Ask Mr. Manners

‘Tis the season

It’s beginning to look a lot like … holiday shopping time! The holiday shopping season is upon us and with it comes people with short fuses and total disregard for common courtesy toward fellow shoppers.

The fact that most stores set out Christmas decorations the day after Halloween indicates that the holiday shopping season is kicking off earlier than normal. With the holiday shopping we all have coming our way, undoubtedly Black Friday is on our list. Whether you are working the retail-driven holiday or partaking in its sales-based goodness, this day is often noted for its rudeness and considered the deadliest day (due to stampeding crowds) of the entire season. So, how do you survive the holiday shopping, get the deals and keep your good manners in check?

All good things start with a plan. Make your plan and stick to it. If you prefer to shop online, then set your alarm to place your order as soon as it goes on sale. Or if you prefer the thrill of the chase, be prepared to be there as the doors to your favorite store open so you can get what you need. Additional considerations include knowing exactly what you want to buy (avoid wandering) and have your budget set prior to making purchases.

Parking will be a nightmare. Know it and expect it.

If you are among those who feel it necessary to parade into the Walmart, keep in mind that although tempers may rise, try to be polite. When iPads are on sale, I know that the “inner animal” comes out; however, normal manners such as “excuse me,” still apply. Keep a sense of humor throughout your trip and do not let any rudeness affect you personally. I would also arm myself with something to help give me “nerves of steel” (Xanax anyone?) because in addition to utter ruthlessness you will encounter screaming babies, children running loose, and those people who have perfected the “deer in the headlights” facial expression.

Finally, please, don’t be “that person” who adds to the horrible shopping experience. Please have your coupons and money ready when it’s your turn to checkout. And please don’t be that person who ties up the register with 20 questions or silly requests.

I completely advocate asking if an item is returnable or refundable but the register is not the time nor the place to complain. If you really need to tell someone something, find a manager and allow that poor person who is working (which by the way, thank you to all who work to make this shopping day possible) to get on with the next customer.

My last words of wisdom come not as a “precautionary tale,” but rather words of wisdom. People are fed up with the “it’s about me” generation, and I guarantee that what you may have gotten away with in common society many not be applicable here. Fuses run short when limited quantities of items are on sale; be the bigger person and be considerate. Also, please don’t try to shift blame on someone who is a victim in this type of situation; rather, own up to it and make necessary sincere apologies.

Well, there you have it. A holiday shopping survival guide. I wish you all the best holiday season this year and hope that it’s one that will be remembered not because of your poor manners, but rather because you got everything you want.

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