Christmas nears; there is no escaping that fact. But why would you want to escape it anyway? Christmas is a time for gathering together with family, eating more than you normally should but still a little less than Thanksgiving, and don’t forget the true meaning… PRESENTS! Why would you not look forward to it? Because on the road to that happy destination that is Christmas Morning, you take a detour through HELL. Crowded malls, the local filth taking the third and fourth layers of dirt off of their car so they look more presentable during their only family outing during the year, and just general dumb-asses.
Chances are your workload is busier this time of year, plus when you get off work you have the usual stress of trying to put together a Christmas that won’t be a let-down for yourself and all of those you love and who love you. That’s a lot of stress to put on someone. Way too much. That is a dangerous amount of stress to put on a man, damn it. I’m surprised random unprovoked assaults don’t go up sharply this time of year.
The Retail Industry: Giving the Gift of Zero Effort
It’s your busiest time of year as far as moving items. Thousands upon thousands of people are going to burst through your doors and grab up every single thing you have on your shelves, leaving a scant amount of generic toothpaste and some Sum 41 CDs as the last items remaining. You would go out of your way to have your shit in check right? Well for the most part yes. The mall was outstanding as far as service and speed. Toys R’ Us, the store I worried the most about, was also an in-and-out affair. Target, Best Buy, all good brother. Barnes & Noble represented by opening ALL registers in the store, registers that I didn’t even know existed. If the situation called for it, I bet they would have opened more registers consisting of people going old-school with a calculator to add up amounts and a pen and paper for making receipts.
Not all stores were so well organized this year. Not all went the extra mile or even the standard required mile. Wal-Mart pretty much lived up to its reputation for driving all good feelings from you and leaving you with a body full of hate and horrible desires towards your fellow man. I had one item to pick up in Wal-Mart; I didn’t even want to try to look around. Getting around Wal-Mart was only slightly difficult (read more about that later), but then it came time to check out. This should go well, after all Wal-Mart has about forty registers. Forty registers they do have, but if you only open SEVEN of them it doesn’t mean shit. So I got into the shortest line I could find, which only had eleven or twelve folks in front of me. It took forty-five minutes. Forty-five minutes in this modern day of retail. Wal-Mart, eat an ass, an old dirty ass that has just had a huge un-wiped bowel evacuation due to a previously unknown eggnog allergy.
The People You Meet
People are stupid. I don’t think I am letting out any new knowledge here. We have all dealt with complete fucking idiots a time or two (every single day). Imagine these same mental midgets during a time of year where their brain is being way over-worked. Face it, their brains are overworked when they have to decide between letting that tooth just rot out on its own or try to knock it out and make it look like an accident so insurance might cover a replacement. Now add the usual holiday stress on these folk and they become part of a very sad show. Though there are many groups you could lump these folks into, I will name but a few.
The Zombie: Fans of the zombie genre should notice this one immediately. You see them stumbling about the store, groaning deeply and clawing at anything nearby. They have similar facial expressions, a blank and almost sad stare… they aren’t physically dead after all, but all hopes and dreams they may have had about a bright future are. The Zombie is relatively easy to avoid. Unlike their movie counterpart, the Christmas Zombie seeks a gift, any gift will do, but it is never your brains. They are at their worst when the shelves are bare. Then is the time when they might quicken their shamble and become a relentless force that will chase you down and tear your would-be purchases from your arms, heedless of your cries.
The Irate Caller: Usually female, usually young, and usually overweight, this is perhaps one of the hardest customers to interact with. If you are new to the scene you may think this person is shouting “HUH UH” and “AIN’T NO DAMN WAY ” to themselves, but then in the fat folds of their hands you notice a cell-phone. This person has been on that phone for many an hour, and they ain’t stopping. You see this person is snubbed away by the general public, probably due to the overwhelming stench you will notice if you get close enough. That is what it smells like when soap does not meet skin for a few days. So when these people actually do have friends they want to talk to them at all possible hours. Even if that means talking too fucking loud and drawing attention to themselves in public. Of course if you stick around long enough you will witness the call turning violent, then very loud facts about their personal life will come out.
