holiday shopping

Today I decided that I could no longer procrastinate; I had to start my holiday shopping. I started at PetSmart, because yes, the puppies get presents. I was pleased at how calm the store environment was, despite predicted holiday craziness. My only obstacle was Santa trying to get me to pose for a picture with him. Sorry St. Nick – that’s not my style.

Next I went to Marshall’s where I found a few things. The downside of this stop? It was mayhem in the store. Insanity. Chaos. Martial law.

I managed to hold it together as I waited in the line that was easily 30 people deep. The woman who got into line behind me was about 65 years old. She had her little white dog in the shopping cart who I came to know as Winston.

Obviously I’m a dog person. Obviously. But I’m a stickler when it comes to bringing your dog into inappropriate places. Largely because people with small dogs get away with this while large dog owners don’t have a prayer. Well this woman seemed to think it was totally fine to A) talk to herself loudly amid crowds of shoppers, and B) tote Winston into the store with her.

Store Manager: Ma’am, is that a service dog?
Wiston’s Mom: Well, no, I mean he does serve me.
Store Manager: I need you to take him outside. We sell food in this store, only serice animals are allowed. Go put him in your car.
Winston’s Mom: But…I only need to return something. Just one thing it’s too big I bought it last night.
Store Manager: Yes well you need to take him outside immediately.
Winston’s Mom: What? No. I don’t understand I just need to return something. Winston will get anxious in the car.

*She leaves to put the dog in the car, only after asking everyone else to note her place in line. After she returns she waits in line still talking to herself about the atrocity she just fell victim to. After a few minutes, the entire line is equally annoyed with this lady. Then, the icing on the cake appears as Winston’s Mom starts walking along the line of people waiting to pay, waving her receipt, and begins this diatribe:

Winston’s Mom: Hello? I’m sorry, my dog Winston is in the car and he’s very anxious, he could get stolen. I don’t know why they’re forcing me to wait here I JUST HAVE TO RETURN ONE THING. Is it alright if I cut in front?

Note – no one says yes, yet she pushes her way to the front of the line to complete her transaction. The moment that made it all worthwhile was when a fellow shopper turned to her and said, “you know, my kids are in the car and you don’t hear me having a fit.”

At this point I’m cranky. I finish waiting to pay then leave the store. I head to the PGA Tour Shop in Scottsdale to look for things for the aspiring golfer in the household.

My experience at the PGA store was as positive as the Marshall’s experience was negative. I met Leonard, a store associate who was easily in his late seventies. He was charming, patient and dedicated to my cause.

Overall – a good day, it’s just hard to believe how this season affects people. I worked retail for many years and have been on both sides of the hubbub. For me, the hardest part of the holidays is not hitting pedestrians in parking lots or going mad from Christmas carols. For now I’ll I try to drone them out by humming ‘Dreidel, Dreidel.’

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