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*Expired* Holiday Shopping Safely

by Freebies4Mom on November 25, 2008 12:46 pm

This is a guest post by Ginger, who blogs at Attention Target Shoppers,with an important safety reminder for everyone. She has done an excellent job summarizing these safety tips and I encourage you to read it.

Hello! Ginger here from AttentionTargetShoppers.com. I blog about shopping at Target exclusively. I do a weekly coupon match-up for the retail grocery section of the Target ad. I have the Target corporate coupon policy posted for those who would love to print off a copy to have in their coupon file box or binder. I do sometimes post information on how you can earn spare cash via the Internet. For more information about me, you can visit my “about” page here. I also blog at Adlibcorner.com and AttentionDealShoppers.com. Drop by and visit real soon!

Though hard to believe, the holidays are here already. With everything we have to do, we will likely find ourselves not quite as alert as we should be when we are out shopping. This post will help you remember some things you can do to shop safely and have a merrier holiday season.

Shopping Preparation:

  • Select a day/time to go. If possible, go in the daytime. If you can’t, maybe you can find someone to shop with you.
  • Make sure you have checked the weather and prepare accordingly.
  • Gas up your vehicle so you don’t have that worry about that as well.
  • Empty the trunk space to stow your purchases. If you have no trunk, put in a couple of totes or a box in to conceal your purchases. Even a blanket or tarp will work to cover up your packages. NEVER leave purchases, purses, CD’s, gadgets or cell phones in sight.
  • Make a shopping list, grab your ads and coupons and put in a tote bag to carry along.
  • Wear comfy clothing WITH pockets. Keep your car and house keys on a ring in your pocket.
  • Wear comfy shoes!!!
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Expect crowds. Expect long lines. Get some rest and go knowing that is may be a long day.
  • Don’t expect to complete all of your shopping in one day. If you do, perhaps you should just go to customer service and get gift cards.


Your Purse/Wallet

  • Clean them out and get rid of the extra weight and clutter. Organize and save time when checking out.
  • Use a purse with a strap long enough so that you can put it over your head and use as a real shoulder bag. If it has a zipper, keep it zipped. If it has a flap closure, keep that facing your body. Gents, put your wallet in your front pocket.
  • Take only the credit cards you need and a small amount of cash. If you are taking cash, put it in places OTHER than in your wallet. Hopefully you have front pockets to stash it. Same for your credit cards, debit cards and drivers license. Should you be the victim of a purse snatching, your cash and credit cards won’t go with the thief.
  • You can already see if your purse gets stolen, you won’t be having to panic because you have all your cash, your CC, D/L and car/house keys.
  • Keep a list of your credit cards, their account numbers, phone numbers from the back side of the card in a safe place.


Parking/Parking Lot Safety:

  • LOCK YOUR CAR! If you aren’t in the habit, don’t be sorry you didn’t.
  • If the parking lot is marked, note what aisle you are on. Which door of the store did you park near?
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
  • Park as close as possible to the store where you will be shopping.
  • If shopping at night, park near a light.
  • Leave the store with your car keys in your hand, keys spread between fingers so that if you need to use them as a weapon, you can.
  • Do not use your cell phone or any sort of iPod or MP3 player. BE ALERT! WALK WITH AUTHORITY!
  • As you exit the building, pause for a few seconds. Look around to make sure nothing strange or out of the ordinary is going on.
  • When you approach your vehicle, look around it, under it, in it before you start getting inside. You do NOT want to get into it while alone if you have a van parked on either side. I had a 78 year old aunt who was drug kicking, screaming and biting out of her car as she was trying to get in and they stole her purse and her car. They left her on the ground with scrapes, bruises, a broken arm and collar bone. She is still horribly traumatized. BE ALERT! IF ANYTHING DOESN’T LOOK RIGHT, IMMEDIATELY GO BACK INSIDE.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for an escort from the store or mall.


Conversation:

  • When out and about, don’t talk about what you are purchasing, how much money you have, what credit cards you have, where you are going, where you live, etc. You may be setting yourself up for theft if you do. SILENCE IS GOLDEN!
  • Don’t have loose lips when you are talking in general. Telling the mailman you are going on a shopping trip is one thing but don’t be telling anyone that doesn’t have a need to know. Have your mail held and the same for newspapers. Leave lights on and a radio playing. It may not be who you tell you are out of town or gone for the day, but who they tell that may see it as an opportunity to drop by your house and rob you.
  • If you happen to be opening a new credit account while shopping, make sure you aren’t talking so loud as to be heard very far while giving your personal info.