The Unfit Parent: One that personally sends me into fits of anger, the Unfit Parent is a staple of everyday life, especially during the Christmas season. You see with Christmas coming and the promise of a load of toys near, children tend to get a little wild. That screaming child you see running directly in front of you causing you to have to awkwardly stop in your tracks… you feel nothing but hate for that child don’t you? Don’t hate the child however, hate the parent(s) that refuses to put forth the energy it takes to say, “Don’t fucking run in the store!” Children don’t use reason before they act, they work off pure impulse most of the time, and without someone to lay down some ground rules… well they’ll just do what they feel like doing until they are told otherwise. The kind of parents that let this slide are usually just pure lazy and non-caring. And after that child cuts you off and you almost trip over them and fall into a nearby display, what do you get from the parent? Well chances are if they even noticed what their child is doing you might get a quick “Sorry” or they will look at their child and half-heartedly say “Watch where you’re going” – but in most cases you won’t get anything. After all, when they are in the store most of these parents completely forget the fact that they have a child, or in most case a few children since most of the worst parents you encounter, in some ironic twist, are baby-producing machines. Also note that a combination of Unfit Parent and Irate Caller is common.
The Martyred Parent: Then you have the martyr. This person usually just throws their hands in the air when their child does something horrible, as if to say, “Pity me because my child is uncontrollable.” In reality these people are mostly like the parents I described above, only they have some sense of shame and guilt so they think giving off the impression that they have done all they can and are helpless will make up for the glances they are receiving that are dirtier than a gas-station toilet. These parents usually scold their child weakly after the fact. An example would be a recent trip out with my lady friend in which an older woman and several wild children were exiting the store. The kids had snatched up several balloons before exiting, and upon hitting the parking lot one brilliant little child proclaimed, “I’m gonna pop this balloon!” The child then went on to put the balloon on the ground and jump on it, popping it and annoying the shit out of anyone within thirty feet. The mother THEN decided to tell the child not to do such a thing. Apparently the child announcing loud and proud that he was going to perform the act beforehand was not the proper time for a scolding, but instead AFTER the deed was done, now that was the time to be a parent for once that day. So she yells at the kid, being sure to look at us and any other people nearby, apparently trying to say “What more can I do?” You can have some respect for everyone else and teach your kids how to act in public. You can also have some self-respect and not let your kids pretty much do whatever they want at all times. It’s not that hard, and despite what trailer-folk might tell you, you don’t have to wear out your “whuppin’ hand” in the process.
The Lame Parent: The final type of parent I will discuss isn’t so much unfit as they are just not in tune with what kids are into today. This parent has not done their homework as far as what their kids are wanting for Christmas, and they make YOU pay the price in the process. You’ve bumped into one of these parents before, probably in the electronics section. They know video games are hot, they know their child has expressed an interest in picking up a new game or two for Christmas, they have no fucking clue what game the child wants or what any of the games are in general. For some reason these parents are also the ones that strictly monitor what their kids play… why that is I am not sure. It is one of life’s great mysteries. I encountered one of these parents just a few weeks ago. I will now bring you her talk with the EB salesman:
Mother: Do you have any of those Xbox360 games.
Employee: Yes Ma’am, we have several over here (pointing to the wall that only had an eight foot tall XBOX 360 sign over it).
Mother: (Picking up the first game that she saw) What about this game, is it good?
Employee: It’s been the biggest seller so far.
Mother: Do you shoot anything?
Employee: Yeah, there is quite a bit of that.
Mother: Other people?
Employee: Well, they are more like monsters.
Mother: I don’t know, how about this one? (an NBA title)
Employee: Yeah, that’s also going to be a big one.
Mother: Do you shoot anything?
Employee: No, it’s a basketball game.
Mother: Is there any violence?
Employee: Well there is some shoving, just basketball stuff.
Mother: I don’t know about that.
What does this woman know about? Obviously she also didn’t know that there was a line of about 10 people forming behind her. I am not shitting you at all when I tell you that I was second in line when I got in, and it took me 20 minutes to get out of there. I can’t recall what game she ended up buying, I think it was perhaps the NBA game because that was the last one she asked about. I’m sure she took it home and watched her son closely as he played it…looking for the warning signs that he was on his way to becoming a serial killer because of ALL THE VIDEOGAME VIOLENCE!!!
Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy, and generally it is. The times I have spent with my family on Christmas mornings of the past are probably some of my fondest memories. Memories of being that child rushing into the living room at 6AM to rip open my presents as my parents’ half-asleep but happy faces look on, or to be the one watching a child rip open gifts while my own face is half-asleep and joyful… all great memories. I hope all of you enjoy Christmas, and hopefully by reading about some of the hazards above you will be able to brace yourself against the inevitable encounters. So unless you are poor, have a great time this weekend!
Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday Santa!