How to shop

So, Thanksgiving is over, and if you’re anything like most Americans, you’re gearing up for some serious shopping. A lot of people look down on the whole mess, but not me; I’m very pro-shopping. Buying stuff is great. Any money you spend now, will cut down on the amount of things you can afford to do in the future. Plus, if you do it right, shopping itself can be a an enormously useful time-waster. But, before you run out to bust down doors and trample people to death in the spirit of the season, check out some of these tips.

Wander the aisles. Look at everything. This is a good habit to get into for all kinds of shopping. Go ahead and walk down the dog food aisle, even if you don’t have a dog. You never know what kind of deals you might find down there.

Comparison shop for pennies. Here’s a scenario. You’re looking to buy some canned peaches. You can get a 15oz can for 97¢, or you can get the 28oz for $1.78. Which one is the better deal? If you said, “who cares?” you failed. Careful studying should have told you that if you buy the bigger version, you’re actually spending about one tenth of a cent less per ounce. That kind of obsession spread across a few dozen items can turn a 30 minute errand into a 3 hour ordeal.

The fact is, traditional stores are not that great for wasting a whole lot of time. No, what you need is a thrift shop. Right off the bat, you’ll notice that everything is everywhere. There’s no sense of order. You’ll actually have to pick up everything and turn it over to find the price.

Some things in a thrift shop are actually organized, but still take forever to rummage through. Take the clothes for instance–you can’t just go to a rack of similar shirts and pick out your size. You need to go to your size first, and thumb through every single shirt to see if there’s one you like. Then you need to carefully inspect it to find the reason it’s been donated to begin with.

Every once in a while, I notice something at a thrift shop that I like, but still feel is a little expensive. That’s when I employ my favorite of the slow shopping tactics. Second hand stores always have a half-price sticker day, so you just find out when that color tag goes on sale, and come back then. But, this maneuver usually necessitates coming back every single day in between, to make sure it’s still there. That makes me happy.

Waiting to buy things is a great practice, but imagine if there was a way to commit yourself to buying things days from now. I’m talking about online auctions. Auctions rock! I mean, shopping online already takes weeks for delivery, but by adding a week to the actual purchasing process, then a few days for the finalization of sketchy online payments and shippers who only ship every other week, you can actually spend a month or so buying one item! Now, that’s what I call inefficiency! Combine that with sometimes losing the auction at the last second and having to start over, and well, it brings a tear to my eye.

So have fun out there, and why don’t you pick up a little something for me? I can wait 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. I’m not doing anything.

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