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.
More Business News
Last Update on April 24, 2015 18:03 GMT
AMAZON-CLOUD COMPUTING BUSINESS
NEW YORK (AP) -- Amazon's profitable cloud-computing services business is growing by leaps and bounds.
That growth helped the e-commerce company Thursday post a 15 percent first-quarter revenue jump and a smaller-than-expected loss. The results sent Amazon's shares up 6 percent in aftermarket trading.
Investors have been growing restless with Amazon's long-term strategy of plowing most of the money it makes into new areas like cloud computing, streaming video and hardware -- leading to razor-thin profits or, in this quarter's case, a loss.
Because Amazon had never broken out details on Amazon Web Services before, it wasn't clear if it was operating at a profit or loss. But details released on Thursday show that surging revenue isn't coming at expense of a profit in that business, reassuring investors.
Amazon has rolled out a series of new offerings in recent months.
DEATH OF COMCAST-TIME WARNER CABLE
NEW YORK (AP) -- Comcast is dropping its $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable after heavy regulatory pushback.
The combined company would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof, which would give the resulting behemoth unprecedented power over what Americans watch and download.
Competitors, consumer groups, and politicians have criticized the deal, saying it would lead to higher prices and less choice.
Even with the Comcast saying Friday that the deal was off, cable companies are likely to keep combining as costs rise for the shows, sports and movies they pipe to subscribers and video customers decrease.
Many analysts expect that Charter Communications Inc., which lost out on its bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. to Comcast Corp., to resurrect its effort.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods increased by the largest amount in eight months. But a key category that tracks business investment plans dropped for a seventh month, suggesting that manufacturing is still struggling through a soft patch.
The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rebounded 4 percent in March after having fallen 1.4 percent in February. The strength was led by a big jump in demand for commercial aircraft. But outside of the transportation category, orders were down for a sixth straight month.
There was also a 0.5 percent drop in demand in the category that serves as a proxy for business investment plans. The decline followed a 2.2 percent drop in February. This key investment category has been down seven consecutive months.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) on Friday reported first-quarter earnings of $932 million.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based company said it had net income of $1.30 per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and pretax expenses, came to $1.73 per share.
The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.70 per share.
The world's largest airline posted revenue of $9.83 billion in the period, also topping Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $9.82 billion.
American Airlines shares have dropped 4 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased 39 percent in the last 12 months.
RIGA, Latvia (AP) -- European creditors have been turning up the heat on Greece today. They're pressing Greek officials to deliver an economic reform program that the country will need in order to avoid a possible default -- and even an exit from the euro currency group.
At a meeting today in Latvia, Greece's finance minister heard a series of rebukes from his counterparts in the eurozone for failing to come up with a comprehensive list of economic reforms.
The eurozone's top official calls it a "very critical discussion."
Others spoke of being "tired" and "annoyed" with the way the talks were going. Austria's finance minister says they made those points "very vigorously."
Two months ago, Greece won an agreement from the eurozone under which it would get the remaining money in its bailout fund -- about $7.7 billion -- but only if it came up with a set of reforms that everyone could agree on.
There are just days to go before that deadline, and Athens has yet to present a full list.
EUROPE GM CROPS
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union has authorized the use of more genetically modified food and feed amid a row over whether EU member states should be able to independently ban certain GM products.
The EU's executive commission said Friday that it has approved 10 GM foods, including strands of maize, soybean and cotton, after they "have been proved to be safe." Two kinds of GM cut flowers were also authorized.
The European bio-industries association expressed satisfaction that the EU has "finally decided to authorize imports of safe products."
The EU and its member nations have been locked in a dispute over whether countries should be allowed to individually ban GM produce that EU institutions consider safe.
DIET PEPSI-NEW SWEETENER
NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo says it's dropping aspartame from Diet Pepsi in response to customer feedback and replacing it with sucralose, another artificial sweetener commonly known as Splenda.
The decision to swap sweeteners comes as Americans keep turning away from popular diet sodas. Coca-Cola said this week that sales volume for Diet Coke fell 5 percent in North America in the first three months of the year.
Executives at Coke and Pepsi blame the declines on perceptions that aspartame, first sold under the brand name Nutrasweet, isn't safe. That's even though the Food and Drug Administration says more than 100 studies support aspartame's safety.
Still, PepsiCo says it wanted to listen to its customers.
Andrea Foote, PepsiCo spokeswoman, says the reformulated Diet Pepsi drinks will start hitting shelves in August.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Major recalls from two well-known ice cream companies due to the discovery of listeria bacteria raise questions about how the pathogen could have contaminated multiple ice cream manufacturing plants -- and whether the discoveries are related.
Blue Bell Creameries of Texas and Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams of Ohio both took products off shelves this week after listeria was discovered in their products. Blue Bell ice cream is linked to 10 illnesses in four states, including three deaths. There are no known illnesses linked to the Jeni's recall.
The recalls are unusual: Listeria is rarely found in ice cream because it can't grow at freezing temperatures. A spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration says it has no evidence, for now, that the two recalls are connected.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York's attorney general has filed suit against two tanning salon chains, accusing them of downplaying health risks while playing up the allure of bronze skin.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE'-dur-muhn) filed the lawsuits against Portofino Spas and Total Tan Thursday. He says both franchises falsely advertise the health benefits of indoor tanning by promoting it as a safe alternative to tanning outdoors.
Schneiderman says there's nothing safe about indoor tanning. He accuses the two companies of supporting the opposite message.
Attorneys for Total Tan denied the allegations. Representatives for Portofino didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Schneiderman says lawsuits are also coming against Planet Fitness and Beach Bum Tanning.
A spokesman for Planet Fitness says the company is working toward a resolution. Representatives for Beach Bum Tanning didn't comment.
GENERAL MOTORS-EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors CEO Mary Barra's compensation more than tripled in 2014 to $15.8 million in her tumultuous first year in the automaker's top job.
Barra and other top executives got only 74 percent of the cash incentives they could have received, because GM fell short of goals set by the board. But her stock awards more than doubled from 2013 when she was senior vice president of for product development and purchasing.
GM reported its 2014 compensation Friday in its proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also announced that its annual stockholders meeting will be held on June 9 at GM's Detroit headquarters.
Side RoadsTake a ride with Brian Smith to explore the unique people and places to be found along the Sideroads of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
The Good LifeCelebrating the events, adventures and activities that represent "The Good Life" in the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
Closings and DelaysThese are the latest School and Business Closings reported to NewsChannel 9. If you see errors or need to add a school or business, call 423-757-7320.
Educator of the WeekNominate now for Educator Of The Week!
Deaf & Hard of HearingInformation provided to NewsChannel 9 by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
Sponsored EventsCheck Back Often for NewsChannel9 Sponsored Events!