Shopping Tips for People Who Hate to Shop

I see you there in the stores. You give yourself away. It's in the eyes, I think. The same trapped look one sees in aged zoo animals who have vague memories of jungles beyond their simulated concrete habitat, yet they can't quite recall the details.

You hate shopping and don't want to be here. It's the world's oldest fish-out-of-water story, right after the one that actually starred the fish. And you have my sympathy. Yet, as much as it pains me to say it, the shopping world isn't quite ready for you, either.

So here are some shopping tips for you good folks who'd ordinarily choose fingernail-extrusion over trying to find that French nail kit your niece asked for.

I think if we all work together, we can get through this burst of mandatory commercialized gaiety for another season. Without anyone getting hurt.

  • The cart need not necessarily be an extension of your body. Because individual inventory items do not yet come with GPS, you're not sure where you're going. Understood! Just remember, when you turn your head to locate a particular department, you don't actually need to move your entire cart with you, full-body. You can 1.) let go of it and 2.) just turn your head to see. I have witnessed more people do sweeping spins in the center of narrow aisles than Dorothy Hamil going for Olympic Gold. Only this involves more bruised shins and flattened toes.
  • If something is "Cute for $5," this isn't really the positive endorsement you think it is. I know; you want to check those family members off your gift list and go back to non-shopping normalcy in the fastest way possible. So you stumble upon a whole wall of beautifully-discounted, faux-painted, artificial slate, virtually hand-crafted, seasonally-inspirational signs bearing a genuine simulated folk art goose wearing a Santa hat. You need to gift 15 nephews, nieces, neighbors and grandchildren. If you bought every single person on your list one of these miniature works of fine art you could be done with this foolishness instantly. You can now see the bright shining portal of the exit, where before you were only envisioning a slow fluorescent retail-induced death. But I beg you, put Santa Goose down. You have succumbed to delirium. It is not "cute for $5." It is barely cute for the fifty-cents it took that eight-year-old in China to make it. Your grandson does not want one. Go home and bake everyone cookies which are goose-free. Tell them about Santa Goose. They'll understand.
  • Keep in mind, you are just entering a store, not approaching the Great and Terrible Oz. Yes, when you don't shop often, going into these crowded, jumbled stores can be intimidating. But remember, step through the automatic doors and don't stop dead, frozen in dread and awe-- keep moving. There are people behind you. People who are now being punched in the face as you swing off your coat in the entryway because you're now in a Panic Sweat. Giving a stranger a black-eye before you even set foot in the shop is not, perhaps, the right tone for the day.
  • Resist the temptations of Begos, Darbies and Patchbox. If you find yourself saying the words "it looks almost the same" when you're trying to buy something on a family member's Christmas list, just forgo it. Do not try the Fiscally-Sound Switcheroo. Yes, I know there seems to be no discernable difference between Darby and that pink-boxed, 12- inch plastic hoochie your kid asked for. And yes, the Patchbox cars do have four wheels and almost probably maybe aren't coated in lead paint. But kids have super-sense about these things. They have criteria for why Barbie kicks Darby's skinny polymer butt beyond what mere mortals can see. You think you're a genius now, but wait until you have to explain why Darby seems to be experiencing female pattern baldness on Christmas morn.
  • Decision-making stops before the cash register. Have you made the right choice? Have you thought your purchases through? It's always a risk. But here's a helpful hint-- the time to truly debate about this is not at the cash register at the front of a line which snakes all the way back to the Orange-Gloed restrooms. Think of the cash register as the Moment of Truth. Step forward bravely. The cashier does not know your daughter-in-law's taste. If you are taking 20 items up to the register and only buying three, there is a problem.

Well, my dear Shopping-Phobic Friends, here's hoping these tips are enough to guide you, reduce your stress, and eliminate the potential of you being hamstringed by angry fellow shoppers in housewares. Remember, the best gift you can give is of yourself, and yourself probably doesn't involve 50 overstocked copies of the Taco Bell dog's autobiography.

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Humorbloggers
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20 comments:

Moooooog35 said...

"Resist the temptations of Negos, Darbies and Patchbox.."

I totally misread 'Negos,' and was, like, WHERE THE HELL DOES SHE SHOP?!?!?

Jenn Thorson said...

Mooog- Heh, I see where you're coming from. That is SO wrong. :)

Joel Klebanoff said...

Thanks for that. I'm one of those people who hate shopping with a burning passion. Fortunately, I come from a cultural heritage that doesn't require the buying of Christmas presents. A couple of Hanukkah presents for a niece and I'm done. I do my best to stay out of stores for the entire Christmas shopping season.

