The day after Thanksgiving traditionally is one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and kicks off the start of the official Christmas Shopping Season. Bismarck Police Crime Prevention Sergeant Mark Buschena offers these Holiday Reminders for a safe and sane shopping season:
When shopping this year, take only enough cash to pay for your purchases. Better than cash is paying with checks or credit cards. If your cash is lost or stolen it is probably gone for good. If your checks are lost or stolen you may be able to stop payment. Likewise, if your credit card is stolen you can notify your credit card company to cancel your credit card, and your liability is limited.
Protect Your Purse - Stores will be crowded this time of year. More shoppers mean more opportunities for thieves. Pay attention to where your purse is at all times. Don't set it down to look at something. It might not be there when you turn back to it. Be especially careful of your purse in restrooms and fitting rooms, and don’t forget it in your shopping cart. A better option than a purse is a fanny pack. Only wear it with the pack in front, like a belly pack. They are much safer and more convenient than a purse, and it will allow you to have both hands free to check out those bargains.
Lost Children - A lost child can be a parent’s worst nightmare. If you have to take small children shopping with you, remind them of a few safety tips before you leave home. Tell your children that if you get separated, to stay in whatever store you are in. Tell them not to leave the store or the mall, and especially don't go out in to the parking lot to wait for you. They are too vulnerable out there to cold and traffic. Make a plan that if you get separated, you'll meet at a certain place. Make it something simple, like the toy section - they should be able to remember that!
Packages - Be careful where you set your packages down when shopping. When you get an armload of packages, take them out to your car. Even though you may be in a rush, lock them securely in the trunk, not in the front or back seat. They're too easily ripped off there. Or take them home, and come back for another load. Don't give the Grinch the opportunity to steal your Christmas.
Traffic- Streets will be jammed with drivers hustling around for those great buys. Remember that streets get icy this time of year, and stopping distances increase. Allow yourself a little extra time to get where ever you're going, and slow down. Also remember that the mall lots will be busy with drivers racing to get that parking spot. Keep an eye out for the other guy. That parking spot isn't worth wrecking your car over. Happy Holidays!