Ok so I know it’s probably a little late for catching the best after Christmas deals, ‘January Sales’ as they used to be called, back in the day when there wasn’t constantly ongoing sales everywhere. Back when you really got a bargain and shops didn’t just bring out a load of summer stock, junk, a mass of bikinis it seems.
I’m not going on a sunny holiday anytime soon, even if I was you wouldn’t catch me in a half price bikini, or any bikini.
But I did hit the sales last week, a bit by accident really as I was meeting friends for lunch and needed to get some last minute gifts for those awkward January birthday people (I’m sure they don’t like being born in January any more than I like them being).
Shopping with wheels can often be a mission itself, with overpacked stores and inaccessible lifts, but shopping in January apparently means trawling through a huge pile of stuff. My recent trip encouraged me to write this post, so you can all hopefully be more prepared for the experience than I was.
Tip 1. Don’t do it
My best advice to you would be just stay at home, have a cuppa and browse the World Wide Web and all it has to offer.
But if you, like me, aim to leave those four walls on the odd occasion, go out into the world and be sociable. Actually browse physical departments, see and touch real things, sniff books (yes), see for yourself some things are poorly made, are definitely not ‘high quality’, or do not ‘fit all’. Then the following 7 tips might come in handy.
Tip 2. Plan your route
Know what you want, and if you don’t know what you want then at least know where you want to browse. I tend to start all shopping trips in a cafe with a coffee (yes I do actually drink coffee, even though tea is my true love). It’s a great base if you’re meeting up with friends. It’s also good for getting your thoughts together and planning a route of where to go and in what order.
Tip 3. Take regular breaks
If you’re anything like me then a good coffee or brew will be needed at regular intervals to get you through the day. Knowing the where and when of your next pit stop helps motivation and persistence. A brew is a great reward after a purchase if your shopping trip is one with aims.
Tip 4. Plan an escape route
A bit like Hansel and Gretel, it might be an idea to leave a trail of breadcrumbs on the accessible route through the shop, as shops can become a maze during the sales, extra crates of bargains blocking the isles, boxes dumped everywhere, promotional stands, left over Christmas tat. I have actually got myself stuck in a shop before with nowhere to turn and unable to reverse. No lie.
Tip 5. Take your patience
Shopping can be stressful. Particularly when your head or joystick is the height of many peoples bags. God I hate rucksacks!Its every man/woman for themselves. People push through, always in a rush. Nobody ever has time. Everybody heads for the automatic doors even though many are perfectly capable of just pushing open the ones adjacent. Do you know, I’d use the push one if I could, it’d be a lot quicker than trying to cut in between the stream of people charging about as if they might miss out on some illusive bargain.
This brings me on to….
Tip 6. Be persistent
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Don’t give up, be kind and polite but not too kind and polite. Stand your ground in the lift queue (you know the stairs and escalators are probably faster don’t you?), don’t let people push in, push on through those automatic doors. If it helps just hum the Bond or Mission Impossible theme tune through your head. Or out loud if you dare?!
It may be easier to cut in if you travel by foot as we wheelers fear we may drive in to you, but remember you’re also more likely to come off worse!
Tip 7. Ask for help
Be it a friend, a fellow shopper or a store assistant don’t be afraid to ask for help. If there’s something you need, can’t reach, it’s upstairs, don’t just think oh well I’ll get that online (unless you want to and it’s cheaper I guess).
On to my recent experience…
Tip 8. Don’t assume
Accessible isn’t always accessible. Just because you can enter a store it doesn’t mean you can peruse what’s on offer. I realised this on my recent shopping trip when I went into Pandora to purchase a birthday gift.
This shop frustrates me enough anyway, the queues outside, the one in one out thing, the whiteness (it hurts my eyes!), the impression that you are only a somebody if you have a Pandora jewel. I do in fact have a bracelet (I’m obviously a somebody), even though it’s not really my thing, all that bling. But I wear my bracelet all the time and love it. It’s not shiny or sparkly, I am not weighed down by my collection of charms. I have three charms and have done for almost three years. They have a tea theme, and I received them at my 30th birthday afternoon tea party. This is all I have, and all I want.
Anyway back to the issue at hand, my personal taste is neither here nor there. I queued up as I was expected, and while waiting to be seen I wanted to have a browse, get some ideas of what I might like to gift this person. But I couldn’t. All I could see was a white wall, I basically felt as though I was in a white padded cell with a load of people that were in on a secret I wasn’t. I do wish I’d taken a photo for you but at the time I was so focused on finding a gift that blogging totally slipped my mind. If you’ve ever been to Pandora you will know that everything is displayed at eye level. Standing eye level. My eyes are seated. Also much of the stock is set within the counter, a counter you look down into. A bit like a museum exhibit with no front window. I am not high enough to look down. Unless I’m looking at the floor. You will also know if you’ve visited Pandora that you can not just seek out a member of staff for assistance, you have to queue if you want to look at something closer or buy it. I don’t even know what to look at, or where to start looking. I can see only white. Eventually, after waiting, and waiting, and getting my PA to describe some charms in minute detail, I get a member of staff to assist by bringing me some trays of jewels to view. Still I am asked what kind I would like to see. I don’t know. I have no idea what you have!
Yes there is a catalogue to flick through. But I could do that on the World Wide Web.
Do you have any top shopping tips with or without wheels?