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The Best Days of the Week to Attempt Holiday Shopping in Stores

Oh, and the worst days.

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People walking with shopping bags outside of Macy's in NYC Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

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Shopping in a store — like, physically going to a store — is not a fun thing in the weeks leading up to the holidays. If you thought Zara was miserable at 6 p.m. after work in November, just wait until December really kicks into gear.

Foursquare pulled some data on foot-traffic patterns throughout the entire country from last year’s holiday season to find out what days of the week are best for particular shopping categories, and even the times of day that the stores tend to be the most empty — or the most crowded.

a chart of The worst times to go shopping during the holidays.
The worst times to go shopping during the holidays.
Photo: Foursquare

The biggest takeaway: The worst day for shopping is Saturday.

Surprise! The first day of the weekend is the worst. Don't go shopping at all on Saturdays, period. Discount stores and outlets tend to be the most crowded from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., department stores, clothing stores, and accessories stores will be slammed. Beauty gets hit the hardest around 3 p.m.

A chart detailing the best time to go shopping during the holidays.
The best time to go shopping during the holidays.
Photo: Foursquare

The best days are Monday and Sundays.

The best time to go to beauty stores is around lunchtime on Mondays, which makes sense — people are probably less likely to duck out of their offices at the beginning of the week. The sweet spot is between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Department stores will be the most bearable when they first open in the morning until noon.

And if you’re looking to ship packages, don’t even think about doing the weekend before Christmas, on December 19th or 20th. You will live to regret it.

Specialty stores are best in the evenings; bigger retailers are better in the morning.

Specifically, accessories stores, jewelry stores, and clothing stores are all the most safe on Monday evenings, after 6 p.m. Larger retailers, like department and discount stores, are still best in mornings, especially on Sunday.

In closing, the internet is probably still best.

No crowds, 24/7. There’s never a bad day or time to shop online.