We managed to keep ourselves away from the stores on black Friday. Mostly because I tied Andy to a chair with duct tape and turned off our wireless. Despite the success in giving thanks for non-retail items on Thanksgiving Day itself, the allure of the sales, and the need for a place to park our butts in the living room, led us to go shopping that weekend.
Anyone who braves stores during this time of year knows that you must be armed and prepared. You must have a plan of attack. You should have already had several cups of coffee, bring bottled water, wear comfortable shoes, and figure out where to park so you can run in and not be cold because you left your bulky coat in the car. You should bring your shopping list and stick to your budget. Buy yourself something, just because. Oh, and bring your patience because the crazies are out.
Shopping for the holidays, especially at the big box stores, means wall-to-wall people. People who are tired, stressed, hungry, rushed, etc. It's a bit of an oxymoron because we're all out there, supposedly being thankful and buying crap to spread Christmas cheer, but it's pretty rare that parking a mile from the store, getting hit in the back of the legs with a shopping cart, or standing in line for 45 minutes makes anyone thankful, and the only spirit displayed is in the form of profanity. Why would anyone put themselves through this experience?
Here's my rationale. Love experts claim that doing something fun, that your spouse likes to do, will bring you closer together. Earlier this year, on a lovely summer weekend, Andy asked if I wanted to go to the mall. We settled on going for a hike and swim. (Remember, if mama aint happy, aint nobody happy.) I felt as though I owed Andy a solid, and therefore accompanied him shopping. It's about spending time together after all, and not the activity itself. And maybe, just maybe, I'd enjoy myself.
So much for fun couple bonding time! In addition to the crazies, everywhere we went there were annoying, bratty kids around! We had to buy a couch. These little gnomes were bouncing on the furniture, running around the place, shouting about the couches with the cup holders. I had to get outta there. Then, at Target. Oh Target, a parent and kid wonderland. I couldn't even wash my hands without this bitty brat yelling about how the loud dryer was hurting her ears. And why do they scream at the top of their lungs, insisting they push the cart? One almost stepped on my foot as she emerged from under a rack of bathrobes. And I may or may not have passed a little gas when some nosy muchkin, wandering a few steps behind me, outed me loudly, by saying her mom tells her to say excuse me when she toots.
Finally, we needed nourishment and had a romantic dinner at Five Guys. It was peanut shells and ketchup cups on the floor and loud requests for hotdogs to be cut in just the right way. "No, no Mommy! Cut it the long way!" Have you heard the sound of Five Guys metal chairs on the floor as kids adjust and readjust their positioning? Screeeeeeeeeeeech.
I had such a headache by the time we were done. I'm not sure if it was the dry air, the insane amount of perfume at Macy's, the recognition of how much money we dropped, or the fact that everywhere we went there were annoying children, seemingly up my arse at all times. I was on sensory overload. Too many lights. Too much noise. Where could I sign up for (low) sensory Saturday shopping? All of those people-especially those kids, were driving me bananas. My eye was twitching. I couldn't wait to get in the car and go home.
As we threw our bags in the car I let out a big sigh. We survived our outing. And, as I buckled up, I handed the bratty gnomes Ipads with headphones and I enjoyed a nice, quiet, ride home.