Shopping any time of the year can be a daunting prospect for those living with hearing loss; but when it comes to Black Friday and the build-up to Christmas you need a strong stomach to face the crowds.
If you are hearing impaired, check out our top tips on how to negotiate the shops during sales, and busy and festive seasons.
Do Your Research & Make A Plan
Firstly, identify which retailers you need to visit beforehand. Then make a list of the shops and the order in which you want to view them. Some large department stores may operate a loop system to benefit those with a telecoil setting on their hearing aids. If the information isn’t on the website, simply give them a call or ask a member of staff when you arrive at the shop. Planning in advance gives you the advantage of doing some cost comparisons. If you know the online price, it will make it a lot easier to spot a bargain when it comes along.
Calculate A Budget & Make A List
There’s nothing like going shopping and getting sidetracked with a nice pair of shoes. Before you know it, you’ve blown your budget and not bought anything you set out for (unfortunately, I am speaking from experience!) A list will keep you focused on your mission. A budget will stop you spending money you may later regret.
Take A Friend
Not only is it more fun to have some company when you shop, there’s also a practical reason for not doing it alone. A friend can help you respond to any in-store announcements, will be another pair of eyes to keenly hunt out the bargains and could prove handy in the negotiation process.
Avoid Huge Retail Stores
The bargains available in the lead up to Christmas or on Black Friday may be a draw but with such an attraction, come the crowds. High ceilings, vast interiors, and blank walls allow sound to bounce around the space. When filled with people, the noise generated can be incredibly confusing and uncomfortable, especially for those wearing hearing aids. If you simply want to browse, why not take a look at the smaller independent retailers and the colorful open-air Christmas markets? Fewer people and more intimate spaces mean far less noise to contend with. Besides, you never know what seasonal bargain you may find!
Don't Forget Your Mobile Phone
It can be used to store any relevant coupon codes, will help you locate the next store on your list and act as a calculator to keep a tally of your expenditure.
Take A Break
Whether you’re hearing impaired or not, the concentration involved with shopping can be truly exhausting. Be kind to yourself and enjoy some downtime in between browsing the aisles. Sit back and relax over a coffee or a bite of lunch and drink in your surroundings. Our town and city centres offer so much to stir the senses – the smell of roasted chestnuts, colorful street performers, twinkling lights and people everywhere. The excitement can be intoxicating. Just enjoy the bustle.
Ensure Your Hearing Aids Have Power
For those who wear them, hearing aids can make all the difference to your shopping experience, as long as they don’t run out of power. Remember to fully charge them before you go and take a spare set of hearing aid batteries just in case.
Always Ask For Assistance If Needed
If you find yourself struggling, let a member of staff know you have a hearing impairment so they can assist you. A pen and notepad can always come in handy if you need something clarified.
Structure Questions Carefully
An open-ended query can lead to a long drawn out response that might prove very difficult to follow. Work out what it is you are looking for and then ask the question in such a way that you will end up with a yes or no answer - “Do you stock this in a size 10?” Rather than “What other sizes do you have available?”
Remeber To Negotiate
This is when doing your homework really pays off. For big purchases, remember there’s always a chance you can strike a better deal. Don’t be afraid to make an offer below the asking price and if necessary, be prepared to walk away if the price is too high.
There's Always The Internet...
Thankfully, gone are the days when you could only buy on the high street or via a catalogue. Going out shopping should be a pleasure. If you really can’t face it, just relax and shop online instead. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, HearingDirect.com have some fabulous gift ideas at exceptionally low prices. The best news is - you don’t even have to leave your armchair to find them!