It is hard to believe the holiday season is already here. To help with your holiday shopping, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a few tips and some unique ideas to help you find something unique for the friends and family on your nice list. One reality of shopping in the post COVID-19 world is the rise of phony/scam businesses and longer delivery times even when buying from some mainstream businesses.
BBB recommends that you start earlier this year to avoid late gifts and so that you have the time to find the right gifts and trusted businesses so that your present will arrive on time and as ordered. To begin your process:
- Research any business or store. Look for a business or store that has been in business for long enough to have a track record you can review. At www.BBB.org you will find the start date for a business, any complaints, whether the business has been BBB Accredited, and reviews from your neighbors about their experience. If you see delays or non-delivery of goods/services you might want to find a better option.
- Be careful about look-alike or sound-alike businesses. Some phony sites attempt to use the good name of another business to trick consumers into letting down your guard. While it is safe to shop at bestguy.com, you might not want to have your credit card info in the hands of the people behind that website.
- Review purchase and return policies. While we may think it is the perfect gift, we all guess wrong occasionally. Make sure your special someone will have the time to return a gift and that the business honors returned items (i.e. again check with BBB and other review sites).
- Compare prices. Just because a website indicates the product is marked down 200%, it may be a deceptive ploy to make you think you are getting a special deal and compared to other sites it is actually $25 more than the average price.
- Guard your personal information. Shop with trusted sites and shops that use secure protocols. Websites should use https:// technology and a closed lock should be visible (e.g. displayed to the left of the URL).
- Ask about delivery dates and guarantees. Make sure the business will deliver the product in time to be part of the holiday celebration.
There are plenty of great gifting ideas to support our local businesses. One of my favorite gifts to receive is any spa related certificate. J Cohen’s Day Spa (www.JimmyCohensDaySpa.com) offers facials, massages, trims, and everything we need to look our best during the holiday season, or to recover after!
If you are having a hard time finding a creative gift for the family, The Family Gifts Company (www.FamilyGiftsCo.com) can help you find mugs, pictures, paintings, and unique gifts featuring friends or family members.
As a kid, there was one gift I received every year. My grandmother would give me underwear and $20. If she had bought the underwear from Male Basics (www.MaleBasics.com) I might have been more excited about her present each year. They have a great selection to help you find the right look for that special someone.
There are always people on our list that leave us puzzled and we don’t know what to buy for them. A gift basket can be a safe and thoughtful gift. Gift Baskets by Design SB, Inc. (www.GByDesignSB.com) offers a wide selection of options from the decadent candies and treats, flowers and fruit and special baskets just for the holidays.
If you have a local friend that enjoys a beer, then maybe a crowler from Gulf Stream Brewing Company (www.GulfStreamBeer.com) is a unique gift that also supports one of our local businesses.
With a little research and shopping from trustworthy businesses you will enjoy a great holiday and avoid the 2020 curse. Bring on 2021!