Holiday Shopping / Safety Tips

1)    Take inventory of your wallet BEFORE you leave the house to go holiday shopping.  An easy way to do that now is to photograph your credit cards with your cell phone and then send the photos to your email account.  That way if your wallet is lost or stolen, you know EXACTLY what cards were in it.  It may be a good idea too, to remove any cherished photos for the trip.

2)    Carry pepper spray in your pocket.  It is legal to carry up to ¾ of an ounce up to 10% strength pepper spray.  It is legal in all 50 states.  The only place you cannot take it is onto a commercial airliner.  If you ever need to use pepper spray, the element of surprise is key.  You can’t warn an attacker that you have spray, as then all he has to do is put up his hand and block the spray.  If you feel unsafe, carry it right in your hand.  If accosted, spray it right into the person’s face.  A ¾ ounce can has approximately 10 one second sprays, or one 10 second spray or any variation thereof.  If you spray someone, run as fast as you can for help.  People sometimes get mad and decide to try and kick their assailant.  Remember, they have been temporarily blinded, but they aren’t totally incapacitated.  Put some distance between you and he.

3)    This time of year, the skies get dark early.  It isn’t uncommon to go shopping on a bright sunny afternoon, only to return to your car in the dark.  First, make a mental note of where you parked.  Ideally, you can get a spot right under a light pole.  If not, just make sure that the lot has some illumination.

4)    The malls get crazy as it gets closer to Christmas.  This year Hanukkah starts the night before Thanksgiving.  It may or may not mean less customers in the mall in the days before Christmas, but being prepared for a crowd is always the best.

5)    I have read where it is recommended that when you return to your car with many bags of presents, to get in and actually move to another space.  I suspect that the author who penned that statement NEVER shopped in New Jersey.

6)    I would modify this approach to this:  Plan on more than one trip to the mall.  If you can buy all your presents in one shot, GREAT, if not, it is a bad idea to place the presents in your trunk and then return to continue shopping.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen reports of people having their trunks forced open and hundreds of dollars of presents being stolen.  If you think that no one can be watching you as you return to your vehicle, THINK AGAIN.

7)    Vehicle safety:  As you return to your car, pay attention to people who may be around you and look to see if anything looks different about your car.  Look in the back seat before getting in.  If you are accosted, drop your bags, scream bloody murder and run as fast as your legs can carry you to a public place where you know there are people.

8)    Much like grocery shopping, it is probably a better idea to eat before you go shopping.  There is nothing worse than walking around in a store with your stomach growling.  And nothing says that you can’t stop for a bite on the way home as well.  Time management is the key to a happy and successful shopping for the Christmas Season.

9)    All this being said, please feel free to email me with any other suggestions.  I have always gone on the premise that “None of Us are as smart as All of Us.”   Email

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