It pains me to go to the mall in December – today, I am in agony.
It had to be done. I have children who will not get presents this year because of my procrastination. So I mustered up what little patience I had and I forged toward shopping hell.
It started in the parking deck. A weekend day the week before Christmas and not one parking place was open. The Ford Expeditions crammed into the compact car spaces like clowns in a circus car; Chevrolets circling like vultures.
I spotted my prey. Two older ladies, bags in hand, headed toward their car. I turned my blinker on and positioned the Acura as to block anyone who might remotely consider jumping ahead of me. The traffic behind me backing up – the horn blowing began.
And the two ladies, who clearly saw me waiting, what did they do? I believe they styled each others hair and wrote a thesis paper. HOW LONG CAN IT TAKE TO THROW THREE BAGS IN A CAR AND BACK OUT OF A PARKING PLACE? It is a simple task. I do it often. I do it with three children. I’ve done it with kids in three car seats and faster than the snail girls.
I had to pop a Xanax before I entered the food court.
I headed straight for the Kids’ Gap and quickly collected my booty. I know what I want – don’t need to browse.
I then got in the line to check out. I was customer number eight. There were two registers open. Because everything in the store was 40% off, each customer had 27 or more items.
Unfortunately, each Gap employee had foregone their flu shot and instead received a vaccination that combats efficiency. As the 27 items were placed on the counter, they slowly removed them for each hanger and began to fold them, individually and with care. They then scanned the items with the vigor of Rumpelstiltskin and struck up nice conversations with each person they encountered.
“Oh, I love this dress. I bought it for my daughter too.” Areyou going to start discussing Water for Elephants? This is not a book club! Stop talking and move!
Near the end of her transaction, customer 4 remembered to ask the clerk if they had any more black boots. There was a walkie-talkie conversation, followed by a three-day waiting period. Finally a young gentleman, who should have been working at the auto parts store, emerged to share the sad news that they were out of size 2 1/2. “She could probably wear a 3.”
If you don’t get your butt out of my way I’m going to choke you with a ruffled cardigan.
The clerk at the other registered encouraged customer 6 to open a charge account. She said she would get 10% off today, special online offers, early admittance to sales and a partridge in a pair tree. The staff must get a $6,000 bonus if they open a charge card – she was selling it hard. I think she would have done a pole dance in the dressing room if I’d have opened one.
I’ll pay the 10% if you will NOT open the account. I am going to have an aneurism.
I finally got through the gauntlet and was headed out of the store when my bag set of an alarm that could evacuate a seven mile radius around the Sharon Harris Nuclear Plant. And customer 4 was looking at me like “I’m not surprised Mr. Speedy. You just slipped some extra stuff in there didn’t cha?”
I went back to the register where they called my auto parts buddy. He dug through my bags, frisked me and the kids and did a quick cavity search. I probably forgot to remove one of those beepers they put in one of my kids’ pants, the sewn in kind – happens all the time with us. We walk through the mall, and it’s like an alarm handbell choir.
Good lord I’m tired. At least Michelle just wants a box for Christmas. I think I can handle that.