More than a few Dallasites already have Christmas Shopping Burnout. They’re easy to recognize. They’ve lost their gift list, they go shopping when the stores are the most crowded, and their feces reflect the agony in their feet from stomping across terrazzo floors and asphalt parking lots.
Does this sound like you? If so, consider an emergency investment in a personal shopper. Five of these businesses are listed in the Yellow Pages, but only three answered our calls. Besides those, several major department stores offer all sorts of personal shopping advice, and some of them offer it free.
Domestic Ingineers. Personal shopping is only one of the services that owner Vicki Burgess offers, but it’s one of the most popular. Burgess charges $15 an hour, plus expenses, to buy and deliver gifts or send them via United Parcel Service. She says that many bachelors use her service and that they typically spend about $100 per gift. Women clients spend considerably less, she says.
All Burgess needs to do your shopping is a time frame; a list of names that includes the sex, age and size of the gift recipient; two gift ideas for each person; and a minimum and maximum amount of money to spend on each person. Some clients suggest stores to go to. Burgess does her shopping early in the morning before the crowds arrive, and it usually takes her from an hour to half a day to complete a list. Burgess, who’ll also do grocery shopping, prefers to have the customer’s money before she starts buying. Call her at 241-054.
Present Company. This personal shopping company is run by Diane Weiss, who specializes in finding unique presents for all occasions. She also makes sure that the gift you order is specially wrapped for the person you’re sending it to. She charges $35 an hour for clients who don’t have memberships with her service. For the same amount, you can get a year’s membership to her “reminder” service.
Weiss is one of the most enthusiastic shoppers we talked to. She says that her most unusual purchase for a client was a 14-karat gold pin in the shape of a toilet paper roll that rolled out sheets of gold. Call Diane at 980-7070.
Executive Gift Purchasing Service. This service is operated by Trenda VanHorn, but she only does personal shopping during her spare time, so you have to call early. Van-Horn’s specialty is buying and delivering corporate gifts in mass quantities. She charges a stout $65 an hour, but some of her clients spend as much as $5,000 at a time. She’s not called on to do much shopping for individuals, since her hourly rate is higher than other personal shopping services. But she says that to some people, the time she saves them makes her fee worth it. “I’m not so emotionally involved in gift buying, so it doesn’t take me as long to make a decision,” she says. All VanHorn needs to know is the type and price of the gift you want. Call her at 238-2260.
Bloomingdale’s. This Valley View Center store offers “At Your Service,” which includes three personal shopping consultants: one for women’s wardrobes, one for men’s wardrobes and one for non-clothing purchases. You need an appointment, but the service is free. Jan Amos, who helps with women’s wardrobes, says that it’s typical for young executives and socially conscious people to use At Your Service. Call Bloomie’s personal shoppers at 450-2300.
Lord & Taylor. The North-Park store has Pat Hoker to help you decide on your wardrobe and to help you make important gift decisions. Her services are free, but again, you must make an appointment. Call Pat at 691-6600.
Marshall Field’s. The anchor store at the north end of the Galleria has a free personal shopping service. It, too, is busiest around Christmas, so call for an appointment at 851-1000.
Neiman-Marcus. “The Store,” we must admit, appears to offer the ultimate in personal shopping service. Neiman’s personal shoppers specialize in wardrobe consulting, but they’re just as happy to help you choose unique individual or corporate Christmas gifts.
The Silver Key Club is where Neiman’s downtown store excels in personal shopping service. The initial fee is $75, with a $50 annual renewal fee. For that, you have access at any time to the following services: a shopping consultant, a corporate gift preview room and consultant, a male wardrobe and gift consultant for male customers (who will go as far as to bring clothes and gift ideas to your office or home for a look-see), an important date reminder service, a free light lunch on your shopping day, a party planner, a stationery consultant, priority alterations and same-day delivery of your purchases. And in addition to all that, your business guests can make use of those same goodies. Larry Ritner, director of sales development, says that appointments are preferred but not neccessary. Call 741-6911.
Saks Fifth Avenue. This anchor store at the southern end of the Galleria has an “Executive Shopping Service” for a $50 annual fee. For that, you get valet parking, a light lunch, a personal office space from which to make phone calls, a wardrobe consultant and a personal and corporate gift consultant. Call Saks’ service at 458-7000.