Fine, the market is turning around, if you choose to believe Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. I don't always take the word of a college dropouts or 80-year-old Nebraskans, but I'll make an exception for these two with the caveat that the "economy" generally lags behind the stock market by 18 months or so. How does that help an unemployment rate in the mid 9 percent range? Does it make it easier to make ends for you and me? Does it make relationships easier? No, but it does make us get creative. This time around, consider window-shopping. Read: Why Geeks Are The New Chic
I know sometimes it's depressing to look at stuff that you have no intention or ability to buy, but it can be fun. And it works for couples who are dating, engaged, married or anything in between. Do your best not to feel badly for the retail professional whose time you are probably wasting. They'll get by and are probably a little bored.
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Here's an idea of how to do it:
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- Dress well. It's really easy to get respect when you dress like you belong in a nice store, home or car dealership. So, comb your hair, wear your nicest watch, sport some clean shoes (ideally not sneakers) and consider unpopping that collar.
- Don't aim too high. When you and your sweet what-have-you are fake shopping, don't go overboard. Ultra-luxury retailers have a snobbishly high-tuned malarkey detector and a tendency to get snooty. While a cat and mouse game could be fun with the maitre d' from Ferris Bueller, it may not be worth it. Rather than a Lamborghini, test-drive a BMW. Instead of Harry Winston, try on jewelry at Tiffany.
- Know the product and price points. It's really easy to look like you may buy this 5,500 square foot home when you know which schools are in the area, what similar houses would go for and about things like mortgages.
- Keep it in your pants. The thrill of pulling one over on someone can get your juices flowing, and it's considered something of a sport in California to have sex during open houses—I believe it's called house humping—but it's not a good idea. Read: Thinking of Owning Your Home?
- Know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run. Eventually, the jig may be up or you may be compelled to actually spend money by a cagey salesperson. Have an exit strategy, even if you have to come clean.
Enjoy your couples window-shopping and feel free to drop hints about things you might like when the r-word lifts… "This IS a beautiful engagement ring, sweetheart" to "I wouldn't MIND this massage chair, baby." I know that expensive stuff shouldn't make us happy but sometimes it's just nice. Read: 40% Of Women Prefer Shopping To Sex
Any tips on window-shopping like a champion?