Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday 13: It's That Crazy Time of the Year Again

Hello there.  In case you're wondering what happened to the usual blended smooth goodness of my Rubik's Cube and writing posts, don't worry, I'll still post those on the 1st and the 15th of each month.  Read more about the changes here: Thursday Thirteen.

Now, back to today's post already in progress:

Do you enjoy padded rooms?  Then by all means, go to the malls during the holidays.

For me, this seasonal ritual of holiday shopping can only be compared to medieval torture.  Okay, you won't find water-boarding, thumb screws, or The Rack, but you must be a little crazy to visit the mall during the holidays.

Here are 13 reasons why:

1. Thermostats:  Yes, winter in the Midwest can be cold.  And I, like most other shoppers, own a heavy, winter coat.  But adjusting the mall temperature to resemble late August in Florida is simply not necessary.  If I enjoyed being this hot and sweaty I would run the Chicago Marathon.  But, I refuse to wear skimpy running shorts to the mall beneath a long, down jacket.  Not a pretty picture.

2. Parking Lots:  I could easily have a whole list dedicated to this one, but I'll try to be concise.  For most mall shoppers the only potential exercise they get during the holiday season is the walk from the parking lot.  Yet, for some reason they fight like heck to avoid it at all costs.  

If they are not illegally parked in handicap spots, their huge SUVs will awkwardly block the aisles in a cloud of exhaust waiting with their turn signals on.  It's heartbreaking to watch the elderly couple trying to hurry loading their trucks with merchandise.  One blast from that horn could end it all.  If only you could get around this gridlock you would gladly park in the satellite parking lots.  

I do give honorable mention to those drivers who simply lose that spatial relations part of their brains the minute it snows and the parking lot lines become slightly obscured.  Sorry, I do not want the winch bumper of your Land Rover resting against my driver side mirror.

3. Check Out Lines:  There are no velvet ropes during the holidays and your name is not on a bouncer's clipboard giving you VIP access to the front of the line.  Instead you see the same sagging holding corrals used by our frisky friends at the TSA.  Paint these retractable fabric barriers yellow and you've got police crime scene tape.  Do we really need more trauma in our lives?

4. The Music:  I have this recurring dream I wake up in Hell due to a clerical error – the whole life-after-death-bureaucracy needs a complete overhaul – and I must spend eternity riding an elevator that only plays piano instrumentals of Tool songs.  Leave it to our malls to make my dreams come true!  The Christmas music is more overplayed than Lady Gaga and LMFAO.

5. The Express Lanes:  Ha, trick one here!  There are no express check out lanes – refer to item #3.  Oh, you only have one item to purchase?  You're next, after the person returning an armful of items and paying for new items with rolled coins.

6. Gravity:  Those plastic department store bags filled with skinny denim can really dig painfully into your palms.  Fashion is painful.

7. Smoking:  I confess, I'm not a smoker, but if there's ever a reason to take up the habit, shopping at the mall during the holidays is as good as any.  Anyway, here in Chicago, it's not enough to have to endure the blistery tundra for the majority of the year.  No, we force our fellow brethren to smoke outside!  Those poor souls hug themselves while frantically trying to puff their way back into the craziness inside to escape the incessant clanging of the donation bells stationed at the entrance.

It's like the Grand Inquisitor asking them if they prefer to be impaled or disemboweled.

8. Olfactory Overload:  For some sick reason the stores have convinced us – men usually  to think scented candles, lotions, and soaps are the perfect holiday gifts.  They are not.  And walking into these stores jolts you with a taser shot to your olfactory nerve.

9. Food Court:  You're trapped.  Enough said.

10. Obnoxious Parents:  The holidays are a time for giving and to set an example for their children.  Or in the case of these parents, 'tis the season to demonstrate epic acts of rudeness and selfishness in front of their kids.

And the same parents who lecture their kids to clean their rooms will devastate the clearance bins until they are overflowing and scattered on the floor.

11. Pressure:  You convince yourself that an elusive gift for that impossible-to-shop-for person in your life actually exists.  Not only that, but it must exist, and it must exist at this particular mall, and you will only know it when you see it.

12. Children Playing:  The malls usually have a designated mosh pit for children to play in.  I really have nothing to say about this, it simply adds to the circus atmosphere.  So have fun kids.

13. Time Suck:  You are at the mall when you should be writing!

If you must bring me a gift for the holidays, please take a cue from Harry Houdini and make sure the sleeves have buckles at the ends.  Thank you for visiting, the guard will see you out.

Thanks to jtposey and ninjatactics on Flickr for the great pictures.


  1. Too funny, Jason. I can especially relate to #8 (downtown Macy's anyone?), and #11. It's so true that you get to a point when you HAVE to find a certain present EXACTLY where you are.

  2. Hilarious! And I'm with you, 100%. I don't even like to go grocery shopping during the busy time on a Tuesday, those old timers wield their carts like weapons.

    I love this Thursday Thirteen habit you've picked up. I'm going to steal it, so thankyouverymuch!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Can you tell I prefer online shopping? ;-) Thanks for the comments!

    Stephanie, #8 can also make your significant other suspicious as the cloud follows you home and is infused into your entire being.

    Lori, I'm crowd averse too. And yes, please do Thursday Thirteen on your blog, I'd like to read more of your twisted song lyrics. :-)

  4. I also steer clear of the mall as much as possible, especially in Chitown, Jason. Hurray for the online shopping virtual storefronts! :)