Shopping Piranhas

What is it about the holidays? People seem to loose all control of their senses. It seems a whole new set of rules suddenly emerge. People seem to find new ways to be rude, thoughtless and inconsiderate. What is it about the holidays? I know Christmas is the time of peace, love and joy, but you won’t find it on the streets or shopping malls of America.

For example, people completely forget everything they learned in Driver’s Ed. Ordinary laws for stop signs and traffic lights not longer apply. I went Christmas shopping, and as I approached the ten mile radius of the Asheville Mall, I began to have flashbacks of driving in the Republic of Korea, where the only two traffics laws are “I was here first” and “I’m bigger that you.”

Oh, sure, people cut you off all year long, but this time of year, they cut you off with a wave and a smile that says, “Forgive me, I’m so full of holiday cheer that my brain is no longer functioning.” Then you have the Scrooge drivers, who scowl at you as though it was your own fault anyway. They have to cut you off. It is their way of say, “Bah humbug!”

The driving is kind when compared to the foot traffic. Store owners don’t help. As though they needed to draw people to their stores, they have sales. One time, I went to one of those “early-bird” Christmas sales. I will never do it again. The women who go to these sales are power shoppers. They are like shopping piranhas. After about ten minutes, I was left staring at the bony remains of a store end cap they had attacked. Naturally, this was the very item I had come to get. Women screamed past me in shopping carts. It was more like a timed shopping spree than anything. They never really seemed to pay any attention to what they were buying. If it was on sale, they shoved it in their carts. Some had two or three shopping carts. Their husbands stood guard over them, a sleepy eyed, coffee deprived sentry, who would rather be back at home in bed.

Every year, I vow to never go within ten miles of the mall between November 15 and January 15. However, by December, I have forgotten this vow, and I end up somewhere near the mall. Some guy blows past me, ignoring the stop sign in front of him. I lift my hands in defeat and say to myself, “What? Are you a glutton for punishment?”

I vowed this year to do all my holiday shopping in one day. Get it over with, and then, I can enjoy the rest of this holiday season. I did just that. When I finally collapsed in my easy chair at the end of the day, I had the satisfaction of knowing I was finished. I could leave the rest of the stores’ merchandise to the shopping piranhas.

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© copyright 2001 E. E. Perry