ATM’s:

  • If you can, avoid them. I use the stores I visit for the ATM and simply get cash over.
  • The reason I say to avoid them is that you are putting yourself in a precarious position to use an ATM. I don’t like it when a line forms behind me whether it is walk-up or drive-thru. Everyone knows you are getting cash or have cash to deposit.
  • There are strange gadgets that are now being used by thieves to steal your info when you swipe your card too. If any machine looks weird, odd or tampered with, do not use it.
  • If you must use an ATM, try to at least use a drive-thru for more safety. Be sure to grab your receipt, cash and card before you drive away.


Shopping Strategy:

  • Having a plan will help keep you safe and sane! This is where the list, the ads and all the prep pay off big time.
  • If you have them, take hand held walkie-talkies to coordinate with your shopping buddy. Cell phones are the next best bet.
  • Shopping on Black Friday? Use the Black Friday shopping sites to help define where you are going to go for the best price without doing returns I use BlackFriday.gottadeal.com
  • Keep an eye on your cart if using one. There are many who would just as soon shop out of your cart for hot items as off the shelf. I simply throw my coat/sweater over the
    top. Don’t take a leather jacket or something expensive. You don’t want that stolen either.
  • Take a tip from my daughter, if you don’t have a child buckled in your cart, wrap the safety belt around your purse and lock it. Make it hard for anyone to get it!!!!


Paying for Purchases:

  • Make sure to get gift receipts, receipts and credit cards or drivers license back before you walk away.
  • Make sure that if you pay cash, that the cashier knows what amount you hand them and that you get your change back. Having worked retail, I know that cashiers are supposed to put your payment on the keyboard while they make change, count it back and then put your payment in the drawer to finalize the sale.
  • If you are using a debit card with your pin number, try to shield the CC swiping machine. Even people with cell phones can take pics of you clicking the buttons.
  • Consolidate packages as you go. If you can, take a shopping bag that will aid you.
  • Avoid holding packages in front of you that blocks your vision.


Shopping with Children:

  • If at all possible, leave them at home. That isn’t being mean, that is being careful. When my daughter was just 9 months old, someone started approaching me rapidly in the middle of the aisle. He held out his arms as if to take her. I was mortified. Little did this man know, but I worked there and I was not afraid to scream for help. I first yelled “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” at the top of my lungs and then started screaming people’s names I knew and CALL THE POLICE! I only had my daughter and her diaper bag while on our way to have her picture taken on a not so busy day. Trust me, you don’t want that feeling. If you can’t hire a sitter, take your friend, relative or spouse along. Try to go at the slowest time of the day. Maybe even shop on the phone first if possible and just run in to pay/pick-up.
  • Teach your children what to do in the event you get separated. The best option is to instruct your child to look for a security guard or police officer, or go to the customer service desk where people are trained to help. Older children could be trained to find someone INSIDE the store/mall that has a store uniform or name badge to ask for help.
  • If you are shopping with small children, put them in a shopping cart if available and use the safety belt so they don’t fall out.

When Only Trash Is Left:

  • Don’t make yourself a victim after safely shopping. Cut up boxes and don’t leave them on the curb like billboards advertising what you now own. It is just an invitation for burglars.

I hope you heed the tips and take them to heart. They certainly aren’t meant to frighten you but rather to prompt you on ways you can have a headache free shopping season. Plan early! Be well rested! Have fun!

Thanks to Heather for the opportunity to hijack her audience for a few minutes! I thank you for reading and I hope you will all drop by and become a Targeteer too!
Happy Holidays!


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ginger November 25, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Thanks so much Heather. I appreciate the opportunity to guest post on your blog. I love what you have done with your blog and read your posts daily. Thanks for all the hard work you do to keep us all informed with the best information. Ginger

Reply

kronca November 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Thanks for the great tips. I just wanted to point out that when shopping with children, if you get separated, you should instruct them to go to a lady with kids. NEVER a man!! and please note: it is awfully hard to find a policeman or a security guard when shopping, especially in a crowded mall or store.

Reply

Anonymous November 25, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Just one more reminder. When taking a cart to the car, DON’T leave your purse in it while unloading the cart. There have been two incidents of stolen purses in the past 2 days and it is only going to get worse as the season goes on.

Reply

Lori November 25, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Ginger, great tips. I esp enjoyed the ones about shopping with kids since this will be my first year of potentially taking little bit out with me.

Reply

Lori November 25, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Thanks for all of the great tips. Things are hard now and its sad but there will be a lot of crimes going on during the Holiday season. Everyone Please be careful out there shopping and know your surroundings.Lori

Reply

The Little Kanet November 25, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Thanks 4 the tips. I especially liked the “when only the trash is left” one. I had never thought about that before. Thanks!

Reply

Andrea Reynolds November 25, 2008 at 8:12 pm

In keeping with being a safe and savvy mom, check out this article at goodyblog.com. It’s all about getting the most out of your digital camera or the camera in your phone. HTH

Reply

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