How to Shop with the Maddening Crowd

Shopping on Black Friday? Here are some tips to help you survive with the least amount of misery.

If you're already gearing up for Black Friday (which in some stores, starts on Thanksgiving Thursday!), here's some advice from Menlo Park Mall on how to make your marathon shopping expedition as painless as possible:

  • To avoid the onslaught of holiday shoppers, pick your shopping time wisely. The best time to shop is at 11 a.m. on midweek mornings. Peak shopping occurs on Saturday afternoons. Create a thorough list of what you intend to buy before you arrive at the mall.
  • If you are fairly certain what you intend to buy, or have done advance browsing online, take the time to call stores from home and have particular items put on hold. When you arrive at the store, your items will be at the checkout counter and ready for purchase.
  • Access the best deals by downloading the new Simon iPhone application now available through the Apple iTunes App Store. The app gives consumers on-the-go access to retailer holiday promotions and schedules of all the holiday entertainment at the mall. Customers can also join the Simon Mobile Shopper Club and receive text messages about great savings at the mall.
  • Be certain you have all forms of payment you plan to use—credit cards, gift cards, cash checks, etc., and photo ID if you plan to use checks.
  • Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. Being comfortable while you shop is extremely important. And layered clothes allow you to easily adjust from the cold temperatures outside to the warm temperatures inside. Wear a handbag with a strap that you can put across your body and keep in front of you.
  • When parking your car, park near the store where you plan to end your shopping trip. Write down the letter/number of the parking lot section and what major stores are nearby, so you will be able to readily find your car once done.
  • Take a break. All Simon malls this holiday season will once again have a designated “Rejuvenation Station,” where shoppers can relax in comfortable chairs, have a cup of coffee or watch classic holiday programming on a television.
  • Be sure to stop by guest services (or mall’s customer service center) first to obtain a mall directory and inquire about promotions and coupons.
  • Don’t have the cashier put the receipt in the bag – that’s an easy way for receipts to get misplaced once you return home. Instead, keep all receipts in a designated place in your wallet, purse, etc.
  • Ask cashiers about return policies because they vary from store to store. And always ask for a gift receipt.
  • Don’t forget gift cards. At the Menlo Park Mall, the American Express®/Simon Gift card is available in any denomination between $20 and $500 and comes in holiday designs this season through Dec. 31, or while supplies last. There are no fees after purchase – no fees for checking a balance, no fees for monthly servicing, no fees for card replacement, and the funds on the cards never expire. There are also a number of Simon properties where Hanukkah cards are also available.

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