Be courteous while shopping

You control the experience you have when Christmas shopping.

There are those who were up before the crack of dawn today, taking advantage of all the incredible buys. There are others who waited for a more civil hour, after morning coffee and breakfast. Still others might not venture out until later this weekend or later in the season.

But the ritual that has become known as Black Friday, which actually began late in the afternoon on Thursday, draws a rush for some shoppers.

But know that you’re in control. You don’t have to have a lousy experience just to get a few good buys.

You control your own attitude. A smile and patience go a long way toward making the day of a hurried, harried store clerk or cashier. There are other parking slots in the lot. If someone takes the one you were waiting for, no problem. No need for parking lot rage.

Be sure you’ve got your cell phone charged up and ready, and those of the rest of your shopping party are charged and ready as well.

Know your surroundings. Know where you parked. Stay in touch if you split up to do shopping for one another, just to keep track of your shopping group.

And remember, those good buys can add up. You control what you spend. There’s no need for a holiday spending hangover built on making sure your children have the latest toys or you’ve bought the latest gizmos.

In other words, spend within your means. If you haven’t saved for the holiday, remember that the money you’re spending may effect your ability to pay your bills or put food on the table during the coming weeks.

The basics for Black Friday apply on Small Business Saturday and, in the case of spending, at least, on Cyber Monday, too. Be patient and courteous for real shopping and be aware of what you’re spending and where for all forms of shopping.

If you’re heading into the stores, the roads will be busy, the parking lots crowded.

Just remember that other people on the roads or in the aisles aren’t targets of opportunity to be passed or pushed out of the way. They’re people, just like you, with the same wants, the same stresses, the same force trying to stretch their wallet just a little further.

It’s time for our annual reminder: We’ve all got a lot in common. No need to rush, push, bully and jostle. Try to be nice. Take a deep breath. Grip the steering wheel and then relax. Hold the door open for the woman with the stroller and the armload of packages. Be courteous to cashiers and clerks who really are trying their best in a very busy situation.

A happy holiday starts with your attitude. And a chance to test that attitude comes with the busiest shopping period of the year.

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