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Suggestions for a Less Stressful Shopping Season
The 2013 holiday shopping season is set to be the shortest on record. With just 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year’s 32 days, consumers will undoubtedly be seeking easy and efficient ways to still get their shopping done. In order to make the most of your shopping trips, here are a few simple tips from the professional at Hamilton Place Mall:
Have a shopping list. Taking a few minutes to actually write out what you need and who you’re shopping for can save both stress and over-spending. It will also save you time, especially if you’ve written down information such as sizes and color preferences. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips such as the babysitter, dog groomer, mail and newspaper carriers or hair stylist. This will also help you manage your holiday budget. But you may also want to have a few “surprise” gifts that are generic in case you forget anyone or someone drops by with a gift for you during the holidays.
Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes to keep your feet happy during your shopping trip. If possible, leave your bulky winter coat in the car.
Shop during the week rather than on the weekend. Generally, fewer people shop during the week as compared to the weekend. Also, malls are places where people socialize as well as shop. With school in session during the week, you’ll find fewer families in the mall at that time.
Shop early in the day rather than later in the day or evening. Remember the saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” The same applies to shopping. In the mornings there are generally fewer people out. That means fewer crowds, faster service and time to browse a bit more when making gift selections.
Shop with somebody. This is a good idea unless the person you’re shopping with is the person you’re shopping for! Nevertheless, time goes by faster when you’re shopping with someone. Plus, you have somebody to talk to, to share gift ideas with and to help make color and size decisions.
Make multiple shopping trips rather than an all-day shopping marathon. This will require a bit more planning, but can help preserve your strength, stamina and sanity in the long run. There are numerous methods to use in following this suggestion such as shopping for all the members of a particular family or purchasing children’s presents on one trip and adult’s presents on another trip.
Map out your shopping trip. When planning a trip, you wouldn’t dream of driving off without having looked up directions on your phone or the internet. Why should shopping be any different? If you know what you want to purchase and where you can find it, half your battle is won.
Don’t forget the gift receipt and gift wrapping. In order to ensure that the recipient can return or exchange an item, make sure the sales associate includes a gift receipt with your purchase. At Hamilton Place Mall you will find Kids on the Block gift wrap stations located on the upper level by Customer Service and on the lower level by JCPenney.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or directions. In order to make room for holiday and seasonal merchandise, stores sometimes have to reconfigure departments or sections. This can be confusing to a customer who regularly shops that store. As a result, a great deal of time can be spent “searching” for merchandise and the searching can lead to frustration. Why not simply ask a sales associate for assistance?
THINK SAFETY - One final suggestion regarding shopping – at any time – but particularly during the holidays, is to keep safety in mind at all times. Know where you place your credit card or checkbook after a purchase. Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your wallet or purse. Take in just want you need to spend and come back later. When getting money from an ATM, don’t let people crowd you too closely. When taking purchases to your car, lock them out of sight in the trunk rather than exposed in the back seat. Finally, let somebody at home know you’re going to be shopping, your destination, route and estimated time of return.
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Last Update on September 18, 2014 07:45 GMT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Asian stock markets mostly fell today after the U.S. Federal Reserve increased its estimate for the level of the central bank's benchmark interest rate by the end of 2015, surprising investors who expected a slower pace of rate hikes.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.7 percent to 24,199.87 and South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.8 percent to 2,046.53.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.1 percent to 5,399.60.
Stocks in New Zealand and mainland China also fell but Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent to 16,099.30 as the yen weakened.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- There are two government reports due out today.
The Labor Department will release data on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. For the previous week, slightly more Americans sought benefits, but the total number receiving aid remained at a seven-year low.
The Commerce Department reports on U.S. home construction in August. In July, construction rebounded to an eight-month high, offering hope that housing had regained momentum after two months of declines.
Also today, Freddie Mac will release average mortgage rates for this week. Last week, the average for the 30-year loan edged up to 4.12 percent from 4.10 percent the previous week. At 4.12 percent, the average rate is still down sharply from 4.53 percent at the start of the year.
`And Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will speak today on the importance of asset building for low- and middle-income households at a conference of the Corporation for Enterprise Development in Washington.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan has logged a 948.5 billion yen ($8.8 million) trade deficit in August, the 26th straight month of red ink, as weak demand at home hit imports while exports also fell.
The Finance Ministry reported Thursday that exports fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier to 5.71 trillion yen ($53.3 billion) while imports dropped 1.5 percent to 6.65 trillion yen ($62.1 billion).
A weakening in the value of the Japanese yen has so far failed to spur a rebound in exports, despite nascent recoveries in the U.S. and Europe. Slower growth in China, Japan's biggest trading partner, has also hurt.
But consumer spending inside Japan has been lackluster since an April 1 sales tax, reducing demand for imports. Weaker oil prices have also cut costs for imported oil and gas.
BURNHAM, Maine (AP) -- Lincoln Logs, the popular toy created nearly a century ago by the son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is coming home to the U.S.A.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced Wednesday the toy logs, created by John Lloyd Wright and used to create miniature toy buildings, will be made at Pride Manufacturing, a wood products company in Burnham.
The toy has been made in China. But Pride Manufacturing officials say that when production of the wooden pieces ramps up, possibly in November, 80 percent of the toy will be made at the plant in Maine.
Some plastic pieces will still be made in China.
Hatfield, Pennsylvania-based K'NEX currently holds the product license.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos plans to build a rocket engine that would eventually replace the Russian mainstay used in many American unmanned launches.
United Launch Alliance, a collaboration of two aerospace giants that launches unmanned rockets, announced Wednesday that it will pay Bezos' Blue Origin space firm to develop new rocket engines. In about four years, the launch alliance hopes to start using the new engines in Delta and Atlas rockets.
Some experts worry that tensions over Ukraine might interrupt the supply of Russian engines, but alliance chief Tory Bruno said that's not a problem.
Bezos said he will proceed with plans for his private human space capsule to launch later this decade. However, Bezos' firm wasn't picked Tuesday by NASA for its $6.8 billion private space taxi program.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Agriculture Department is approving the use of genetically modified corn and soybean seeds that are resistant to a popular weed killer.
However, farmers won't be able to take full advantage of the seeds until the Environmental Protection Agency issues a second ruling allowing the use of Enlist, a new version of the 2,4-D weed killer that's been around since the 1940s. The EPA has said it will rule this fall on Dow AgroSciences' application to market the chemical.
The agriculture industry has been anxiously awaiting the approvals, as many weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide commonly used on corn and soybeans now.
Critics say they are concerned the increased use of 2,4-D could endanger public health and that more study on the chemical is needed.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A bug in Apple's new iOS 8 software for mobile devices is prompting the company to withhold apps that use a highly touted feature for keeping track of fitness and health data.
Apple says it hopes to have HealthKit apps restored to its app store by the end of the month. Affected apps include Carrot Fit, WebMD and AskMD. Apple didn't provide details on what went wrong.
The iOS 8 software became available Wednesday. HealthKit is supposed to create a central repository for health and fitness data, so that apps have a better picture of your overall wellness and can even recommend trips to the doctor.
Apple's new iPhones have sensors to monitor fitness activities, and its upcoming Apple Watch will have a heart-rate monitor.
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