Once again, it is Christmas. You might suspect, dear reader, that I’m about to go off on another tangent about the War on Christmas, but you’d be wrong. Instead, let’s talk about shopping. Not in the ethereal, abstract sense of complaining about the commercialism of Christmas, but my personal pet peeves regarding Christmas shopping and shoppers. Just some things I observe every year, while trying to finish my Christmas shopping, that really get on my nerves.
5. Competitive Shoppers
We’ve already seen the video of a woman pepper-spraying other shoppers in her mad dash to get the Xbox for her kids. “It’s all part of Black Friday,” we tell ourselves, “but once the day’s over, we can get back to regular shopping for sane people.” WRONG! Black Friday just kicks off the waves of stupid in the stores. The whole month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is rife with crazy. I talked to a guy two days ago who’d been assaulted by a ten-year-old girl over a pink iPhone cover. He’d picked it off the rack for his wife as a stocking-stuffer, glad that they still had one (it was the last one) in her favorite color. Just as he was ready to put it in his cart, though, some kid came up and kicked him in the shins until he let go of the iPhone cover, then grabbed the thing and ran back to her mother. The guy expected the mother of this kid to scold her spawn, apologize for the kid’s despicable behavior, and return the item. Instead, the mother patted her little creature on the head in appreciation of a job well done.
These are the kinds of competitive shoppers I’m talking about. Those self-important jackasses who insist that they are so awesome because they managed to somehow get a thing that was almost out of stock (*gasp!*), or hard to find because it was in high demand. And they brag about the dirty, shameful things they did in order to get said item, as though it somehow makes them special. I have news for you people: it doesn’t. Having your kid attack someone over a cheap piece of Chinese plastic doesn’t make you special, it makes you an asshole. Seriously, people, let’s get it together and start acting like we have some idea what civilization is, could we please?
4. People Offended by “Happy Holidays”
You know the ones. When a retailer wishes them “Happy Holidays” on their way into or out of a store, these people always stop and correct them, emphasizing “Merry Christmas.” Look, crazy right-wing religious fanatics, when someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” Christmas is included. The retail clerk doesn’t know your religion. For all they know, you’re Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist. Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas, but you have friends who do and you just want to get them something for their special time of year. No one should ever be offended by “Happy Holidays.” It’s not an affront to your Christianity. If you’re Christian, “Happy Holidays” means “Merry Christmas,” and if you’re not, it means “I hope your holiday, whatever it is, is a good one that you enjoy thoroughly.” So stop being offended by it, you’re making an ass of yourself.
3. People Offended by “Merry Christmas”
The only people more annoying than those who are offended by “Happy Holidays” are those who get pissed when someone, in passing or whatever, wishes them a “Merry Christmas.” Hey, I’m an atheist, I get it. It’s fucking irritating when some religious fanatic decides to try and shove their religion down your throat or deny you citizenship if you don’t fit into their narrow view of the United States as a “Christian Nation.” But the fact is this; 80% of the country identifies themselves as Christian. It’s a pretty easy assumption, then, when people wish you a “Merry Christmas,” that they think they’re being nice. If you’re getting offended when someone tries to say something nice to you, just because it’s not your particular religious belief, you’re being a huge and horrible ass. And the reason it’s worse that group number 4 is that at least those people are in the majority. If you’re in a small minority that no one would know about without asking, you don’t get to be offended when someone assumes you’re part of the huge majority that looks just like you. Stop getting mad when someone’s trying to be nice (this goes for groups 3 and 4).
*This section does not apply if someone knows you’re not Christian and they insist on emphasizing “Merry Christmas,” just to press the issue. Those people are gigantic douche bags.*
2. Parking Lot Assholes
This is kind of a year-long gripe of mine, but it goes double for this time of year. For God’s sake, stop jockeying for a parking space twenty feet closer to the store. If you’re handicapped, there are handicapped spaces nice and close to the front. If you’re not handicapped, you don’t need a closer space. There is little else in this world more infuriating than someone who stops and waits for someone pulling out of a spot so they can take it and avoid having to walk an extra hundred feet to get to their shopping. Your legs aren’t broken. Park further away, get out and walk your happy ass into the store. By the time you get that spot a hundred feet closer, you could already be in the store. And what’s worse, I could already be in the store (or out of the parking lot) except that I had to stop and wait for your stupid ass to get out of the way. How lazy are you? The real killer (for me anyway) is that the person who does this is almost always some yuppie soccer mom who makes it a point to go the gym every day with a personal trainer and everything, but she’s to lazy to walk through a goddamn parking lot. Move it, lady. There are people here with working legs who need you to get out of the way.
Not mine, mind you. I love my kids. And I may not even hate your kids, depending on who they are. But if your kids are running around stores knocking things off the shelves, throwing a temper tantrum in the line to see Santa at the mall, or just generally acting up because you’re not controlling them, know that you and your kids are ruining Christmas for everyone. This year, some woman waiting to see the mall Santa told her seven-year-old to hold their spot in line while she went over to the iPhone kiosk to see what kinds of deals she could get. Or worse, our mall has a play area where parents can bring their kids to run around and climb on some foam-rubber mountains and wear themselves out. But based on the ratio of kids to adults in this play area, one would assume that each parent present had a minimum of seven kids, based on how the children outnumber the adults there.
So after they saw Santa, I took my kids over to play (I actually pay attention to my kids when the play there). Some eight-year-old little boy came running smack into me, and then had the gall to look at me and yell “MOVE!” Now, in any decenty run society, I should have had every right to knock the kid on his ass, and then pimp-slap each of his parents for allowing their offspring to act this way. But his parents were no where to be found, and I’m pretty sure mall security would have pepper-sprayed me or something had I just chucked the kid through the window of some store front.
The real problem, though, is that some people have come to the conclusion that the phrase “it takes a village” means that they can dump their kids off on the rest of the villagers while they go shopping. But they never thought to clear it with the villagers. I’m not your babysitter. If you’re assuming I’ll watch your kids for you, for free, without even asking me, don’t be too surprised when I trade them to some competitive shopper for an Xbox360, after I convince them that the real hottest gift this year is a living, breathing, parking space holder, who knows both the phrases “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas.”
That’s pretty much my list. Anything you care to add?