Now that Santa Claus parades have passed, snow has fallen and stores have entered their seventh exciting week of Christmas music, I think it’s safe to talk shopping.
Not that there’s anything safe about it.
The starting gun for holiday shopping is “Black Friday,” though few Americans would use something as feeble as a starting gun to get their hands on a discounted DVD player.
This calls for heavy weaponry. It’s in the constitution.
Even without firepower, Americans bulk up with turkey on “Black Thursday” to prepare for various cannonball moves needed to get at merchandise on Black Friday, shop at smaller stores on “Black Friday Hangover” and then online on “Cyber Monday.” Other important days include “Utensil Blowout Tuesday,” “Paisley Wednesday” and “The Thursday of Regret.”
Meanwhile, Canadians watch the pepper sprayings and shootings and stampedes and can only think one thing: We want in. Though there’s an annual lament that North Americans have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, I can assure you that holiday shopping has been crazy for at least my entire lifetime.
First it was Cabbage Patch Dolls. Nothing evoked the spirit of the season quite like old women having fistfights over ugly, fat-faced dolls.
Then there was Furby, a pricey doll that first spoke gibberish, but eventually learned English phrases like “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
And who could forget Tickle Me Elmo, whose announcement “Heh, heh! That tickles!” was an interesting counterpoint to store clerks yelling, “Dear God! Get off my spine!”
It’s never pretty, but what can be done? Well, I say this with utmost humility: Be more like me. If you shopped as I shop, we’d only need one shopping day. The entire continent would be done in minutes, actually. My goal during any shopping excursion is to treat the inside of the mall like it’s Fukushima Daiichi — the less exposure the better. I’m a mission shopper.
RECORDING: Your mission, should you accept: We need a Chapters gift card, a backgammon set, and some sandalwood soap, whatever that is (women like it, we think). This MP3 player will self-destruct as soon as the warranty expires.
ME: I’ll be in and out in 11 seconds.
With shopping complete, one can get back to the important things, such as enjoying the sights of the season, and repaying crippling shopping debts. And, because you skipped the violence, you’ll have plenty of pepper spray next year for the repo man. Also, any store manager that decides to play Christmas music on Nov. 1.
As we remember the true meaning of the season, let us spray.