Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas shopping at its finest

Last-minute shoppers are amusing creatures
Typically, they are men who left their Christmas shopping to Dec. 23 and are running around frantically trying to find something for the missus, mom and the kids.
They go tearing through the mall like madmen, trying not to run in to all the other guys who are body slamming each other in the aisle ways.
A frenzy develops, and soon no one is safe.
“Get out of the way grandma. That dolly with the pink dress, pleated skirt and matching hat is mine.”
“Back off sonny or I will give you a granny size butt whoopin’ you will never forget.”
Men are not great shoppers to begin with, but add the pressure of a deadline and things get down right nasty.
“You want some of this granny,” our shopper says while slinking away knowing, that when cornered, grannies are dangerous animals.
But, our intrepid shopper endures and eventually all the items are collected, and with a sigh of relief he heads for the check out.
While waiting in line, the adrenaline starts to fade and our shopper comes back to reality. He watches the chaotic gift grabbing going on around him and vows, “Next year, I will not wait to the last minute.”
Of course, next year he shows up at the same time and goes through the same routine except this time he does not back down and granny has to lay a beat down on him he will never forget.
But at this moment in time, he swears he will never leave it to the last minute again. In fact, he’s going to start in November. No. In June.
As he glances to the front door he sees a steady stream of people who are doing their shopping at an even later hour.
Our shopper feels smug.
“Look at those guys, leaving it so late. All they need is some time-management skills, like me.”
Our shopper is declaring victory and plans to be out of the store in a matter of minutes.
Then in the outer reaches of his thoughts he hears the most terrifying words any shopper can endure: “Price check on...”
Our shopper freezes as his mind locks in on the source of such angst.
Again he hears the voice, “Price check on aisle five.”
Those poor suckers. Here it is near closing time, they are in a rush to get home and now they have to survive a price check.
The smugness grows as he looks around to see what aisle such a tragedy has befallen.
Deep in his heart he fears the answer.
He looks to the left and a rush of panic strikes him. It’s aisle six.
Hoping for some reason the store reversed the numerical order of the check outs, he looks to the right only have the last vestige of hope dashed when he sees the number four.
He realized it is he who is in the ‘line of the damned.’
All our shopper can do is wait and watch as the other lines progress in a timely manner. He can hear people breaking out in joyous Yule tide song as their items are passed through the machine that goes boop.
“It’s the most wonder time of the year - boop. Dashing through the boop in a one-horse open boop…..”
He tries to block out the merry chatter of shoppers as they head for their cars, but all he can hear, being repeated over and over again are those two words: PRICE CHECK.
Then, a ray of hope. The check out person’s phone rings, they get the price and things are moving.
Our shopper rejoices at the Christmas miracle and the joy of the season comes flooding back as he steps up to the till and his items are put through the machine that goes boop.
He digs out some plastic, pays for his items and happily skips to the car.
Looking back he sees enough people waiting in the check out line to populate a small European country.
Plopping himself down in the driver’s seat, our shopper rests for a brief moment knowing he has survived another round of holiday shopping.
He puts the key in the ignition and is about to start the car when a voice screams in his head louder than the air horn of an ocean liner: “YOU FORGOT BATTERIES.”

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