City Pulse

By Jamie Allison Sanders

Crazy lady shoving you out of the way to get to that last sweater on the shelf? Dying for that Pucci scarf at Bendel’s but afraid to fight the masses on 5th Avenue to get to it? Ahh, the joys of holiday shopping. But don’t let the horribleness of the insane shoppers all around get you down – there are ways to shop and refrain from killing the other store patrons in the process!

Navigating the Aisles at the Superstores
Getting a great deal on a digital camera or DVD player for your boyfriend can actually persuade some of us to brave the subway and head to Target in Brooklyn or Kmart on 34th Street. But once inside the store, is it worth it to run through the store like a madwoman, grabbing things off the shelves at random so no one beats you to your items of choice? Umm…that answer would be no. How to make sure you’re not trekking to the boroughs for nothing? You should check the stores’ websites first to see whether the products you want are actually sold there. Once you figure out what you want to buy, call the specific store to see whether they have the product in stock – no need to make the trip if the product is out! And don’t worry if you get there and see some mean woman grab the last one – chances are you can have the store clerk get the item for you from a different store or even help you order online.

Boutique Shopping
Your best friend would totally love the Lauren Merkin clutches you saw in the window of that tiny boutique in SoHo. But as most boutiques only carry a limited number of each item, it’s hard to judge when they’ll sell out! And you know how horrible those girls in their Uggs and oversized wool berets can be. Your best bet is to make friends with the salespeople and owner – go in the store a lot, be nice and hopefully they’ll tell you when the best merchandise is coming in so you can be first in line! If for some reason that terrible girl does get the last pair of gold filigree earrings or Archipelago candle, see if you can reason with her. And how do you do that? By buying her a drink at the café around the corner, of course! (Or by threatening her, but only in really extreme situations.)

Try to avoid cat fights, not start them!

Dealing With Department Store Craziness
Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf’s and Barneys! The department stores in this city are full of fanatical shoppers year-round, but of course the most horrible ones come out around the holidays. But rabbit fur earmuffs and Jimmy Choo pumps can be yours – just be prepared to get out the claws and fight. The best advice we can provide is to stay low and push through the crowds – most people are so concerned with looking for their wares that they won’t even notice when you shove right past them! And be prepared to wait in line – bring a book or your iPod so you have something to keep you company. We speak from experience – on a recent trip to Macy’s, we literally waited 45 minutes to buy a scarf in the men’s department.

So there you have it – some tips to get through holiday shopping without wanting to kill the people around you – or yourself. Good luck!

Originally published December 2007
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