My Two Cents: Holiday shopping survival suggestions

If you haven’t completed your holiday gift shopping yet, you’d better hurry up, because there’s not much time left. The intensity and hazards that consumers face in the retail world will increase as we get closer to Christmas Day, now just a little over a week away. As a public service of sorts, the Index presents these helpful hints on surviving the stressful shopping season:

– If you are one of those people who gets up before the sun rises in order to shop at stores that open at dawn, you should seek professional help immediately.

– If you’ve ever seen a store full of crazed holiday shoppers, you know how dangerous it can be. You’ll want to warm up, stretch and tape up before you hit the stores. Also, don’t forget your knee pads, elbow pads and helmet.

– You’ve got a better chance of finding a photo of Houdini locking his keys in his car than you do of finding a parking space at most retail outlets. Consider parachuting in.

– Please don’t drink and shop. If you must consume alcohol in order to numb yourself to the horrors of the holiday shopping experience, remember to bring along a designated shopper.

– Try not to think about the fact that no matter what you buy, it will be on sale the day after Christmas.

– If at all possible, avoid purchasing electronic equipment like cellular phones and personal computers, because by Christmas they will be obsolete.

– Be aware of your positioning in the store. You don’t want to make the rookie mistake of finding yourself obstructing the season’s hottest toy from a desperate parent – that’s like coming between a mother bear and her cubs.

– Surreptitious use of a stun gun is an effective way of reducing the number of people waiting in line ahead of you to pay for merchandise.

– Can’t afford some of the more expensive items you wish to buy for family and friends? Try shoplifting.

– If you are a man, there is a 99.9 percent chance that you weren’t born with what scientists call the “gift wrapping gene,” so don’t even try. Instead, use the store’s gift wrapping service or have your mother do it. Moms are good at that sort of thing.

– For cryin’ out loud, don’t wait until the morning of Dec. 25 to do your shopping, when the only stores open are 7-Eleven and the like. Gum, motor oil and cigarettes do not make great Christmas presents.

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author – who hasn’t completed all his Christmas shopping yet – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.