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  • Ryanne Harper

Christmas Shopping Season

The Christmas shopping season is in full swing. I'm one of those people who don't do a lot of shopping. I usually get people a book I think they'll enjoy or I make them something. Yep. I'm one of those. Or I buy them wine. Because who doesn't like wine? I worked as a customer service manager for eight years. I think my experiences dealing with the public have forever ruined Christmas shopping for me. I mean, I once broke up an fist fight over a pogo stick. Two things, no one actually wants a pogo stick. And, even if someone does want it, is it worth getting banned from a store over? No. It's not. So, I've decided to compile a list of things to keep in mind while doing your shopping this year.

1. As much as you'd like it to be true, most stores do not have an exact replica of their store in the back. If they had the item you were looking for, it would be on the floor. Not in the fabled backroom. Honestly, most backrooms are just a hallway with a gross microwave tucked in the corner because it also serves as the breakroom. Not that retail workers actually get breaks this time of year.

2. If you need to use the restroom, please do it in the actual restroom.

3. It isn't anyone in the store's fault when they run out of popular items. Quantities are determined by someone who has never actually been in the store. I imagine all buyers are actually the Once-Ler*; whoever pays the right price gets their items stocked. Probably because, in my eight years, I never met a buyer in person, never talked to them on the phone, or even received an email from a buyer. Buyers are unicorns.

4. Screaming at cashiers doesn't solve anything. Honestly, it's just mean.

5. Lastly, gift cards. Gift cards are awesome. They're easy and the receiver can buy what they actually want. I'm super fond of gift cards. However, please keep in mind that, when you go to use your gift card, it's best to wait a few days. It's likely your gift card was purchased out of desperation in the 11th hour. The store was out of everything so your loved one got you a gift card. The store will still be out of everything on the 26th. Because Christmas is literally the one day most of these stores aren't open and they certainly aren't receiving inventory. So, wait a week. Give them time to get restocked.

Most of the above apply to big box retailers. A lot of the stress of Christmas shopping can be avoided by shopping locally. Downtown alone has a plethora of clothing shops, The Valley, Simply Couture, and Indie, just to name a few. If you have a runner in your life, bypass Academy and Dick's and go to True Grit Running Company instead. Belle Starr Antiques is FULL of awesome gifts. Savoy has amazing tea and adorable tea accessories. Fort Smith Coffee Company has delicious coffee and cool merchandise. You can get something for everyone on your list on one street. In doing so, you're helping your local community and saving yourself a lot of stress.

*In case you don't know who the Once-Ler is, he's the villain from The Lorax. To get his story, you have to pay him a weird combination of snails, nails, other trash, and maybe some actual money. In can't remember. Despite all that, he's kind of cute.

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