6 things to do while you’re on hold next weekend.

Telephone © by plenty.r.

Planning to shop online between Black Friday – which is increasingly more of a Post-Turkey Thursday – and Cyber Monday? A company called STELLAService has determined that the merchants with the shortest phone-support hold times are Nordstrom.com (18 seconds), Overstock.com (44 seconds), LLBean.com (46 seconds), Zappos.com (1 minute, 9 seconds) and Target.com (1 minute, 18 seconds).

That information is based on the 2011 shopping season. I bet it’ll be just as good this year, since retailers are scrambling to stand out among the din of the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

And if you’re buying from a place that leaves you languishing on hold for lonnnnng minutes? Here are six things to do while you wait:

1. Do the Swagbucks daily poll and a couple of searches. If you wind up on hold for an unconscionably long period of time, you might be able to complete a survey. (Not a Swagbucks member? Hope you’ll join with my referral code. Trade in your points for gift cards to do some holiday shopping.)

2. Check your Facebook page. Because who couldn’t use more cat photos?

3. Rummage through cupboards in search of leftover Halloween candy. (I love wifi and hands-free phones.)

4. Fold laundry. It has to be done eventually. Why not multitask?

5. Go to the bathroom. Unless you’re not the kind of person who does that while you’re on the phone. (Liar.)

6. Memorize state capitals. (Not really. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.)

My kid, and my giveaway

Abby wrote an interesting post called “Why you should read spoiled Black Friday ads.” Perusing them a week or two in advance does more than help you plan your shopping.

With a mix of snark and common sense, she explains how those leaked ads can help you get real about what you’ll buy – and what you won’t. You’re freed up from the “immediacy” factor, aka your inner 5-year-old screaming, “That! That! And that too!”

Abby also has a post up at Wise Bread called “The new graduate’s guide to affordable fun.” She acknowledges that student loans are a pain but says they “don’t preclude your having fun.” Along with tips on happy hours, free movies, weekly specials and the like, she includes this very common-sense suggestion: Schedule a day each week to meet up with friends.

“It helps get you through the week without extra spending. After all, it’s hard to rationalize going out on Wednesday if you’re meeting up with friends on Friday,” she says.

Finally: You may have noticed that I did not put up a giveaway on Friday. That’s because I’m putting one up tomorrow. It has a holiday-shopping theme and actually involves two prizes of equal value, both to be awarded in time for Black Friday/Turkey Thursday.

You can probably guess where I’m going with this, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if your guess is correct.

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  1. Sandra Gonzales

    Can’t wait until tomorrow!

  2. ImJuniperNow

    Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I just cannot get into the Black Friday hoopla. There’s nothing I need or want that badly.

    Plus, this year I am using my Christmas Club funds for a generator.

    You’re all welcome to come over and enjoy the light.

  3. lostAnnfound

    I put dishes away when I am on hold or clean my keyboard with a sticky note (so much dog hair gets in there!).

    • Donna Freedman

      @lostAnnfound: Me too! Apparently someone breaks in when I’m not home and drops crumbs in my keyboard.

  4. How about shopping locally and supporting the small businesses that keep your town alive instead of wasting time on hold to shop at giant retailers?

    • Donna Freedman

      @Jenny: I’m all for that. But not every town has every thing you might want.

  5. I grinned when I saw your reference to state capitals. There’s an easy way to memorize the states, at least…in high school, I sang in a madrigals group that entertained at a lot of bowling banquets. One of our songs was Fred Waring’s “50 Nifty United States” – all 50, in alphabetical order.
    You would not believe the trivia contests I’ve won (or done well in) because I know these! The only bad part: I have to say them in order, starting with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona…I can’t just stop and start. There’s a surprising bunch of performances on Youtube, including this one:

  6. All I could think of, watching the video, was, “Those poor kids…now they’ll NEVER forget.”

  7. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was tethered to a 21 ft curly cord connected to a wall phone. I could reach the laundry room, every corner of the kitchen, and by straining the cord, I could lie on the sofa. Of course, I did dishes, cooked, did laundry, cleaned, swept and mopped while on the phone.

    My favorite jobs were using a toothbrush, toothpick, and the vacuum to clean the hinges on the cabinet doors. I had a very spotless kitchen back then.

    Now, I like to make lists while on hold and find phone numbers on the internet so I can call the next business!

  8. I got my daughter’s laptop on Black Friday online. I try to avoid the crazy, but a laptop for $250 shipped was definitely incentive! I spent 3 hours on the phone…3 HOURS…ARG! But it was worth it.

    @Practical Parsimony- My daughter’s posted this on my facebook for me on Mother’s Day last year. I’m from NY too, so the accent is similar…

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JyfBFz9X54&w=420&h=315%5D

  9. I’m addicted to swagbucks. So far I’ve earned more than $200 in gift cards. My favorites are the ones from Starbucks, though I recently redeemed some swagbucks for a Bath and Body Works gift card. It’s nice to treat myself to their lotions and soaps after using the less expensive drugstore soaps for so long.

  10. LOL! I would not be able to survive with what little sanity remains if my phone didn’t have a speaker. The only think I hate more than having muzak piped into my ear is having advertising babble piped into my ear. Well…no: more than both of those, I hate having to talk to a GD telephone robot.

    Honestly, I’d rather do battle with crowds than put up with the recorded “we value your business” fib: if they valued our business, they’d hire enough people to answer the phones. 😀

  11. I spent over 2 hours on the computer/website last week trying to cash in my K-mart/Sears points on the Sears site, with a representative trying to place the order for me. End result – no purchase; it was almost 11:30 and I had to get up at 5:30. I’m thinking a phone call might have worked a little faster. I would rather let the points expire than be that aggravated again.

    While on computer hell/hold I answered emails, played solitaire, laughed over the timing and the questions with my husband (can you verify you name again for me, can you verify that you actually want to purchase this item, etc) and tried to figure out what their problem was.

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