Holiday Shopping Zaniness

Yesterday afternoon I had the bright idea to go get some food so we are ready for all our holiday baking and cooking and general whipping-up of foodstuffs, and to pick up some stocking stuffers while I was out.  I could head to Dorset Street and get everything done in one shot since so many stores are so densely packed.  It would a quick and efficient trip.  Good idea.  Didn’t happen.

I crossed the Maginot line of Kennedy Drive and was soon battling traffic.  Cars were packed in every lane, both ways.  I was stuck.  Even if I could turn around, I would be inching along.  So I kept going.  I listened to a variety of odd holiday songs (Hanukkah in Santa Monica, Steven Colbert’s new holiday tribute) and laughed and jotted down some songs to download on i-Tunes.  Eventually I made it to the supermarket.

Of course, I had to navigate the parking lot (I parked far away so I wouldn’t have to jostle for a spot) then walk across the slush, then elbow through the other food shoppers, then wait in line to pay.  It was holiday zaniness at its best.  The young woman at the register told me it was actually kind of calm compared to earlier.  Like I said, zaniness.

Then I had the idea to go to the mall.  The ice cream would stay frozen in the car.  It was about six degrees.  Hopeully the spinach wouldn’t get too cold.  Normally I spurn the mall–too many people, too much commercialism, too much stuff no one needs in there.  So what was I thinking?  I knew what I was seeking so how hard could it be?

The mall, of course, was jammed.  It was, as always this time of year, overwhelming.  I made only two stops, the first a dud, the second a success.  At Vermont Toy and Hobby I found the two small toys I wanted.  OK, I was looking for three, but I thought it was a pretty good success rate anyway.  I had to wait in line, of course, and their credit card machines were down.  I paid with cash.  Overall, it wasn’t difficult, just mentally taxing.

Two stops to go.  I purchased a slew of stocking stuffers at Healthy Living, then went to Barnes and Noble.  I got a couple of books for the kids, ran into some friends, and hightailed it.  I had most certainly had enough.  Spending time at one of the busiest spots in the state was probably not the best idea.  I did manage to make some gift purchases, but whoa.  As I said a few years ago, never again.

I was gone for four hours.  Normally that would have meant about 40 minutes of driving out and back.  Most of my time was spent in traffic or in line.  Nuts.  But hey, now I can stay in and make the lasagna for which I purchased the fontina that was so hard to find.  I bet it tastes pretty dang yummy.

Dumb Question, Elvis

On the album playing now, the collection of Elvis Christmas tunes we only listen to this time of year, The King asks us this question:

Oh why can’t every day be like Christmas?  Why can’t this feeling go on endlessly?

I know this isn’t a serious question.  It is a question that most would say requires no thoughtful response.  I, however, feel that a response to the master of the swinging hips is in order.  Why can’t every day be like Christmas?  I’ll tell you.

If every day were like Christmas we would, at least in the good old USA, all be broke.  How could you have a Christmas savings club if you only had 24 hours, instead of 364 days, to save?

If every day were like Christmas, we would have massive credit card debts and even more, if it is possible, UPOs* filling up our garages and basements and closets.  Who needs another snow globe or bottle of aftershave?  Who needs another gift basket of high quality and delicious and useful Vermont products?  Don’t we have enough sweaters?

If every day were like Christmas, retailers wouldn’t have the bump in sales that comes from the end of the year spending blitz.  How would they survive if they had to depend on regular sales for their unsustainable continuous growth?  But, you might say, wouldn’t Christmas every day mean huge sales every day?  I am afraid not, as we would hit our credit limits, even those of us with FICO scores of 770.

This feeling can’t go on endlessly because then we would be so nice to each other that we would learn, as a collective population, to care too much.  We could not afford to make sure everyone had decent health care, or heat in the winter, or enough to eat.  That would be too expensive.  Then again, it might mean that all of us started to see paying taxes as our duty as citizens of a free democracy.  That, however, would mean that the Republican Party would go belly up.  Think of the job losses.

If this feeling were to go on endlessly, we would be happier, would we not?  Therapists would go out of business.  Big Pharma would lose millions in sales.  Then again, if we stopped spending so much on Prozac and Ambien, maybe we could spend more on junk to wrap up.  We could afford all those tasty and well-crafted Vermont products.  But that, however, would mean a lot of stress on Vermonters who would have a difficult time keeping up with the demand.  They would need things like Prozac and Ambien to make it through.

Can you see the problem here?

Sorry, Elvis.  It just can’t be.

*Unnecessary Plastic Objects