Malls Don’t Have to Be the Worst Places in the World Right Now

Shopping malls and holiday shopping are pretty much synonymous – even if you never set foot in a mall any other time of the year.

Despite the convenience factor offered by the one-stop spot for everyone on your list, they are also arguably the most annoying places to be this time of year.

Which is why you need a survival guide if you expect to get in and out in one piece…

1. Go Solo
Holiday season (especially during the weekend) at the mall is not the time for a group shopping session with the ladies or a bonding trip with your mother-in-law. Everything will take so much more time, you’ll have to fight to be “pleasant” at times, and you’ll feel more pressure to make gift-buying decisions on the spot so as to not hold anyone up. Go solo – and don’t forget your iPod.

2. Expect to Bump into People You Know
Although it’s unquestionable that comfort is the first thing to consider when it comes to holiday shopping attire, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll run into someone you know. So, if that fazes you, try to put a little more effort into your appearance than you would on a grocery store run.

3. Don’t Go With a Hangover
You need all the patience you can get when it comes to shopping malls during holiday season. Don’t go anywhere near the mall with a holiday hangover, even if you think the worst of it is over. The heat, crowds, and the smells of everything from the overly perfumed Abercrombie and Fitch store to the food court won’t help your cause.

4. Make Sure Your Phone is Full of Juice
Never hit the mall without a fully charged phone. That way, you won’t find yourself scrambling to find an outlet to recharge, or left with a dead phone when the whole ordeal is over and you can’t even get in touch with your friends to make well-deserved evening plans. 

5. Eat Beforehand
Being hangry in an overly crowded shopping mall could be even worse than a hangover, so eat beforehand. Plus, you’ll need the fuel to brave the crowds and lineups.

6. Avoid Driving if You Can
If you think the malls are a nightmare during the holidays, the parking lots are even worse, especially if you’re prone to episodes of road rage – nothing like a screaming match over a parking spot to kill that holiday spirit.

7. Don’t Do it in a Rush
Being in a rush, crowds, and slow walking shoppers are probably the world’s worst combination. Allow yourself ample shopping time. Odds are, it will take longer than anticipated, and if it doesn’t (and you have some patience left), you may even feel like doing a little shopping for yourself.

8. Be Smart With Your Purchases
The main benefit of driving is that you can run back to your car to unload the armloads of shopping bags. Just be smart. Thieves in mall parking lots are like kids in candy stores during the holidays – remember to keep all your purchases locked in the trunk. At the same time, if you stop for a bite in the food court, guard your shopping bags like gold while you refuel.

9. Be Careful with Gift Receipts
Don’t just toss gift receipts and purchase receipts blindly into shopping bags. Reserve a section of your wallet for them instead. When it comes time for gift-wrapping, it’s not difficult to absent-mindedly leave the receipts in the bags and toss them into the garbage, never to be seen again.

10. Take a Break
If you’re getting frustrated because you can’t find that perfect gift, take a break at one of the mall’s coffee shops, restaurants, or bars. A cappuccino or a glass of red wine may be all you need to recharge.

11. Treat Yo’self
Whether it means a topping-covered frozen yoghurt or a new pair of sunglasses, make sure you reward yourself for the patience and thoughtfulness of a holiday season mall mission with something for yourself. 


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