I made my first cautious outing to my local town centre during the run-up to Christmas today. Having increasingly relied on the internet for nearly all my shopping of late, Christmas or otherwise, it made the experience feel a little alien. I know I’ve faced it before in the past, but it’s like I’d forgotten about all the perils, and general bewilderment that comes with facing a local shopping centre on a Saturday in December.
Here are a few observations:
• Women, when Christmas shopping, have no space perception whatsoever.
• Young children can and will cry, and really test your patience as you wait in a queue of what seems like thousands. Whilst it is annoying, you can’t help but feel sorry for the parents accompanying them, as they are stuck in a bit of an impossible situation. Then again you have to draw the line at parents who seem to just leave the children to cry. I don’t know if they’re trying to wean a child off dependency, or if they’re just rubbish parents.
• Most teenagers seem to think doorways into shops are excellent social spots, despite the hundreds of haggard shoppers who are trying to bundle into said shop.
• Also, most teens seem to want to share their conversation with you whether you want to hear it or not, as they seem to scream their vacuous bilge at each other. Just when you thought today’s youth had cast off the need for face-to-face interaction and turned into a society of texters.
• December, despite the Christmas spirit and pretty lighting, is still shit when it comes to weather, which is doubly annoying when you are trying to wrestle through a crowd with bags.
• People with pushchairs (occupied or otherwise) can be bastards if they give no mind to the fact they’re blocking people with said pushchairs, whilst they idly leaf through everything on the shelf you’re trying to look at.
• You will get the urge to run for the nearest exit of the shop and annihilate anyone who gets in your path, before social etiquette gets the better of you, and you resign yourself to a slow trudge to freedom.
• Free samples of Christmas wares are always welcome.
• Self service tills seem to have a built-in ‘embarrass-the-customer’ protocol.
• Christmas annuals are getting sillier. There is actually a Marmite annual this year! Seriously Marmite!? I expect the pattern to continue until we have a Christmas annual for everything from fuseboxes to Gordon Brown’s favourite breed of Sheep.
• It is always strange to see someone you have known for some years playing the shopping centre’s Father Christmas.
• There seems to be a movie-and-TV-douche-vampire section to the seasonal calendar shop. I guess the rise of Twilight and True Blood, amongst other things, are to blame.
• Companies make an inexplicable amount of novelty crap for Christmas shoppers.
• The incessant Christmas music played could be used as a means of torture (hope you’re listening British and US military. Waterboarding is so yesterday). It’s questionable as to why the shop workers haven’t had severe nervous breakdowns.
Then again I guess I am going to put a negative spin on shopping, as I don’t really care much for it unless it’s essential. Besides, there are more positive sides to Christmas when you get away from the shopping aspect.