Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fear of Shopping

These days I do a lot of shopping online. Shipping is usually free and often no sales tax is charged, so I prefer to sit here with my Drambuie on the rocks and just click on what I want. A few days later, a nice delivery man brings it to my door...what could be simpler. I use PayPal so I don't have to reveal my credit card numbers to every store I buy from. Yes, people warn me about the dangers of shopping online, but I'll risk identity theft any day rather than go into a store around Christmas. Pushy crowds, clueless store "associates" and long cashier lines take the joy out of shopping.

When the stores open at the start of the day, all the merchandise is stacked neatly. An hour into the shopping day, it looks like a tornado blew through. I watch people pick up items that are not the size they are looking for and just toss them aside. Jerks open sealed boxes to see what's inside and then jam the contents back in sideways when they decide they don't want them. Then we have the lovely "professional returners who buy an article of clothing, wear it once, and bring it back for a refund. And let's not forget the lowlifes who will intentionally inflict some minor damage on an item and then try to get the department manager to reduce the price because its "damaged".

Shall I continue? How about security tags that take a team of demolition experts to try to remove at the register. Or the dreaded "price check" when some gum popping kid retreats into the bowels of the store trying to find out the cost of the shirt you want to buy, the only one by the way of the dozens on the shelf that did not have a price tag. While you wait, this kid, who has the attention span of a moth, forgets her errand and goes to lunch. And no visit by me to a retail store would be complete without the register tape running out and having to be replaced. The bewildered cashier looks at the empty spool as if she was being asked to defuse a nuclear bomb instead of putting in a new roll of paper. Off she goes to find "Donny" who apparently is the only one in the store capable of jiggling the thingy.

Speaking of returns, let's not forget the joy of having to bring back a purchase. When I buy online from reputable stores, a merchandise return is relatively hassle free. The store sends me a return bag or box, usually postage-paid, and I drop it in the mail...done. Compare that with a store return. There is usually a long line and not enough help. People have the gall to return stuff that looks like it was dragged behind a bus from California to New York. They get all huffy when the store clerk has the audacity to question the debris in the box that they claim was "like that when I brought it home." Yeah, right.

Then there is the sole, overly friendly associate at the returns desk who decides to chat up every old lady in line who, having nothing better to do, is more than happy to spend ten minutes describing her latest medications to Miss Congeniality. "My, Mrs. Crabtree, I swear I don't know how you remember to take all them pills." "Well honey, my Elmer got me one of those little pill boxes with the days marked on the outside, and that makes it ever so easy." Meanwhile you're standing there in your coat, hat and scarf, drops of sweat running down your back and thinking: "I'd like to take every pill in those bottles and shove then down your gullet you thoughtless old hag."

So you see, I really don't do well with store shopping. Scroll, click, delivered and done. Looks like I'm running low on Drambuie.


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