Holiday Shopping Reset: 6 Ways To Stay Safe This Season

December 2, 2014  |  

The holiday season is the most festive time of the year but it can also be extremely stressful if you are not careful. Malls, streets, parking lots are full of people shopping and looking for the perfect gift for the perfect price. It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of going from store to store that safety can be the farthest thing from one’s mind. While looking for the next bargain it is paramount that you think about your safety as well.

Meet Nakia Stith, a security professional expert and CEO of Top Of The Clock, a leading security safety firm in Philadelphia.  The firm provides trained security personnel from security guards to corporate and special event security. TOC clients include the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Under her leadership, Top of the Clock, has systematically grown over the last 10 years to become an industry leader with security innovation. “It takes more than a guard standing by the door to protect your valuable assets — whether you’re protecting people, products, or places. Instead, it takes an attitude … and a commitment to doing the right thing,” says Stith.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Nakia on how to press #RESET as it relates to safety and self-empowerment.

First, choose the right purse.
Leave your tote and clutch at home. Choose a purse that fits close to your body so that you can deter pick pocketers. Opt for a purse with a longer strap or a swing pack purse that you can wear across your body and under your coat; another great option is a fanny pack. Today’s fanny packs are a safe and chic option created by your favorite designers. Long gone is the ugly bags that easily identified you as a tourist.

Make sure your bag has compartments for your cash and credit cards so that you are not fumbling through your bag trying to locate your belongings. And never carry more cash than absolutely necessary.  Also, men need to make sure their wallets are secure. Instead of putting your wallet in your back pocket, put it in your front pocket or utilize a hidden inside jacket pocket.

Create a game plan for shopping with your children.
Encourage your children to be mindful of their safety and surroundings while they shop. If you are shopping with teens and they want to go off on their own, be sure to have a time and meeting point once everyone is done shopping. Make sure your teens are not distracted by their cell phones, and be sure they don’t wear earphones around the mall while shopping. Teach your younger children how to locate and ask store personnel for help should you get separated.

Be alert walking to and from your car.
Park your car in a well lit parking area and have your keys ready when you are approaching your vehicle. Don’t wait until you get to the parking lot to look for them. Check your surroundings before you get into your car and don’t be shy about using the alarm or panic button if you notice someone who looks suspicious or something just doesn’t seem right. Some malls offer security escorts during the holidays if you have lots of bags. Find out if this service is available at your local mall. If you are going to multiple stores don’t leave your bags visible on the car seats. Stow your purchases in the trunk.

Don’t wait until the last minute to shop.
Start shopping early. Starting early allows you to be more relaxed and you are better able to pay attention to your surroundings. Last-minute shoppers are often flustered, carrying too many bags, and can be visibly distracted. This can make you an easy target.

Cyber-shopping.
Lastly, if you decide to forego the crowded malls this season in favor of the Internet, safety should still be a priority. Make sure your computer has up-to-date security software. No reputable company will ask you to verify anything in a pop up. Only shop from the stores you know; their sites are usually secure and you can always check by looking for a padlock on the site and the site address should be https: when you check out. Instead of using your credit card use Google wallet, Paypal, or talk to your credit card company about a single use credit card number for online shopping.

Nakia’s #RESET: Make shopping fun, relaxing and effortless. Leave all your mental baggage at home, stay sharp and enjoy the holiday season.

Karen Taylor Bass, The PR Expert and Brand Mom, provides entrepreneurs, corporations and mompreneurs with essential branding, marketing and public relations coaching. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom.

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