I have just about made the full switch to absolute and total mall avoidance at the holiday season. It could be Hanes Mall itself that has finally done me in, what with it being the most major retail shopping center in Winston-Salem, and ever so stupidly placed less than a mile down the road from all things non-department store (aka: Target, Kohl’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, and Sam’s Club).

It could also be the fact that I lack compassion for most people, generally speaking, but especially high concentrations of stupid people. Driving cars.

Not sure what our city planners were thinking when they decided to put everything you might ever need in a holiday shopping trip at the single crossroads of two main streets (and just off the highway for that matter), but I’d put money on the fact that it’s enough to cause Mother Theresa herself to mutter four letter words under her breath.

Last year, I seriously managed to do all my major purchases online. For the kids, Craigslist and I were one. For almost everything else, the Black-Friday-Cyber-Monday gods looked upon me favorably. And now that I have experienced one year of success in what I would have merely considered dabbling in online shopping, I think I shall never go back again.

Join me.

And, in case you haven’t yet, check out Ebates. Shameless plug, yes, for which I receive a $5 bonus if you choose to sign up (find directions in the comments), but really, a no-brainer when it comes to surprise perks in the mail. For the amount of online shopping I actually do, which is seriously minimal, in three years I’ve totaled $40 in returns.

Yeah. Okay. Big deal.

But seriously, I did nothing for this money. The gist of the website is that you open Ebates and use them to find the store you are about to do your online shopping on, and you get a percentage back on your purchase. Sometimes it is a mere 2%. Every once in a while, I’ve seen random 10-30% kick backs (this is especially true for Cyber Monday or Black Friday online deals).

When your total comes to $5, you get a check in the mail.

Avoid the high concentration of stupidity behind the wheel and get paid for it?

I will say it again: no-brainer.

Are You Shopping Online this Christmas?
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