Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Defining Moment: S.H.O.P

My Saturday shopping trip was going along as usual until I was hit with a 2 ton marketing slap in the face. It is September and Christmas items are for sale. Now, I won’t name any names but the fact that I feel compelled to write about this should let you know of these stores’ relevance in the shopping realm. It’s retail. I get it. I’ve worked it on many levels and understand the industries reliance on moving new products quickly. I have seen the timing of Christmas items available for sale move back more and more each year. 2011, however, takes the cake as the earliest because Santa has already made an appearance yet Summer is still here.

Despite my disdain for the market’s power to influence consumers to shop earlier each year, it works very well for them so I must play along. I feel it is my duty to help you be the best damn shopper you can be no matter the season. Here are a few tips to take your shopping abilities from novice to professional

All you have to do is remember to S.H.O.P.

S is for sack. In this day and age, it is ludicrous not to be carrying your own bags when you shop. I highly recommend the eco-luxurious Saky Sacks because they are both stylish and durable. Whenever you shop, take a couple sacks with you so that you don’t have to pollute the environment with another disposable bag, despite how fashionable you will look with the luxury name spread across it. You will say more by showing your love of Mother Earth while shopping with reusable bags.

H is for Hydrate. No matter the shopping season, please be sure to carry some water with you for yourself and the little ones. Hydration is key especially when burning calories and though you are not running a marathon, shopping does burn calories especially at those outdoor malls. Take small sips from a reusable water bottle throughout the day and you will be surprised at how well balanced you feel while out on your trip to the shops.

O is for Options. No matter where you go, payment options are subject to change so it’s always best to be ready. Do you have cash for those little market carts selling fresh produce? Are you ready for the words, “That card is not accepted here...”? Do you have checks & proper ID for those bigger purchases? Take ‘em if you got ‘em when it comes to forms of payment because you don’t want the shopping trip ruined because you didn’t bring your AMEX.

P is for Plan: The best shopping trips are those planned to a T. Here are 2 simple steps to plan the perfect shopping trip:

1. Make a list of what you need, who it’s for and what size. If it helps, make a list of the stores you need to stop at as well. Just remember to stick to the list. This will keep you on task, on time & on budget.

2. Carry snacks & hydration to add extra time to your shopping trip. A few sips of water in between stores has the ability to keep you going and in order to cross off all the items on your list you will need the extra energy. The kiddies will also thank you just in case the line at Neiman’s is atrocious.