The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means from now until next year people will be packed into the mall like sardines every weekend.
The shopping experience this time of year can be so stressful that some people refuse to stop by the mall until Christmas is over. But experts actually have tips that will help you find the perfect spot in minutes, without breaking a sweat.
Just keep these three tips in mind:
1. Pick a Row
The first thing 90% of drivers do when they arrive at the shopping center is cruise up and down the aisles looking for "a good spot." Here's a tip: there aren't any good spots this time of year.
Instead, take psychology professor Andrew Velkey's advice and pick a row, any row. Velkey observed the parking habits at his school, the Christopher Newport University in Virginia, and noticed this technique saved a lot of time.
The difference is that even if you drive up and down the parking lot, you usually wind up pretty far away from the doors. There's no major difference in walking distance if you just pick a row and park in the first free spot you see, but your time in the lot will be way shorter.
Remember the next tip on those really busy holiday shopping trips.
2. Take a Seat
We imagine driving around the lot hunting for a spot will find one faster, but on the busiest shopping days, that can be counter-intuitive. If you find a place to stop your car and wait until you see another shopper leave, you'll find a spot in under 9 minutes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
That's because when you account for the average time shoppers spend in the mall, someone is bound to leave just minutes after you stake out their spot. All you need to do is listen to the radio and keep an eye out until they do.
3. Pick a Bad Spot
Remember this: location, location, location. Spots in front of the mall's entrance are the most sough after, but that also makes looking for them really stressful. You're better off parking around the side of the building, or in a quiet lot next door.
That's what AAA recommends to their customers: "Play the outfield" they say, "outlying areas have more spaces, lighter traffic and a lower risk of collision.”
Finally, here's some common sense advice that will really pay off: behave yourself. A scientific study revealed that if you honk at someone while they pull out, they'll just take even longer to drive away.
Let's all be a little patient this year, so Santa won't put us on the Naughty List over any parking lot rage.
Share these tips with someone you know!