Here’s How to Check Off All Your Holiday Shopping (& Beat the Grinch Bots)

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Getting all the hot-ticket items off your holiday wishlists has never been more difficult. While we continue to navigate supply chain issues that make getting even the most basic supplies a challenge, technology is further hindering consumers’ ability to snag the must-have toys and games for the fam thanks to Grinch bots.

First, what’s a Grinch bot? Software robots that are essentially computer programs, bots can be used for good (like tracking sales), or in the case of holiday shopping, to swoop in and steal coveted merchandise so it can be resold at a higher price.

photo: Canva

You’ve likely encountered Grinch bots already trying to get Gabby’s Dollhouse, a Nintendo Switch or the coveted PS5, only to get to checkout and find the item is out of stock. While beating a bot is difficult, there are a few ways you can up the competition.

First, register with the manufacturer of your coveted item to get stock updates. Many companies now reach out to you directly (so you don’t have to go running to the website on a moments’ notice) to give you first dibs.

Next, enlist the help of family and friends when inventory comes in. You are more likely to get a product if multiple people are helping you at the same time!

If possible, try to pre-order items or get on waitlists that will automatically add the product to your cart once in stock. Then be on the lookout for email alerts and hightail it to the retailer’s website to check out.

A few last tips involve following the retailer on social media and turning on your notifications, in addition to enabling one-click shopping so you can check out at lightning speed. While you may not be as quick as a bot, you’ve definitely upped your game this holiday shopping season.

––Karly Wood


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