By Danny Jones
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
With just 15 days until Christmas, many people are beginning to panic because they've not completed their Christmas shopping. I've not reached panic mode yet. In fact, I'm just now getting in the "I-guess-I-should-start-thinking-about-what-to-get-them-for-Christmas" mode. I'll probably complete that phase of my life in about, oh, 12 days. Then it will be time to hit the malls. But it will probably be best if I shop alone.
Every Christmas season, I see lots of what I call "professional shoppers." They are the people who have lists with primary gifts (as well as potential alternates) listed for each person, they've done their online research to see what store has the best deal on the items they're looking for, and, chances are, they've even called ahead to make sure the potential purchase is in stock. I admire these people as they are very smart. These people also so organized that they probably have everything on their work desk placed so perfectly that even the paperclips are facing the same direction and eventually, they will even have their receipts in ascending order, either by shopping location or amount spent.
The first reason you don't Christmas shop with Danny Jones: List? What list? Even if I had thought to make a list, I couldn't read it. The last list I wrote looked like a doctor's prescription.
Then there are those people who spend the whole day shopping. These people get up bright and early on shopping day—they are even standing at the door when the store opens—and leave the store with the employees after they clock out for the day. Black Friday shopping? That's their "Ironman Competition" for the year and they are determined to hold out to the bitter end. If you think a few hours of shopping on a Saturday as Christmas approaches is going to wear them down, you'd better think again: that's merely a stretching exercise for them.
The second reason you don't Christmas shop with Danny Jones: My idea of a marathon is watching the first five seasons of M*A*S*H* —and I don't even have to leave home to do that.
During the Christmas shopping season, the stores have Christmas blaring at full volume. Old Christmas songs; new Christmas songs. Classic performers and then many new "singers" (I use that term very loosely) I've never heard of—and will probably never hear of again because they are the product of some marketing concept, and are not genuine singers to start with. Some shoppers can even be overheard singing along.
The third reason you don't Christmas shop with Danny Jones: Ask my wife how many times I've done this: I'll start singing along with the Christmas music and about the third or fourth line in, I will completely re-write the song because I've forgotten the words. I can never remember what comes after Fa-La-La-La-La, La-La-La-La. The stars are brightly shining?
Then there are what I call "tag-team" shoppers. These are the people who have their cell phone in their hand the entire time they are in the store, staying in contact with someone who is in another aisle and giving a complete report of everything they see: "Here's No. 16 on your list. It's 45% off but I think we saw it in another store yesterday for 47% off…Send a text to Jane…she's over there today…see if she can find out if it is still on sale…Oh, wow…look at this…here's a whole section of Duck Dynasty cookware and bedding…Google that other store and see what they're selling golf clubs for…did you see that weather forecast…the snow is supposed to hit at 8:26 but we should be nearly done by then…can you use your phone to calculate how much seven of these will cost…I would but I'm still sending pictures of this so Jane will see what she's supposed to get for me at…"
The fourth reason you don't Christmas shop with Danny Jones: Ok, let me read these instructions again: To turn on your phone, press the top button. After the screen of your phone illuminates, you are now ready to begin using your phone.
Have you ever noticed that some shoppers are so incredibly sharp that they can make a store look more organized and neater than what it was before they came in? They are the ones who rearrange the boxes on the shelf so you can read every label and see the price tag without having to strain your neck. I've watched hundreds of time as a sharp shopper will pick up a sweater from a display table, completely examine it front, back and every side, read the label, rub the fabric for quality testing, even sniff the thing (your guess is as good as mine), and then put the sweater back on the table with perfect folds and every thread in a completely straight line pointing exactly to the North Pole.
The fifth reason you don't Christmas shop with Danny Jones: A security guard once ran over to break up what he thought was a fight between two shoppers. Imagine his surprise when he discovered it was just me trying to get that 50-pound mannequin back on the pedestal after it fell down as I was trying to put a coat back on it and it's arms kept hitting me in the back of my head.
If after reading this you still think you want to go Christmas shopping with me, plan to meet me at the mall in 13 days. But don't say I didn't warn you.