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Shopping without dropping. (Getting On Getting Over).

MS has limited my vision, mobility, and energy, but not my passion for shopping. Years ago as an interior designer, I shopped for clients; now I window-shop for enjoyment. I call it therapy. Looking in discount stores, luxury boutiques, and food markets always gives me pleasure, even if I buy nothing.

Do you view shopping as a pleasure or a pain? Either way, especially since the holiday season is fast approaching, let me share some strategies for getting on with it. My attitude in dealing with MS is to continue doing what I enjoy, even if that means changing how I do it.

* Make lists! I keep paper and pens for lists in several locations around the house. I also keep a list of sizes and favorite colors for people on my gift list.

* Have a plan. Call ahead to see which store has what you need, and if there are any access barriers you need to know about.

* Shop when your energy is high and store traffic is low--usually early morning or late evening.

* Take someone along to help you or take a "reacher" to retrieve dropped items or those on a high shelf.

* Use catalogs--many phone reps are very knowledgeable about their products.

* Hire a student. Call the job office at high schools and colleges. No money in your budget? Call youth groups for volunteers.

* Use a personal shopper from a private service or offered by a large retail store.

* Provide a specific list including second and third choices, if someone else shops for you. And for groceries--always do an in-person run-through to show your shopper how you select fresh produce, meats, and seafood.

* Go online if you have Internet access. You can order online, but if you'd rather not, call the 800 number--or buy locally after getting information.

* Buy holiday gifts all year long. Spreading it out makes it less taxing on your budget as well as your energy.

* Purchase one gift for a whole family instead of individual presents. I've had luck with packages of steaks, tins of popcorn, a bread machine, and gift certificates for video rentals or movie tickets.

Happy holiday shopping, all!

Joyce Render Cohen is a frequent contributor to InsideMS.
COPYRIGHT 2001 National Multiple Sclerosis Society
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Title Annotation:coping with multiple sclerosis
Author:Cohen, Joyce Render
Publication:Inside MS
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2001
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