Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Art of Christmas Shopping

This time of year comes at the same time.  It is not surprise to anyone.  December 25th is always December 25th.  You would think we'd plan ahead...some of us do.  Most of us?  Do NOT.  We wait until the last moment to fight mall traffic, glare down other shoppers for a parking space, wait in long lines all so our kids can rip open presents, toss them aside and move on to the next gift.  If we have very small kids, 99% of the time they will be far more pleased with the huge box whatever you got them came in.  MnM's in a stocking trumps all.  So why do we do it?  The money, the stress...why?  Because.  And because we do it, I have assembled a how to list for the savvy shopper....

My Guide to Christmas Shopping

First, you'll need money.  Get some from the bank.  Head to Costco.  Fight for a parking space.  Buy the Scooby Doo limited edition set that comes in the groovy Mystery Machine carrying case because you are a child of the seventies and LOVED Scooby, but claim it's for your children when you run into an acquaintance who has a shopping cart full of grown up stuff like fancy crackers, some weird book on sculptures and wine you know cost way more than your Scooby set.  You know you'll get more out of the cartoons than she will out of the wine but don't mention this to her.  Start to compare carts.  You have cartoons, a fuzzy blanket and ice cream.  Realize she is probably also comparing carts and will probably go home and tell her husband what a lazy, ice cream loving, fuzzy blanket wearing, cartoon watching idiot  you are.  Decide you should throw in some fish oil to make your cart a little more well-balanced.  Decide you need some samples to get you through because it's going to be a long day.  Pretend that you are still shopping and non-chalantly walk past sample tables.  Listen to demo lady rambling on and on about how versatile Greek yogurt is and wonder if she realizes there is no one at her table.  Decide you should never go into the demo business because you already talk to yourself way too much and the last thing you need is to do it in front of hundreds of people while trying to push something gross like plain yogurt...and what if you were sampling something good, like cream puffs?  There is probably some rule about not eating the samples and you know with your love of cream puffs, you'd be fired for breaking that rule.  It is a certainty.  See Facebook friend.  Avoid making eye contact because even though this is a 'friend', you don't REALLY know this person and realize you make all kinds of idiotic, personal comments on Facebook and she probably thinks you're nuts and since you have only cartoons and ice cream in your cart, that might prove her suspicions correct.

Head to K Mart, where mother has told you digital cameras are on sale.  Find it, head to the line.  Pick the line that isn't moving.  Realize woman in front of you keeps trying to do the eye contact thing with you so you can strike up a conversation about how slow the line is, blah, blah, blah.  Know in your heart she is a talker and will probably want to babble about the holidays, what she still needs to shop for, who she needs to shop for and how she always ends up in the longest line.  You are not in the mood.  Stare at ceiling because at this point, she is so desperate to chat she's well within your personal space bubble, trying to get your attention. Wonder what the hell is wrong with this broad and why she won't take a hint. Realize you have been staring at ceiling in defiance for a little too long and she is starting to back away from you, obviously convinced you are insane or have some weird eye condition she doesn't want to catch.

Watch as manager comes to rescue distressed cashier.  Do the "oh, no problem" chuckle with other people in the line.  Know that underneath, it's a problem and every last one has wondered what the fuck is taking so long and duh, it's the holidays, we can't be standing in line for one spare minute.  Get to vehicle.  Realize drivers side door is impossible to get to because some jackass has parked waaayyy too close.  Enter through passenger side.  Bang head on rear view mirror and in an effort to steady yourself, cut arm on Starbucks straw.  Fight traffic.  Take long slurp of mocha.  Prepare yourself.  For the mall.

The chaotic energy from the wonderland that is the mall is palpable.  Find parking space a few miles away.  Once in, head for first store.  Wonder if the entire country is in denial about the fact we are in a recession because everyone is hauling several bags and looking sooooo happy doing so.  Watch as idiotic shit flies into peoples hands...
Yes.  $4 for a dozen blue gumballs.  Watch SEVERAL people gleefully purchase these.  Start to question your fellow mankind and their intelligence.

Decide you are a smarty pants and will focus your gift buying on books.

Walk past Santa photo line.  See young couple in line.  Immediately read both body language and facial gestures.  She is super duper excited about their cute as kittens photo with Santa.  He is super duper excited that she will think he is Mr. Sensitive and reward him with a sexual favor later.  You're old, but not too old to read those messages.  Laugh and wonder if you should go back to Urban Outfitters and get him that blue ball gum.

Head to next store.  Explain to sales person you are trying to find a 'simple, elegant' monogram pendant for your young daughter.  Watch her jump up and down, clap her hands and show  you a three inch high bauble full of cubic zirconia.  Try to not smack her in the head.  Take a good look around and realize every sales person you have come in contact with appears to be sucking on some form of happy gas or a lithium lozenge.  They are way too cheery for the mind fuck that is hundreds of stressed out people, demanding their attention.

Next stop: Pillow Pet kiosk.  Convince yourself the salesperson is a heroin addict because he has horrible skin, keeps nodding off and is really skinny...decide you are right because he is really close to Mrs. Fields and that yummy cajun place that always gives out the chicken samples and if he worked at the mall even a few days a week, he'd have more meat on his bones.  Wonder if he naps on display models during the slow times.  Keep this in mind when he informs you the only polar bear pillow pet is the display model, which is what your kid wants.  Decide she can deal with a penguin that is still in it's sealed plastic and hasn't been defouled with junkie drool. 

Walk by Mac store.  Or Apple store.  Or whatever it's called.  Know you have no business going in there at all.  You are much more comfortable in the As Seen on TV store.   Go in.  Debate with yourself on the purchase of a FlowBee.  Decide against it.  However, the pasta maker in the microwave thing?  Maybe.  You will NOT be a sucker for the ShamWow, though.  You have standards.  And besides, the last time you bought them, they didn't work.  You are an informed, intelligent consumer who doesn't waste money on frivolous things.

  Like AWESOME boxes of candy.

Head to Target for stocking stuffers.  Watch as woman at the front of the line attempts three times, with three different credit cards to make her $445 purchase.  Feel sorry for her that she isn't as good of a shopper as you.  Wonder if she knows about the As Seen on TV store, because if she's going to shop, she might as well get some miracle products!  Like a pasta maker that lets you cook pasta in the microwave.  Or those weird foot pads that suck out all of your toxins.  Or the Turby Twist.  So many magical products to choose from....decide you want to strike up conversation with woman behind you since this loser is taking so long.  You really want to talk about that pasta maker and how crazy the mall was and who you still need to shop for and how this line is sooo long.  She starts staring at the ceiling.  Wonder if she doesn't realize she's kind of being a bitch by blatantly ignoring you.  You wanna talk, dammit!  She continues staring at the ceiling, as if purposely avoiding you. 

Realize she must have some weird eye condition. 
 What else could it be?