By the way, I initially misread the same line that Moooooog35 misread. And, although he didn't specify how he misread it, I'm sure I misread it in the same way as he did. I was getting ready to be thoroughly shocked and appalled until I realized my mistake.

Jenn Thorson said...

Joel- Which, as good user-testing proves, is probably a strong enough motive for me to change that N to another random letter. :) Thanks, you guys. I'm glad you both know me well enough to know that probably WASN'T what I was going for.

Greg said...

What the hell are BEGOS? :D

Great post. Sounds like you've been out there in the trenches.

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- Just a little. While I enjoy thrifting and antiquing-- and I like pulling together gifts for people-- on-season holiday shopping isn't my favorite thing either. It's always an adventure.

Joel Klebanoff said...

Jenn -- I never thought that was what you were going for, not even for a second, which is why I realized I must have read it wrong and reread it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Joel- Well, that's excellent-- can't ask for better than that!

Deray said...

I don't hate shopping, I hate the people shopping at the same time as me! jajajajajajaja

Rewarding the car as an extension of one's body. I have to do that during this season, I have had items taken from my shopping cart before. Apparently some dude size XXL couldn't licked my selection of funny T-shirts for my brother.

Yesterday I went to almost every major department store in Tucon looking for the hotest toy of the season for Mexican kids (a wrestling ring from the WWE). When I finally found it (and it was the last one available at the store) I did not lose grip of my shopping cart for about 1.5 hours!!!

ReformingGeek said...

I'm becoming more and more interested in converting to Judaism.

Thanks for the shopping tips. I'll try not to become ONE with my buggy.

Jenn Thorson said...

Deray- It's different when you're protecting coveted items. Rather than your cart has melded with your body because you've forgotten you can let go. (Or perhaps it's like a child's security blanket. :)) So who's the lucky kids in your family getting the coveted wresting toy-- or is it YOU? :)

Reforming Geek- Good, as it'll be easier for you to enjoy Christmas properly if you and the buggy are not one. :)

Deray said...

That would be my 9-year old Godson Jenn. He is crazy about american wrestling for reasons I can't understand, jajajajaja. He is getting the wrestling ring an 2 action figures of his favorite wrestlers from Santa, then another 4 wrestlers from his parents, my sister and me.

Melanie said...

Ok, you're scaring me. Were you watching me shop last week????

Seriously, the cart and I are one and you ain't gettin me to let go for NOTHING, nothing I tell you! It's my life line in that muzac infested hell!

VE said...

On the contrary...the cart is your friend. Maim, maul, spin out, roll it around the corner on aisle 7, pop wheelies. The cart is the husbands built in entertainment when shopping with the wife...

Mr. Knucklehead said...

I solved the problem by spending ten minutes in front of the "wall o' gift cards". My shopping's DONE!

Begos? Darbies? I'm gonna save a ton of money! Great stuff like Stirograph, Mintendo, jPods, and maybe I'll even spring for the latest version of Sitar Hero.

Jenn Thorson said...

Deray- Ah, but kids LOVE WWF wrestling-- at least cyclicly. I remember how big it was in the 80s with us kids. My young boy cousins couldn't get enough of it.

Melanie- Er... um.... (notices tension in text)... No problem, Melanie. Here's a nice hot cup of tea to make things better... There we go... (Runs)

VE- Sounds like you're using that cart as some reality based Wii game, though. How many points do you get for each wound? :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Knucklehead- Oh, I hear Sitar Hero features some great tunes by the Meatles. Beorge Glarrison was big on the Sitar, wasn't he? :)

kathcom said...

My husband needs to learn your cart instruction. Can you offer it as an online course?

I really wish those eight-year-olds in China would start making better products. My relatives are getting sick of the tube socks I send every year.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Have you been talking to my family? You know...you know about me and my shopping ways. I'm freaked out now.

rht66 said...

Well my tip for shopping for the holidays is to first look who you are shopping for. If, like me you only have a mother and father that live near you and they are in their 70's, then you are kind of limited. My only other family members are in Calif, and let's face it, they are as broke as I am, which leaves my niece and nephew who I won't be there with anyway. So far the few times I bought them something they wanted really, really, bad, either got broken or ended up in a garage sale two years later.

So for me it's quite simple, the kids get money and a thoughtful card. My sister and I agree to not waste money on postage and since my parents spend most of their time either watching tv or reading, we are going to get them a blue ray player this year and work our way up to a nice home entertainment center. Since my dad's camera broke a few months back me and my mom are getting him a new camera.

Now if I had the budget to do things the way I'd like. We would all charter a jet to Hawaii and take the time spend a few weeks on one of the less crowded islands and just enjoy each others company.