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anomie
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28 Jul 2011, 6:24 am

Please could I have some coping tips for shopping malls and the like?

I avoid them as much as I possibly can, buying everything online that I can, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

The problem is, I find it so tiring just being in a mall or shopping district, that by the time I've walked into my first shop I am already losing the energy that I need to be able to choose something! Often I get so exhausted I have to leave without buying anything.

The exhaustion seems physical, for example it makes me crave sugar and feel like my body is sagging.

The main problem is people coming at me from all directions. Walking across my path so I have to constantly dodge them. And the noise is overwhelming. In a mall you get piped music and everyone's chatter amplified by the whole thing being a huge metallic chamber bringing out the treble in everything (why do they always make them like that)? In a city centre you get traffic noise as well, and buskers.

Also in malls I IMMEDIATELY get COMPLETELY LOST. Usually I'm pretty good at navigation - I take myself off on solitary hikes in the wilderness and I can mentally rotate figures on an IQ test with the best of them. But the crushing, maddening confusion of a mall strips me of this ability completely, and the Escherian structures of some of those places results in me popping out of a door 3 floors up and 300 yards east from where I thought I was, and getting the sinking feeling that I am a rat in an inescapable maze. If I'm there with someone else, I have to practically hold onto their sleeve because they might disappear behind a clothes rack and I'll never see them again.


One thing I do find helpful in a city centre is looking up at the sky as much as I can without bumping into people. It makes me look weird but it buys me a little more time before having to give up.



hurtloam
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28 Jul 2011, 6:52 am

I completely understand how you feel. I try and avoid busy days so that there are less people i.e. I won't go into the city on a weekend to shop. I usually go to the same shopping centre and go in and out of the same shops, that way I know exactly where I am going and don't get lost. The only way to work out a shopping routine though, is to force yourself to do it a few times to learn the layout of the place. I am definately more comfortable shopping now than I was when I was younger.

I totally understand the exhaustion. I try and make it like a day out and treat myself to a coffee and a cake in a nice cafe half way through, so that it is a positive experience. I don't take other people with me because they stress me out and don't understand why I get stressed. Too much colour, too much noise. I much prefer online shopping, but nothing beats getting to feel the material in person before buying. I'm tactile like that.



anneurysm
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28 Jul 2011, 7:15 am

I find that ducking into the nearest bathroom to calm down and refocus works well...and I still do it constantly when out. I second having a routine while shopping and going at quieter and less busy times.


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Radiofixr
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28 Jul 2011, 8:17 am

I just feel like everybody is looking at me and judging me for some reason and big crowd kind of get me a bit nervous-I hate to go buy anything because it feel like people are staring at me when I am trying to buy something and then I know what I am looking for and a salesperson wants to help-it throws me off all the time.


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izzeme
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28 Jul 2011, 9:17 am

as stated before; finding a solitary place (like a toilet cubicle) to refocus works wonders; while the music can easily be blocked with headphones.
the big 'earmuff' types do a good job at blocking other sounds, especially if you listen to relaxing (to you) music trough them.
also, there are several in-ear models that block nearly all incoming sounds, even without listening to music yourself.



Jellybean
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28 Jul 2011, 9:54 am

Try to only go to a familiar shopping centre rather than new ones (unless you want to suffer!). Find a 'safe place' such as a quiet library or a quiet green (plenty of those in Cambridge!) and go there when you start feeling overwhelmed. Try and memorise (to the best of your abilities) the layout of the shopping centre beforehand and choose only a certain amount of stores to visit. This means you can dart quickly from one store to the other hopefully meaning that shopping time is reduced.


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Jutty
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28 Jul 2011, 9:57 am

what is the opposite of "avoid"?



kx250rider
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28 Jul 2011, 10:22 am

Malls are the closest thing to Hell that I can imagine... Loud, out-of-control teenagers and kids, cigarette smoke, and judgmental adults who won't look at you unless you arrive in a new Mercedes and are wearing clothes that were just introduced in Italy or France yesterday. The whole mall thing is a joke to me, and I shop at discount stores like Target and Ross for clothes, and online, and the only thing I am forced to go to the mall for, is the Apple store. I park far away from the mall entrance so as to avoid the horn-blowing competition for a parking place, and I sneak in the back way, and go directly to Apple. And if they put one outside a mall 50 miles away, I"ll go there in stead.

Charles



Blindspot149
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28 Jul 2011, 11:55 am

I always carry silicon ear plugs when I leave my house.

I often need to use them in shopping malls (which for me are scenes from the movie 'Blade Runner') as well as restaurants.

I carry sunglasses too, for indoor use if the lighting is overwhelming, which it often is in the Mall

But mostly I just avoid crowds and/or malls


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Jory
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28 Jul 2011, 1:39 pm

I don't have a problem with getting lost, but I do have a problem becoming overwhelmed with all the sounds and people around me.



anomie
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28 Jul 2011, 2:30 pm

Jellybean wrote:
Try to only go to a familiar shopping centre rather than new ones (unless you want to suffer!).


Yes ...

I made a mistake really, that's what inspired me to start the thread. I decided to try going shopping in the city I work in rather than the city I live in, thinking it would save time. It did not save any time at all since I did not manage to buy anything!

I can't imagine how NTs can go shopping so easily and how some of them even like it!



OJani
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28 Jul 2011, 3:22 pm

anomie wrote:
Escherian structures of some of those places results in me popping out of a door 3 floors up and 300 yards east from where I thought I was, and getting the sinking feeling that I am a rat in an inescapable maze.

Lol, I love that. Really, sometimes I get this feeling too. I would ask one of the staff members where the shop I'm looking for is, then I would go in the exact opposite direction... However, I like to shop at familiar, less maze-like places, especially where the "music" that is played isn't so horrendous and loud.



the_curmudge
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28 Jul 2011, 5:55 pm

I can't remember doing this type of shopping in the last 20 years. If it were unavoidable, though, I'd do a dry run first, checking out the parking, walking through the stores to see what they offer, and looking for a quiet, time-out spot. Then on shopping day I'd go very early to avoid crowds, keep my shopping list short and if necessary take a break in the time-out spot.