the island's economy worsened and its credit rating dropped.
Puerto Rico's constitution dictates that the debt has to be paid before any other financial obligation is met.
A spokesman says Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla is hoping to defer debt payments while negotiating with creditors.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- General Electric is selling its U.S., Mexico, Australia and New Zealand fleet businesses to Element Financial Corp. for $6.9 billion.
GE Capital Fleet Services provides commercial car and truck financing and fleet-management services. GE recently announced it would sell most of GE Capital over the next two years for about $26.5 billion.
The U.S. and Mexico deal is expected to close in the third quarter, while the Australia and New Zealand transaction is targeted to close in the fourth quarter.
GE also says it has a memorandum of understanding for the possible sale of its European fleet businesses to BNP Paribas subsidiary Arval. If approved, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is staying out of a long-running legal battle between technology giants Oracle and Google over copyright protection for a computer program that powers most of the world's smartphones and computer tablets.
The justices say they won't review an appeals court ruling that said software maker Oracle Corp. could copyright portions of the Java programming platform that Google used to build its popular Android software for mobile devices.
Oracle is seeking roughly $1 billion in damages for claims that Google stole some of the Java technology that Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems.
A federal district court ruled in 2012 that federal copyright laws didn't cover the program. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed, saying it was copyright protected.
SUPREME COURT-GULF OIL SPILL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Supreme Court will not hear appeals from BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. over Clean Water Act fines for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The justices today let stand a lower court ruling that said the owners of the blown-out Macondo well could not avoid federal fines for the spill by blaming another company's failed equipment.
The companies had argued that the oil had not leaked from the well itself, but from the broken underwater pipe that connected the well to the rig owned by Transocean Ltd. That riser was ripped apart when the burning rig sank. The companies argued that the rig's owners should be the only companies to pay.
A district judge and a federal appeals court rejected that argument.
AIRBNB-DISASTER RESPONSE PROGRAM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Airbnb is teaming up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to strengthen its program that lets victims of hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters stay at host homes for free.
The online home rental service is sending 100,000 hosts in Florida, Louisiana and other states tips from FEMA's Ready campaign on how to prepare for hurricane season. During a disaster, FEMA will also provide Airbnb with real-time information so that the company can better figure out where its help is needed. For example, Airbnb can email hosts in specific neighborhoods to let them know shelter is needed in that area. Hosts can then go to the Airbnb's site or app and volunteer to take in victims or rescue workers for free.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Sysco is scrapping its proposed $3.5 billion buyout of US Foods. The decision comes following a Federal Trade Commission legal victory that temporarily blocked the deal to combine the two food-service companies.
The FTC opposed the deal, saying it would reduce competition by putting 75 percent of the national market for suppliers to restaurants and other food-service operations under the control of one company. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., granted the halt on Tuesday.
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