The horrors and joys of Christmas shopping

Today is Black Friday and the so-called unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season. Many die-hard shoppers across the country are flooding to the shopping malls and retail stores in search of that special deal on a particular item whether it be on a flat screen television or simply a toy for that child on their shopping list. A lot of people are those hard-core shoppers; they feel the need the show up at some store in the wee hours of the morning, stand in line for hours in freezing temperatures until the store opens their doors. I have to tip my cap to those individuals although I think they may be a bit crazy! You would never catch me doing that! But anyways, Christmas shopping can be a great experience for many people or a real pain in the you know what. As a guy, I think it has many pros and cons but for most of the time, it is something that I dread, like going to the dentist.

Quite frankly, I think most guys feel the same way that I do. I mean isn’t shopping, especially Christmas shopping suppose to be a chick thing? Us guys would rather lay on the couch, relax and watch football all day. Hanging around at some crowded mall with a bunch of rude people is not our idea of fun and excitement. Women are born to like shopping. It is in their DNA.

The problem that I have with Christmas shopping starts even before I enter a store or mall area. Arriving and trying to park my car can be a frustrating adventure in itself. Fighting for a good parking spot can be a major challenge. Some folks circle the lot forever so they can save walking about 50 yards, unbelievable!! All they do is slow up traffic. You also have to be heads up for those drivers who do not believe in looking before they back out of their parking spots and those who whip around the corners. Your attention span has to be on high alert before you even enter the store. You may have success in parking but you still run the risk of getting hit by a vehicle while walking to the front door.

Once instead the store or mall, the adventure really begins. Trying to get from store A to store B always poses difficulties. I like to walk fast and there is always some fat person or persons who waddle in front of me, just taking their sweet old time. Sometimes they even stop and look around without realizing what they are doing. I often feel like an NFL running back in those situations. I look for the nearest gap to escape and go forward. If it is not those slow walkers, it is the idiots who decide to park their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle! What are those people thinking?!! And last but not least, let’s not forget those folks who like to talk loudly on their cell phones, a very annoying social behavior of many people.

After dodging people and getting my items, the next challenge is the checkout line. I am like many people, I hate waiting in line to get checked out. I am famous for picking the line that has a price check or some slow cashier that may be in training. Also, is it not such a big deal for the cashier to give me a nice greeting? I have seen too many cashiers who have the personality of a telephone pool. A warm greeting can really add to the shopping experience.

Finally, I am done with my shopping and  can go home, right? Well not so fast! Oh where did I park my car? Believe me, I have had many occurrences where I forgot my parking spot in either the lot or ramp and wasted needless time searching for my car. Maybe it is just old age!! And once again, you have to be heads up for those ding bat drivers.

Having said all those things, there are times when I actually enjoy doing some shopping. There is nothing that puts me in the mood for Christmas more than going to a shopping mall or store during the holiday season. The lights, decorations, music and Christmas trees really puts you in the spirit. I usually go the Mall of America a few times before Christmas. They have a couple of the world biggest Christmas trees near the main entrance. A must see for any holiday shopper.

The real joy of Christmas is getting that gift that you know will really please someone. All of those hassles are really worth it when you finally find that special gift. On Christmas, you witness the joy on their faces when they open the gift and it makes you feel very warm inside as well. You may have stood outside some store in freezing temperatures on Black Friday just so you could be first in line to buy that special toy for your son or daughter. Seeing them scream with excitement after they open your gift along with a nice, long hug makes that sacrifice all the worth it. It is always better to give than receive.

Sure there is internet shopping but that has some drawbacks as well. The shipping charges are absolutely crazy on most products. Why should I pay a 10 dollars shipping charge on a 50 dollar item? But shopping online in the comforts and privacy of your own home is a very good alternative to fighting the crowds at the malls.

I hope everyone has a very successful time shopping during this holiday season. There are many drawbacks and annoyances in going to those crowded shopping malls but nothing puts you in a better mood for Christmas. You just might want to go back again for one last trip before the big day. Even this male blogger might be tempted to get off the couch and go shopping.

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