FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2008

CONTACT:  Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tina Casey, 908-527-4346

 

SLOW DOWN, SHOP SAFELY
Union County Office of Consumer Affairs offers holiday shopping tips for seniors

 

Elizabeth, NJ -- Has this ever happened to you? After rushing from one store to another, you arrive home with a heavy load of shopping bags, but your wallet is lighter than it should be. Some bills might have fallen out, or you received the wrong change. Maybe you left a bag behind, or someone’s sticky fingers latched on to your money. A few simple tips can help avoid mishaps like these.

“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by holiday shopping. Everyone is in a hurry,” said Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada. “Take it one step at a time, and don’t let yourself be rushed.”

Estrada reminded shoppers that the Union County Office of Consumer Affairs is on hand to answer questions about consumer products and services. The number to call is 908-654-9840. All voice messages are answered promptly.

Consumer Affairs staff is also available to speak about consumer issues at senior residences and community centers throughout Union County. To schedule a speaker, call 908-654-9840.

Shopping Tips:

  • Plan to shop with a friend or family member when possible, and shop during daylight hours.
  • Before you leave home, organize your wallet or purse, and count your cash.
  • Stay by the cash register long enough to check your receipt and change. Be sure your wallet is tucked securely back in place, and be sure you have all of your purchases in hand.
  • Before going to your car, take your keys out. If you feel that you are being followed, or if someone appears to be hanging around your car, ask a store clerk or security officer for help.

Toy safety is another holiday shopping issue to keep an eye on. When choosing gifts for youngsters, stick to the age-appropriate labels.

“The label is there to help protect young children from choking hazards,” said Estrada. “Even a very smart toddler can pop a small object in their mouth. It only takes a second.”

Shoppers should also be aware of any restrictions attached to gift cards. Before purchasing a gift card, find out if there are any administrative fees, and ask about the expiration date. Gift cards sold in New Jersey are required to stay active for at least two years.