The Christmas (shopping) Spirit!

I’ve always been under the impression that Christmas, regardless of your religious affiliation, was a time of giving and goodwill toward your fellow man. Whereas Christmas might bring out the best in people, Christmas shopping certainly must bring out the worst.

In an attempt to get past some of the incidents of this Christmas shopping season and get back into the holiday spirit, here is a list of people who will be getting coal in their stocking this year.

Diagonal parking lot crosser:
One thing that has always bothered me is people who tear across a parking lot diagonally, without regard for those who travel properly within the lanes. Normally it’s not a big deal, but a couple of weeks ago, I made the mistake of pulling into a space at the end of a row (leaving a couple of empty spots like I always do). Apparently Ms. Diagnonal Crosser wasn’t happy that I’d blocked her way and proceeded to berate me from the safety of her car with the windows up. She appeared to be asking her male passenger to escalate the situation, but he declined.

Intersection blocker:
Sometimes we’re not paying attention and find that due to traffic we don’t have room to exit the intersection we’ve just entered. An unfortunate but honest mistake. Less forgivable are the folks who, seeing that the car in front of them has been trapped in the intersection, enter as the light turns yellow. After watching this happen for three lights in a row near the mall two weekends ago, I gave a short honk to the folks stopped in front of me preventing my turn. I was wrong though – they indicated to me (in various ways) that they were in fact victims, not perpetrators of this offense. My mistake.

Checkout line sore loser:
After waiting for several minutes behind a shopper dumbfounded by the self-scan machines at Walmart, Dusty noticed the next lane over was about to be vacated. I carried Evan to the line while Dusty wheeled our mostly empty cart behind me. This did please another customer (unseen by us) who rounded the corner as Dusty was pulling into position. She immediately entered verbal attack mode and proceeded begrudgingly to the line we had vacated. In fact, the lane she entered opened up before ours, but that didn’t stop her harassment as we left the store. Perhaps the most disappointing facet was the lesson she was teaching her kids.

Parking space squatter:
In a great mood from our encounter with the sore loser above, we headed out to the parking lot. Dusty loaded Evan into the car while I put our packaged in the back. Behind our car was an SUV driven by an able-bodied man, followed by several cars, blocking our exit. The cars behind him were honking as he waited for a family to reach their van, load up, and leave an empty spot for him. I stood at the back of the car with arms crossed and waited for a couple of minutes until he claimed his prize.

Slick road honker:
Last week the roads were a bit slick, and the snow plow crews really dropped the ball. We were out shopping and spent quite a bit of time standing still in traffic near the mall. When the drivers actually left the intersections passable, some cars had problems getting enough traction to get moving into the intersection, since the snow and slush tended to pile up there. The correct thing for drivers behind to do might have been to get out and help push the car to get it moving, or at least leave a little room for the troubled drivers to back up for a running start. One notable offender was a young couple in an old VW camper van. Not only were they honking at a front-wheel drive Chevy in front of them, but they also pulled right up less than a foot behind every time the car made progress. Eventually I, waiting to turn into that traffic (for 10 minutes), honked at the van and motioned for them to stop and leave the car a little room. They got the idea…

Cart flip watcher:
Yesterday I took Evan out and we picked up a few gifts. The parking lots were mostly clear but had snow, slush and hard packed ice in spots. When we were done, I put Evan in the truck and jogged with the cart the 40ft to the cart corral (which no one apparently uses when temperatures are under 40, but that’s another story…) I hit an unexpected patch of semi-soft snow into which the wheels of the shopping cart stuck. The cart came to an abrupt stop, but I didn’t. Some quick reactions and more than a little luck helped me vault over the cart and land on my feet. A girl 50ft away saw my trick and began laughing. Her family was kind enough to wait for me to stand up and say “Tada!” before joining in. Not a big deal, but making sure I was OK first might have been nice.

Ok, that’s all. Thankfully, there have been a number of nice people I’ve encountered, and I will say that Evan’s doing his part to spread Christmas cheer. Very few people can resist smiling when he runs up to them and says “hi!!!” We also made it through a couple of hours tonight without incident, which surprised me. All the same, I think I’ll be doing more Christmas shopping on next year…

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1 Comment

  1. I would pay a couple of bucks to see that cart flip trick on video… 🙂

    Like you, most of the above driving behavior aggravates me to no end…diagonal lane crossing and parking space squatting ranking at the top. But, you *did* forget one of the most notorious offenses…the three cars waiting in a turn lane that always turn left AFTER the arrow turns red, as if their action is justified because of having to wait in line beforehand…and then that backs up everybody else in the other lanes.

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