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.)