Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Well before shopping:

  • Research the following about items you’re considering buying:
    • Cost
    • Features available
    • Warranties available

Before leaving to go shopping:

  • Call store(s) to ensure the item is available
  • Ensure store(s) will be open when you plan to visit

While shopping:

  • Avoid having to carry a lot of purchased items with you difficult to ward off attackers

If a store does not have the item you’re looking for:

  • Ask if they can recommend where you might check for the item

After shopping:

Before walking to your vehicle:

  • Have your vehicle keys ready

While walking to your vehicle:

  • Be aware of your surroundings (look for potential attackers)

Buying items:

Before buying an item:

  • Ask if the item, or a similar item, is on sale
  • Ask if the price is negotiable
  • Ask about the warranty
    • Is labor covered? If so, for how long?
    • Are parts covered? If so, for how long?
    • Ask about return policy
    • Time limit?
    • Avoid buying too large a quantity of an item you may not use it all, e.g., your tastes may change
  • Avoid spending too much on a gift if it might make the recipient feel too much in debt to you and/or others giving gifts might feel their gifts are inadequate
  • Consider using credit card if you use check or cash, less chance of getting your money back if problems (e.g., store doesn’t deliver)
  • For free over-the-phone information on a wide range of consumer issues specific to your state, call United Way of America 1 (703) 836-7100
  • Call (800) 664-4435 for a free copy of the Consumer’s Resource Handbook – lists all Better Business Bureau’s, Consumer Affairs offices, Attorney General offices, etc in the U.S. (published by the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs)
  • Consumer’s Information Catalog 1-(719) 948-3334

After buying an item:

  • Check for indications that the item (especially electronic items, cameras, etc.) is not new:
    • No warranty card(s)
    • Accessories not wrapped up
    • ‚ÄúX‚Äù marked on outside of box or on item
    • Stickers removed from box
    • Outer box not sealed


When shopping with children:

If child says he/she wants something:

  • Offer to put the item on their ‚Äòwish list’


  • Don’t buy real fur coats, etc.

According to "Millions of fur-bearing animals including foxes, raccoons, minks, coyotes, bobcats, lynxes, opossums, nutria, beavers, muskrats, otters, and others are killed each year on fur farms … and in the wild …"


  • Call The Jewelers of America 1 (800) 223-0673 for information on buying jewelry


  • SPF of at least 15
  • UVA and UVB protection
  • Waterproof (if you might be swimming)
  • Paba-free (if you’re allergic to Paba)


Thanks for reading!