I keep reading tips and suggestions from other sites that aim to help you stay safe while holiday shopping this year and much of it is very good advice, stuff I would tell you to do myself. The thing is that most of the advice is really geared towards your situational awareness, you know… your “danger radar” which can be easily distracted even more so during the busy holidays.
The thing is that whenever your’re out and about you put yourself at risk to predators. What’s my solution? It’s easy…
ALWAYS SHOP ONLINE!
You might think that’s an easy answer but I see very little reason to fight with the crowds when it’s sooooooo easy to purchase nearly anything you want online. It is, IMO, the best way to stay safe while holiday shopping. In fact, besides groceries I can’t tell you the last consumer product that I actually purchased at a brick and mortar store. For me it’s Amazon.com or bust, though, there are others. Here’s why I much prefer to shop online…
- Finding what you really want is only a mouse-click away. Obviously, I’m a huge fan of Amazon.com but there are plenty of other places you can go to find what you want, from eBay.com to Google Shopping and plenty more. I suggest you stick with the well-known sites to avoid any type of fraud or funny business.
- It’s usually much less expensive to shop online. With just a little effort you can often find far better prices shopping for whatever you want online (usually Amazon.com) than at any brick and mortar store. Granted, there may be some exceptions but 99% of the time I’d say this is true. But, just to be sure you can always first check any brick and mortar store’s prices online (e.g., Walmart or Target, Best Buy, Home Depot or Lowe’s, etc) to compare.
- Shipping prices are often very cheap. Amazon.com actually price-fixes shipping rates so you can’t get gouged and if you sign up for Amazon Prime (I recently did and am lovin’ it) many items will ship fast (often two business day shipping) and free (but not always). Of course, you do have to pay attention to extraordinarily low product prices on some websites because they do turn around and “stick it to you” with shipping costs. Often, however, even paying for shipping is still a better price than any brick and mortar store’s marked-up prices.
- You’re warm and safe in the comfort of your own home. Considering that much of the country is still very cold and inundated bad road conditions… why get out in that mess? Stay home where it’s a balmy 72 degrees and you can run around in your undies. 🙂
- Your credit card information is very safe. I know there are some people who would NEVER–not in a million years–give up their credit card information to the neer-do-wells on the Net but I’d say it’s every bit as safe as giving your credit card to some teenager at the local mall. So long as you don’t first have any malware on your computer and you stick with well-known sites there’s nothing to be concerned about.
- Your OPSEC will NOT be blown! Again, there are those who think the UPS or FedEx guy is “making a list and checking it twice” for all of the purchases you make and slowly plotting to steal all of your preps but, c’mon, that guy delivers so much stuff he couldn’t care less that you just bought another giant box from some store he couldn’t care less about… unless it weighs like 200 pounds and he’s wondering what in the world it is that weighs so much. This is especially true during the holidays… he just wants the day to be over with. That said, if you are concerned about it then you could have some things delivered to a P.O. Box or, better yet, a friend or family members house but I suggest it’s of little concern in most cases.
Like I said, if you really want to stay safe then consider shopping from the comfort of your own home. If you opt for Amazon Prime then many items qualify for free two-day shipping and thus far I’ve been rather impressed. It’s easier, cheaper, and fast enough that even Santa himself would be proud. 🙂