Seasonal Shopping

I refuse to shop from November 1 through January 31. The festive music drives me batty. The tinsel displays make me dizzy. Throw in some flashing lights and I’m more likely to go epileptic than clean up on holiday specials. So I stay home – comforted by the irresistible drone of NPR and my non-blinking florescent lights – and wait patiently for spring to come. Only once the snows have cleared and the be-ribboned displays have been put away will I venture back into stores. With holiday music gone back to the dark place it came from, the ever-annoying muzak is music to my ears. It’s the final signal that the holiday harassment is over.

Not that I plan to go shopping from February 1 through October 31, either. But it’s nice to have the option.

However, all this might be changing. Because according to Real Simple Magazine, the stores have found a sure-fire way to lure me in during the holiday season.

Hungry? Merchants figure you are, and that’s why so many now offer on-the-house beverages and noshes in an effort to get you to browse longer. “Putting out a plate of cookies helps set the tone that shopping is an experience, not a transaction,” sad Donna Sturgess, the president of Buyology Inc., a New York City-based marketing consultancy and research firm. This small gesture translates into dollar signs. A 2011 Columbia Business School study found that shoppers are willing to spend more when they’re relaxed. This month, also keep an eye out for in-store cooking demonstrations, which are growing in popularity. Sturgess notes that demos are especially effective as they allow the merchant to demonstrate and talk about the product while injecting savory aromas into the air.

Can someone find me a kosher version? Because I’ve heard great things about these holiday sales.

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