Ever notice how shopping becomes more of an adventure around this time of year? Now I don’t mean just the longer lines at the post office and check-outs at your local grocers. Nor the flash mobs, nor just plain mobs at the malls.
I’m talking about the kind of full-contact tactics that crop up as you traverse just about any retail outlet.
The other day, I was going down the aisle of my grocers in one of their handicapped courtesy scooters (my knees don’t work well for long periods of use) and I noticed that as I continued down the aisle, one shopper was pacing me with her cart. I stopped. She stopped right beside me. I started up again, and she was right there. I repeated this a couple more times on the tried-and-true theory that once is a fluke, twice is coincidence, but three times MAY be enemy action. I finally looked up at her until I got her attention and said, “Excuse me, but you may not be aware. This is not a competition and there’s no prize for beating me in this race.” She harrumphed and pushed on ahead to the end of the aisle.
A couple of aisles further along my route, I encountered a woman who, well, let me put it this way; I’ve seen less gifted guarding from NBA professionals. As I neared a shelf that had an item I wanted, she would scoot down directly in front of it and stand there, studying the various items as though she were taking inventory. I waited politely until it became ridiculously apparent that I knew what she was doing, and so did she. I swear I was waiting for her to put her arms out and bend her knees into one of those basketball crouches I’ve seen the players use when they’re trying to keep someone from making a shot for the hoop.
I’m fortunate I don’t have children to buy toys for. I shudder to think what sorts of tug-of-wars erupt at Toys R Us. I make it a point to stay as far away from that department at Wal-Mart as possible, this time of year. In fact, I don’t set foot in a Wal-Mart from Black Friday through New Year’s Day if I have any other option available to me; though I do draw the line at ordering that gallon of milk online for convenient home delivery – for only four times in shipping what the milk cost in the first place!
Hmm…I wonder if this game is taken to a higher level for the upper-crusts who shop at those chi-chi, ultra-expensive toy boutiques in NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles. I have a vision of well-heeled shoppers sipping “gingerbread” martinis and nibbling on haute cuisine holiday noshes by world-renowned chefs flown in especially for the season while their live-in-nannies duke it out in the aisles over the last Diamond Barbie co-designed by De Beers (an absolute steal at $85,000), or the Junior Off Roader (comes complete with: all weather fiberglass body with a protective frame, dual hydraulic disk brakes, rack and pinion steering, manual emergency brake, full front and rear suspension, front and rear suspension, three speed transmission, radio and CD player with speakers on the side doors) for a mere $40,000. Oh, and just so you know, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Teddy Bear a German company created a limited edition of 125 bears of which the mouth is made of solid gold and the eyes of sapphires and diamonds. That’s gotta be a “must have!” Yeah, I’d definitely be willing to let my nanny have a concussion if I could secure that for my little Speed Racer. But I digress. (Fun though.)
So why all the confrontational consumerism? I blame it on the era in which we are living. (Cue the band! “Aquarius” if you please, ladies and gentlemen…)
‘Cause it’s the age of entitlement! Age of entitle-ment! En-TITLE-ment! En-TI-tlement!
Me and mine deserve the best, and the first, and the only one left. And everything in between if that’s what I decide.
Ah, the spirit of the season! Right. Whatever happened to it? Must have gotten left behind in the trunk of the Junior Off Roader.