This morning I was supposed to be a guest on DC/Maryland’s morning talk show for WMZQ-FM…a country station. After getting up at 6 am to be ready for the interview (and not sound like a toad) they blew me off. Alas, this little stunt has furthered my disdain for country music. (I take sleep quite seriously.) We were supposed to discuss holiday shopping safety tips (which I find to be a very timely and important subject), so I will share them here…
The first thing we must take into consideration when it comes to personal security while shopping is the fact it creates opportunity for bad guys. Large crowds of stressed out people who are multi-tasking and on deadline = not aware. The situation overall, compounded by our stress can be a ideal scenario for crime. That being said, living consciously is a choice. We can choose to get caught up in the holiday mayhem or choose to stop, breathe and focus on the moment. And when we are present, we are usually safer. So with that understanding, here are my holiday shopping safety tips:
1. Acknowledge violence can happen. Knowing it’s a real threat will motivate you to develop real protocol to combat it.
2. Trust your intuition. It won’t let you down, especially when approached by people you don’t know in situations like parking lots. Need a refresher on the topic? Read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Even better, buy this book for someone you love.
3. Be a “bad victim” by making yourself seem like an unattractive target for holiday crime. Examples:
-Try to shop in pairs or groups, but know it’s your right to also shop alone – have a safety plan!
-Avoid tucked away restrooms at malls, or any remote place for that matter
-Being bogged down by 10 shopping bags will hamper your ability to defend yourself – lighten your load
-Don’t feel silly about asking mall security to walk you to your car
-But just because someone is wearing a uniform doesn’t mean they are harmless. Trust your intuition.
-In parking lots, have your keys out, walk with intention and be ready to fight with keys if necessary
-Keep your children close, and practice what to do if you get separated (arrange a meeting spot)
-Be careful about giving your credit card information to non-secure online shopping sites
Finally, there’s just no substitute for being your own best protector…learn to fight back! You can join the Girls Fight Back website for FREE and find a women’s self-defense class near you. Many schools also sell gift certificates. Consider buying one for a woman you love as a holiday gift.
Be merry and safe this holiday season!