Saturday, December 11, 2010

Escape the Mall Challenge (for charity) – part 1

When Scott Taber from Media Profile asked me to participate in PayPal’s Escape the Mall Challenge, I accepted. In exchange for my time, I’d get to do some good in the community and help those less fortunate this holiday season.

So, here’s how it works...
PayPal deposited $500 into my PayPal account. I was asked to buy gifts for five people, somewhat typical of what the average person would need to buy for immediate family members or close friends – the catch was all the gifts had to be purchased from online stores that accept PayPal. They also sent me $500 worth of Vanilla MasterCard PrePaid cards and asked to buy similar gifts for the same five people at the mall – the following week. The second part of the challenge was to document my experiences online. Scott even loaned me an Olympus E-PL1 camera (more on that in a future post.)

And why did I agree to spend my time doing all this shopping? Well, the cool thing is that I get to donate all items to a charity (or charities of my choice). Pretty sweet, eh?

Don’t tell anyone but I stepped outside the lines a bit and did all my shopping this weekend. I made one online purchase last night and the rest this morning. Dressed in my PJs while my family was still asleep and before the malls were open, I went gift shopping in the comfort of my own home.

At 2 p.m. this afternoon, I hit the mall, Yorkdale to be exact. What was I thinking? Who goes to an always busy mall two Saturdays before Christmas smack dab in the middle of the afternoon? Me, that’s who.

At first, I thought I’d do it the easy was and go when the mall opened on a weekday morning but no, that would be way to easy. I figured if I was being challenged, I’d do it right.

Over the next two weeks leading up to Christmas, I’ll be sharing the results of my Escape the Mall Challenge with you on the blog as shipments from the online stores arrive.

How you can help make a difference?
I’m planning on donating some of the items to HoHoTO’s silent auction on Thursday night. As for the remainder, well that’s where I need your help. Please leave a comment suggesting where you’d like to have the gifts donated. A subsequent blog post will include a poll for Bargainista readers to decide. (Hint: gifts include electronics, women’s winter clothing accessories, girls’ toys and yummy bath products.)
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  1. Sounds like fun, Bargainsta! I admit I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year, mainly because the majority of gifts were going overseas and it was just easier to order them in the country where they were going. Had to use Paypal a few times; it was the only way some sites would accept a Canadian credit card.

    As for where you should donate the gifts, I would suggest one of Toronto's womens shelters, like Nellie's or The Redwood. You may also want to send things to Covenant House.

    Good luck with this, and best wishes for the holidays! Season's greetings.

  2. Thanks for the holiday wishes and the great suggestions for where to donate the gifts. I'll include them in the poll. Make sure to come back and participate.

    Online shopping is usually the best option when you’re planning on sending gifts to friends and family, especially when you can have them wrapped and add gift cards.

    Happy holidays,

  3. Anonymous9:00 pm

    Please donate your items to the Scott Mission. Thanks.

  4. Anonymous, thanks for your comment. Great idea but the items are for women and girls, so they may not be appropriate for the Scott Mission.

  5. Red Door family shelter is another.

  6. I can't believe I missed this campaign Eden - not surprised that you had a better mall experience than Ben when compared to online shopping. If Ben is anything like me (target shopper - decide beforehand what to buy and where - in and out in less than 15 minutes) if you have anything that alters the plan the steam starts brewing under the collar. :)

    I prefer online shopping with it's ease and allows me to do it anytime. I am going to ensure that all three blogs here are in my RSS feed so that I don't miss it again. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Andy, thanks for your comment. My mall experience was exactly how you described – targeted and I knew what I was going to buy and where I'd buy it before I left the house. That's why it was relatively easy. The online shopping experience definitely helped with my research and made the mall experience a breeze, relatively speaking.



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