Speed Shopping Tips


Don’t you just love the Indie Chicks? Not only do they let me write for them, but reading the Online Mag itself gives me constant inspiration. And oftentimes the other writers articles, well, they inspire and encourage me to write more too.

Two reads I had recently got me thinking about my usual shopping trips, which are not something I enjoy. Thrift Store Success written by the beautiful and talented Burlesque performer Aurora Natrix and Saving is Sexy (oh yes it is) by the equally beautiful and talented Jewels. Hang on, Jewels? You could so do Burlesque! Just sayin’ …

For me, there’s two main types of shopping trips. And I’m not talking about food shopping here, that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Enter the world of Speed Shopping!

Aside from the groceries, there’s those days when you have some spare cash (always a good start), a whole day at your disposal and a friend or two for company. Those kind of shopping trips are just damn fun. Good friends, big Mall, lazy lunches where you order only dessert and drinks. And totally unnecessary but much desired purchases. Can I come?

But I’m not talking about those kind of shopping trips either, sadly.

I’m talking about the absolutely have to buy TODAY that present for Aunty whatshername/new shoes for the kids/outfit for that do on Friday and I only have my lunch hour/time it takes Hubby to buy what he needs in the Hardware/until the shop closes/kids have to be picked up to get it kind of shopping trips.

You’re rushed, you absolutely HAVE to buy that item TODAY and to make matters worse, it’s an important purchase. A gift for someone, or some other essential item that must be chosen with some care. Always at a busy time too, life would be too perfect if all our speed shopping could be done at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning when the Mall’s quiet. And you’ve got about 35 minutes you say? Dammit man.

Plan It, Janet

No matter how rushed, it’s essential you find at least five minutes beforehand to stop, relax, and think before you dash down that High Street or into that Mall. I try and come up with a least two or three ideas. Shopping blind is only successful when you have time to dawdle and browse, when you’re relaxed. This is speedy, against the clock shopping here!

Try and think of a few special ideas, as well as some fall back easy-to-find items so you don’t start to panic if you can’t find exactly what you’re after. A book on ‘Cooking With Wild Plants From the Slopes of the Andes Mountains’ may be exactly what your favourite Aunt would love, but she’d also love a beautifully wrapped herb plant in a pot with a personal message from her favourite niece. And you may have an image in your head of you looking hot at your do if you can just find a frock exactly like that one you saw … but more important is that you have a good time, hey? Are you getting me? If you don’t have the time for ‘perfect’, accept that something else will be just as good.

Use your phone and write a list, think ahead of the shops most likely to have what you’re looking for and plan your route. Your phone’s good for all sorts when speed shopping, so make sure you have it on you. Especially if it has a camera. You can take pics of yourself in clothes, your feet in shoes, or just something hanging on a rack. All good for comparison when you’re deciding later.

Make sure you have all information you need too. If you’re buying new shoes for the kids or clothing for someone then remember to have the sizes on you. You’re not going speed shopping AND taking the kids with, are you? Crazy Mother! And if you’re gift buying then of course you can’t take the intended recipient with, so make sure you know all you need to know about them before you go.

Walk in Calm, Stay Calm

Deep breath, and into that shopping world you go. And it does feel like another world to me at times like these. Plan to use half the time you have on trying to find something special but if you’ve not found it by then, revert to looking for one of those fall back items I mentioned earlier. So keep an eye on the time, try and stay focused on your plan and don’t get diverted by the clever distracting tactics of the retail world. Now is NOT the time to grab that pair of sparkly shoes on sale. Unless of course sparkly shoes is exactly what you’re shopping for. In which case, yay! They’re on sale! Otherwise, it’s really not the time. No stop it. Put them back.

If you’re not immediately finding what you’re after, a small feeling of panic and stress starting to get to you as time ticks by? Not helped by the bustling crowds or that lady who just poked you with her basket and ‘forgot’ to say sorry.

