Shopping’s fun! Or is it? I’ve been looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, and come to think of it, a graduation coming up and yes, a wedding gift too. Good grief! And I’ve been shopping at MALLS!
My complaints list about discount malls and mega stores is getting longer and longer. Long drives to begin with, depending on where you live. Lots of walking, or trudging, in and out, and mostly out of mall stores. Gift wrap? “Go down the escalator to Level 1, then to the back (more trudging), turn left, right, and then wait in line”. Phew! Great prices? Have you noticed any? Where? Things seem to be going up!
Unique gifts? Forget it! Everything looks the same at every other mall in every other city.Need help? Forget that too. Where are they when you need them?
Finally, I’m physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted and stagger home after a long day of “fun” shopping, just in time to make dinner when I would rather collapse! And I am still empty-handed and have to find those gifts somewhere.
THE VIRGINIA SHOPPER’S A-HA! SOLUTIONS
Eventually the search for creative gift ideas led me to the main street shops in my hometown, and even further into cyberspace. A-Ha! I may be closing in on finding perfect gifts and alternatives to the dreaded malls. Where? Close to home!
STAY AT HOME SHOPS
Lo and Behold – my little mainstreet “boutique” unveiled treasures of new ideas. What’s more, they actually want my business. How unique! Because of the slow economy they are lowering their prices too. A bargain – a REAL bargain! I actually found a real bargain!
And REAL service, kind words, and smiling faces! I feel like the doggy in that commercial – “Bacon-Bacon-Bacon; I love you. I love you. I love YOU!”
“Can I help you?” they ask. “Yes. I am looking for a unique graduation gift”. A-Ha! There it is – something I would never find in a mega-department store or discount mall.
I walk in, spend about 20 minutes browsing (fun!), and another 10 minutes chatting with Mary Beth, in sales (who is now my friend), and walk out with the perfect graduation gift, wrapped and ready to give. Fantastic!
But there is still another way to get wildly fantastic results.
SMALLTOWN SHOPS ONLINE
Lots of main street shops have their own internet web sites! Have you joined the internet shopping wave? Then you know that shopping sites can be mind-boggling. I have my big-store, on-line favorites of course, where I return time and again. But, have you spent hours drifting around the internet for nothing? Me too. THE VIRGINIA SHOPPER found a better way to shop online, too:
Mom & Pop Stores – ONLINE Treasures!
My online search was for “Virginia Gifts” and turned up area-specific specialty shops offering the same benefits as Main Street Mom and Pop stores. You can find personalized gifts this way, like engraved pewter cups, birth plates, and engraved glass too. And a shop with its own web site can offer options you never thought possible. They may provide fine gift wrap (no trudging involved), clearance sales, shipping discounts, coupons and coupon codes, a Bridal registry, and even a catalog – all online. Local artists are often featured, and you can find one-of-a-kinds, handmade wonders, and the supremely unusual without ever leaving home. I made a new friend this way too. All you have to do is call and ask a question!
Sigh! This is definitely the way to shop – and the best part is, it’s fun! THE VIRGINIA SHOPPER wanted to share this with all of you who are looking for springtime solutions to the graduation, wedding, Mother’s Day gift giving challenge. Save your feet, your money, your emotional balance, and get the greatest gifts ever without trudging through a mall.
‘Til We Meet Again – THE VIRGINIA SHOPPER