A lot of folks will hopefully have their Eid holiday shopping done by now. But for those who have not finished their Eid shopping, it will certainly be a challenge, comparable to the mad rush the day before Christmas for those who celebrate Christmas. Not only will the streets be packed with cars whose drivers all think they are related to Mario Andretti and driving crazily but the same tactics of pushing, pulling and shoving to be first in line or to be the one who grabs the last handbag that is the latest craze will be in full effect in the shopping malls too. For readers who are not familiar with Eid al Fitr, not only is it a signicant muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan it is also a very lucrative and commercial time for most muslims also celebrate Eid by obtaining new special outfits, hence all the emphasis on shopping.
So how can one go out and about in Saudi Arabia to shop for Eid without feeling like they are getting ready to go out and battle? I can at least provide a few tips that may make it more manageable. First of all, try to go out during the daytime hours. Many of the malls are open from circa 1000 hours to about 1400 hours during the day before closing until nightfall when they will reopen. Since many residents of the Kingdom do switch their days and nights around during Ramadan, this is one of the more quieter times to be out and about. Secondly, plan your strategy. Know in advance where you want to go and plan your route accordingly to minimize the headaches of being out on the roads. And last but certainly not least, have cash on hand for your purchases and for any miscellaneous expenses. Particularly so during the month of Ramadan, the ATM machines quickly run out of available cash and it is also common for the bank networks to be overloaded making credit cards unusable as well.