Take a break. No really. You have time to grab a little chocolate something (just me that helps?), visit the loo, pop outside for a faaag (me again). Breathe for a few minutes. Check your plan and your time before you head back in to the maddening crowd, so to speak.

It’s a good time to get a second opinion too, ring a mate or a sibling. Send them a pic of something if you’re finding it hard to decide on something. “I’ve got 15 mins left, which pair of shoes for Saturday?/Necklace for Mum?”. That kind of thing.

Faster Clothes Buying

Speed buying a special outfit for yourself? I have a friend who takes a pair of easy to slip on stilettos in her bag for just such an occasion, she says it save time trying to imagine how the outfit will look if she dolls up a bit in the dressing rooms. I say standing on your tip toes would have the same affect ….

But there is some sense in what she says. If you’re looking for a nice top to go with your favourite jeans, then wear jeans when you’re shopping for it. Don’t wear pants (trousers) if you’re buying a pair of shoes to go with a frock.

If you’re trying to match something to a bag or shoes, something like that – take the item you’re trying to match with you or take a pic of it on your phone. Indecisiveness takes up a lot of time. Which for me, translates as less time spent squinting vacantly into the mirror.

And stick to the shops you know when clothes buying, either for yourself or for others. You know what it’s like, there’s shops you know and trust. Their quality, their sizing and their style. Now’s not the time to wander off down that little street to check out that cool looking new Boutique you saw had opened last week. All in good time my friends, all in good time.

Last Tips

The time you spend choosing and browsing is directly relative to the total shopping time you have. Don’t forget to allow yourself at least ten or fifteen minutes at the end of GO AND BUY the damn thing you decide on. You’d be surprised. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve ended up telling people what I INTENDED on buying them, instead of actually buying it.

Dress right, for comfort and speed. You can’t speed shop in heels. Which is why my friend puts them in her bag instead of wearing them.

Use gift wrapping if you’re buying a gift. Many shops offer it, some for free, so if you can – get someone else to wrap it for you.

Some final fall back gift ideas, because I love gift buying and hate that I often have to rush it;

1. Florists – for more than flowers. Why? Because good florists are artistic folk and aside from the beautiful bouquets they make that we all love, but that fade and die quickly, the good ones also stock potted plants in beautiful little pots and garden art too. AND they wrap everything beautifully for free. Often buying gifts? Find your best local florist.

2. Hampers. Be it a food hamper from a great Deli or Deli Counter or a basket of lovely smellies from the Body Shop, hampers are easily personalised and, yes, wrapped for you again.

3. Accessories. Little things. Good for a small budget this one too. Girls, think scarves, hats, belts, even socks. Costume jewelry (unless you’re swanky enough to be able to buy the real deal), key rings, phone accessories. Guys? Also phone add-ons and accessories, boy toys (there’s whole shops of this stuff in SA), outdoor gear, cool tools or gadgets. You know boys *sigh*.

4. Food. Which also covers booze. Unless you’re buying for a recovering alcoholic (see earlier note re: ‘knowing all you need to know’). Really stuck? Treats! I don’t care who you are, there’s nothing wrong with receiving a box of special chocs on any occasion. What? Diabetic? Allergic to cocoa you say? Well … you’re getting flowers again. And I’m not listening if you tell me you have Hayfever.



A british Hippy Chick (at heart), living in Johannesburg and currently busy Mummying to Tallen (4) and Nate (2) and running a small Eco Playground company with her beloved South African man, known as Hubby. She started blogging as a way to keep in touch with the folks and friends back home and with a renewed love for writing (or the sound of her own voice, depending on who you talk to), will surely now never stop blithering on about her life and all other kinds of nonsensical stuff to her family and five followers here on my blog.

  1. It’s funny all the girls that work at these stores know that most girls don’t come back and buy the cloths they said they were coming back to buy. I wonder what the percentage of girls come back and buy what they said they were coming back for.

    Does that make sense :)

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