Have you finished all your Christmas shopping?

Christmas shopping has been quite strange this year with many of the shops having to close at certain times throughout the last few months. It has also meant that some areas of the country have seen more shops close than others and this has made Christmas shopping a bit of a nightmare. The run up to Christmas is also a bit manic with people saying out to by last minute gifts or to fill their freezers with party food, but this year has been even worse. Due to social distancing, many people have had to cue to get in and out of shops and then queue again to pay for items. This can add hours of time on to your shopping trip and you may find rather than of doing it all in one day, you have had to go back to the shops time and time again.

If you haven’t finished your shopping yet then you may want to get moving as some shops already seem to be clearing away the Christmas gifts and decorations. If you are ordering presents only, bear in mind that they may not arrive before Christmas if sent using the normal postal service as they seem to be experiencing massive delays.

Shopping is not what it used to be

Many people see shopping, especially for non-essential items, as a bit of therapy. It is often referred to as retail therapy because for some it helps lift their mood.

During lockdown all the non-essential shops where clothes and many people had to turn to online shopping to feed their shopping habits. For many this is not the same and the fact that you have to go through the hassle of often paying for delivery and then paying again to return it if it does not fit, put many people off.

The shops have no reopened and people have started flocking to the centres. Although the shops are open, the experience is very much different from how it used to be. The majority of the clothing shops do not have their changing rooms open meaning that you cannot try anything on before you buy it. Many shops are even not allowing you to try coats etc on over the top of your own clothes due to the risk of contamination. For many of us, we simply cannot always walk into a shop and know that an item will fit. A pair of size 12 jeans in one shop may fit perfect but in another be too big or small. You will have to purchase items and then take them home to try them on before being able to decide if you want to keep them.  Shopping certainly has changed, but hopefully one day it will return to normal.

What’s happened to the postal services?

With the UK still under lock down, the postal service seems to have been struggling a bit. As the majority of shops are shut most people are turning to online shopping to get their supplies. Places such as Ebay, Amazon and clothing retailers have seen a huge spike in traffic and purchases through their sites and this has had a knock on effect on the postal service.

Some retails send mail out via the Royal Mail and others have their own delivery drives or use third party couriers to dispatch items. It seems that all logistical companies have been hit and with social distance rules that have to be adhered to and staff members self isolating, this has just added even more pressure to the situation.

The Royal Mail had said that they were going to cut out Saturday deliveries for now to catch up on mail in the sorting office, but this only seems to have happened in some areas.

If you have ordered something online, most retails are cutting the cost of their delivery charges and stating that delivery times are expected to take longer than usual at present. If this is not the case and you paid for delivery within a certain time which didn’t happen, I would contact the company and ask them to refund you the delivery fee paid.

Shopping online during lockdown

With so many of us not being able to get out other than to do a weekly food shop, many of us are missing our bit of retail therapy. It may even be that you do not like shopping, but if you need items that you cannot get from the grocery store you may have to participate in a bit of online shopping. If you are not sued to online shopping then you may worry about security. If you use one of the big retailers and ensure that you are on the genuine site then the security level is usually pretty high.

Paying with a credit card for higher cost purchases or using PayPal will also give you a bit of added protection.

When shopping online you may think you are less likely to impulse buy but because you often do not realise how much stuff you have added to your basket until the end, if your not careful you can easily get a bit carried away. Many retailers have tempting sales on at the moment which makes it even more likely that we will spend too much.

 Always decide before hand how much you can spend and be sure not to go over that.

Supermarket shopping – the new way

Since the Coronavirus pandemic, the way people shop is changing. When it first became apparent that this was going to hit the UK, many people started to stock up on essentials such as food, cleaning products and toilet rolls. This led to many people panic buying and buying in bulk. Now that the UK is on lockdown, people are only supposed to go out for food when it is essential. This means that trips to the local shopping centres are no longer permitted. The only stores that are open are those that supply food and medicine and supplies for people in certain trades.

Many supermarkets are restricting what how many of a certain item you can buy now to try and stop the panic buying and ensure that there is enough stock for everyone. Some supermarkets have also put a restriction on how many people can go into the shop at one time, meaning often there is a one in one out policy in place.

Shopping has certainly changed very drastically for now and no one knows exactly when it will return to normal. Shopping can no longer be the enjoyable outing it once was for many, now it is purely an essential trip that has to be done at certain times.