2013-12-23 00:00

AFTER one slow shopping weekend with many stores shut down to respect Nelson Mandela’s funeral, this weekend saw an increase of shoppers in the malls doing last-minute Christmas shopping.

While some people shop in advance, a survey done by The Witness shows that 60% of people do their shopping during December and a further 20% do so one week before Christmas.

With two days until Christmas, KwaZulu-Natal malls have offered their best tips on how to survive the last Christmas shopping frenzy.

Nisha Kemraj, general manager of the Pavilion Shopping Centre, said, “With a little careful planning and creative thinking, last-minute shopping need not be a harrowing experience.”

Kemraj advises that shoppers should plan their shopping times and routes.

Minoli Chetty from the Liberty Midlands Mall said, “Extended trading hours provide you with ample opportunity to get all your Christmas shopping done.”

She also encourages shoppers to make use of mall entertainment to occupy children to help combat holiday boredom.

Many people become so engrossed in their tasks during this time that they forget about safety.

Cathy Doherty-Bigara from the Cascades Lifestyle Centre advises shoppers to be vigilant with their vehicles and handbags. “Make sure you don’t leave valuable goods in your car. Ensure you vehicle is securely locked when entering a centre. If you have children with you, make sure that your handbag is securely closed and with you at all times. DO NOT accept help at an ATM,” she said.


NISHA Kemraj, general manager of the Pavilion Shopping Centre’s 10 tips to Witness readers:

1. Park smart.

2. Bring change: Card shopping is cool, easy and safe — but make sure you have some change on hand to pay for the parking. If you make sure you have some coins or smaller notes on hand on arrival, you won’t be dashing around trying to buy something extra to break those bigger notes!

3. Track your car: During busy periods, frazzled Christmas shoppers often forget where they’ve parked their cars! Take note of some landmarks, remember which shops are close to the entrance and note the number of the entrance.

4. Plan your shopping times: As with travelling on our roads, avoid rush hour. The least busy periods are in the mornings and evenings.

5. Start with a good breakfast.

6. Plan your route: If you know what you are looking for, plan the stores that you wish to visit ahead of time — and park as close as possible.

7. Groceries before clothing: Start with the lighter, more portable items and build up to the heavier ones.

8. Be trolley savvy — While trolleys are great when you’re lugging loads of shopping and heavy, cumbersome items, avoid using one in a busy mall whenever you can as this just slows you down and makes it impossible to zip through smaller spaces to overtake the strollers.

9. Take a break: Beat shopping stress with a few breaks — morning tea, lunch or even afternoon tea. That way, you can rest your feet, work out what you still need to get — and plan your next move!

10. Cater for the kids: Littlies are not as resilient as adults and their little legs get tired far more quickly than yours do! Children will soon become tired and stressed, so come shopping with another adult and rotate “time out” with children.

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