Thursday, December 9, 2010

Deck The Halls! and Other Shopping Joys

    A few days back I posted an editorial I wrote in an attempt to boost any scrooges out thiers spirits!  I am finding it hard to believe how close to Christmas it really is.  This month has been a blur.   Happily 90 percent of my shopping has been done for me.   Every time I talk to this person, I have bought something else for someone.   It's overly awesome actually.  Now I just need to buy this great person an great gift or two.   Over the next few daze my posts will be about the holidaze and such.   I worked eight years in retail, and am now ever thankful that fun is in my past.  Soon after back to school items come off the racks, the first Christmas village items can be seen in the aisles.  And by October it is hard to find a jolly shopper or worker.  One year I jumped on Santa's lap with my work vest on for my holiday Christmas cards.  I am not sure wich of us looked more supprised.   I wish I had that picture to post on here.

      Deck the Halls
    Unless you start Christmas shopping the week after the holidays (when all the real sales start) Christmas shopping can be one of the most painful experiences known to man.  Way worse than moving or getting married.  New studies (I’m guessing done by the government)  *Note  92.6 % of all statistics are made up* show the anxiety levels in humans shopping close to those as solders fighting in war.  The closer the big day gets, the less holiday spirit shoppers seem to have.  So if  everyone knows the key is to start early, why are we all at 7-11 on Christmas Eve buying special x’ms scratch offs, snicker bars, and 40’s of beer, and Twinkies?  Because two days after you finished shopping, twelve peole sent you presents.  Really great, mind blowingly thoughtful presents.  People you didn’t even think about sending a warm or fuzzy card too. 
    The key to buying the perfect gift is to include a gift receipt with each purchase!  Thus allowing them to return their gift for what they really wanted (the cash) and not see the measly amount you spent on them, if they do keep the gift.  Ok, with check out lines hitting the rear of the store, and tempers on edge how can one safely join the mall and retail masses you ask?   Ask dang it!  If you have kids that happen to watch tv one item, one item manufactures made 25,000 to few of, is at the top of their list.  Wearing protective gear is strongly advised, drinking heavily first is also.  Since Christmas displays are now set up around back to school time, shopping should be a snap.  Key word is should be.  But you can’t buy your kids number two pencils and holiday gifts while they are with you.  Besides you are to busy complaing about it being 90 degrees outside and seeing Santa roam  the store.  And building your bank account back up after buying enough school supplies to outfit a well educated third world country army.  Back when you went to school, the school actually supplied supplies and the teachers could spank!   See how easily you are distracted?  Maybe you need the Ritalin, not your child.
    Finding the perfect gift can be tricky, growing more so the later in the year it gets, like after July.  Think, really get into the persons head about what they would love to receive.  Than wake up, you can’t afford that on your salary.  Also think about how close the receiver lives to you.  If they are a neighbor buy something  you want.  Neighborly borrowing strikes again!  Same with relatives in the same house, they might give up on the return lines and just give you the present.   Use your head when buying, if the commission drived sales clerk says, “they’ll love it!”   They won’t.  Buy useful gifts when you can, unless your buying for a wife.  Meaning possibly not your wife.  They enjoy amount spent, useless factor, and color coordination most.  A paper weight/diamond the size of your head is ideal, but don’t go all out. 
    Sometimes the simplest ideas are best.  Once after moving away from home, I mainly received a retail card and lots and lots of cookies.  Because of the distance shipped, it was lots and lots of cookie crumbs, but crumbs are edible too!  Of course for this to work  you need a recipient with the true meaning of Christmas in their heart or a cashless, hungry college student.  The later is far and few between on your gift list.  Ok back to shopping, sometimes having a personal shopper is best.  But for those of us without that luxury there is always wives and or girlfriends.  If they do not have the perfect gift stored away some were, they can find it.  Besides they are getting that paperweight.   There is always the concept of “recycling” gifts.  Re-wrap what you got over the last few years.  Just make sure to take detailed notes of whom sent you what as to not send the same item to a now former friend.  Now for my extra cheap readers, some tips.  Buy assorted glass pieces, wrap.  Be sure to note in the attached card, how much you hope they enjoy the crystal vase/ashtray for years to come!  “Borrow” tree decorations from holiday displays around town.   Just send a card, Fed X.  With lots of tape stuck to it.  Tell them to enjoy the package under the measly card.  If you live out of state from those receiving.   Shop after the holiday than mail.  And than blame the crummy postal service for being slow and late.  So now that my friends know most of my holiday tricks, I need to go do some real shopping.  

These discount retail stores are damaging to ones pocket-book.  You run around saving so much money, that you go in debut.   Cashier: “Lets see, four carts  of sale items with a total of only $629.08!”   Notice the amount is never an even number.  Everthing is priced at $2.96 so as to elude that you are not paying three whole dollars!   Now working in retail is an even worse fate for the wallet.  You get a discount so of course that means you can spend more cash!   They basically recycle your weekly money into a paycheck. Whats worse is they issue your check at the back of the storer.  So by the time you get to the doors, it is magically gone.  Poof!  Wich store did I work for?  I won’t mention names, but it does rhyme with Fall Apart.  Proably the worst of these such stores are the bulk stores such as Costco.   Supposidly the store is only for business, but if you flash a bulging wallet around “looking” for your business card, they might just sign you up.  These are the stores you leave with gallons of hair shampoo and half a cow for your freezer and a brand new Tub of Lard!
    I am going to start a twelve step program for those addicted to bulk store shopping.  If your not, I have already cured you!  And reading the rest of this rambling is up to you.  Step 1:  Take a penny pincher to the store with  you, they will make sure everything you buy fits in one small van.  Step 2:   Enter the said store, and just browse.   Do not buy anything.  Maybe go on Thursday and just sample all the food giveaways.   Step 3:  Find a local organized, Bulk off meeting. 
    Step 4:  Actually ateend the meeting, they do give free donuts!   Step 5:  Cut up your membership card.  If your withdrawl symptoms are to sever to use sirrors, give card to a friend.  It is always fun to watch them turn into a shop a holic.  And maybe you will soon have someone to attend meetings with.  Step 6:  Tell a hundred previously unknown people at random, your name and that you are a shop a holic.  It helps you meet new friends, with new interests and the first step to recovery is attmiting you have a problem, numorus times.  The next step involves cutting down on eating.  All those sample food days and meeting donuts are turning you , well poofy!  
    Ok, I admit my twelve step program doesn’t have twelve steps.  But if you are not cured by now  you are a lost cause.  Get a second job to help your finaciel situation and fund your 2nd and third storage garages.  Also buy me the small 68 pack of beer, it helps with my creative writing process!

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