Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tips for safe holiday shopping

The holiday season is here.  This week we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the USA.  We plan a large meal for our family, or plan to help out in serving a meal to those less fortunate. We remember the Thanksgivings of our childhood.

We take time to be thankful for all that we have. Even if we don't have a lot. We spend the day eating too much, watching parades and football games. 

We plan Christmas. Some decorate the house for Christmas that day or that weekend - like I will be doing.

And then.... we start dealing with the hectic schedules. The extra things to get done before, during and after work. The events to plan and attend. Gifts to buy, wrap and give. Family events to coordinate. All in preparation for Christmas. Shopping, shopping shopping.

As someone who has been in the retail business for more years than I ever planned I have noticed a lot, heard a lot and want to share some safety tips for your shopping experience. 

First - pay attention. To everything.  Watch your bank statements, your checking balances, your credit card charges, PayPal accounts etc. 

Keep all of your receipts.

Keep a daily diary of where you go and what you spend where and for what.

Pay attention to your surroundings.

Watch your purses!  So many of us carry larger purses or tote bags with us. Many have no closure to them as in a zipper or even velcro, or a flap over the opening. Please keep those at home!  Carry a small purse and hold it close to you.  Have a strap that goes across your body and carry the purse in front of you instead of to your side or swinging it towards your back.

If you do take a purse with you put your purse in a shopping cart/buggy. Cover it up, strap it in if the cart has the child safety straps, and strap it in under the basket not in the top basket. Having it strapped in helps stop someone from just grabbing it and going, but they could still reach in and take your wallet.  As you shop cover it up with the merchandise you are buying. 

Don't carry cash with you. Carry a credit card or a debit card. If you get your cash stolen, or just loose the cash... it is gone. If you get your CC card or DC stolen or loose it you can get those replaced. (Although time consuming).

When you have stopped to look at something please remember your purse that is sitting in that shopping cart!  Don't walk away from it.

Keep your cell phone and car keys separate from your purse. If your purse is taken you still can make an emergency call and you have your car keys to get home.

Never carry your social security card with you.  Don't keep your driver's license in your car. If someone steals your car ---- they will know where you live.

TAKE DAILY PHOTOS of your children. IF something should happen to one of your children and they get lost you have a current photo and one that shows what they were wearing.

When shopping hid your packages in your car trunk. If you have no trunk cover up the packages with an old blanket. OUT OF SITE - OUT OF MIND for thieves.

IF you feel you are being followed after leaving a store go back inside the store. 

When you can, shop with a friend and look out for each others safety.

When shopping with children keep them close to you. Inside the shopping cart if young. Holding your hand if nothing else. And if they are in the shopping cart - make sure they stay seated. 

Pay attention when you are walking to your car, don't be distracted. Keep your head up, have your keys ready to get into your car. 
Look around your car before you get in. This for safety and to make sure no damage was done to your car by a stray cart or a bad driver who hit and ran.
Look into the back seat of your car and the passenger side of the car next you yours before you get in. As soon as you get in lock your door.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Dress in layers. It may be cold outside, but inside will be warm. 

Keep dehydrated and remember to eat while you are spending the day out shopping.  Do your best to eat healthy too. Staying on your diet (the way you normally eat, not necessarily a diet to loose weight) is important and you are less likely to not feel well from all the strange foods. 

I wish for you a safe and healthy week and holiday shopping time.

Ms Phyllis

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