Surviving The Mall During The Holidays

Malls are a nightmare during the holidays. They are flooded with people in unzipped winter jackets who travel around at various speeds and have no regard for anyone, or anything. These people are on a mission. A mission to spend money because it’s Christmas and they won’t let you, or your extra wide stroller, stop them.

Have you ever been to a mall early in the morning? I’m talking about before it opens. When it’s empty and all you hear is the squeak from the shoes of elderly individuals who get their morning workout in by (briskly) walking the outer edges of the mall, as they pump their arms in unison with their speed walking buddy.

It’s so peaceful. It’s like a library – minus the books and the people whispering at one table about the loud people at the next table.

During the month of December, especially on weekends, malls turn into a free-for-all. Everyone forgets how to walk. Have you noticed this?

It’s like that game you play in kindergarten with the parachute. Everyone lifts the parachute into the air and the teacher yells out three colours. And if you have one of those colours, you have to let go of the parachute and run underneath to the other side before you’re trapped forever.

Just a bunch of kids running in different directions and meeting in the middle.

That’s what malls are like during this time of year. Everyone walks at you. No one wants to walk around you. It’s as if they think walking in a mall is a sobriety test, where they must walk in a straight line.

Alright, now recite the alphabet backwards.

If neither of you move, it’s a head-on collision. At best, you get side-swiped on the arm.

Then both of you keep walking and turn back only to get the license plate and curse them out with your eyes. All the while, you’re not watching where you’re walking and another collision is fast approaching.

I was at a mall today and a lady got run over by a stroller – one of those two-person strollers. Double whammy. The airbags didn’t deploy. Forget grandma getting run over by a reindeer – that’s a minor fender bender. Getting blindsided by a double stroller? That’s just vicious.

Was it an avoidable collision? Probably. It’s just too bad strollers don’t have rear-view mirrors and people don’t have common sense to look before they whip a stroller around in the opposite direction.

Oh well.

Everyone is in such a hurry – even if they walk slowly – and I always thought it was because they had so much to do. So many stores to go to. No. That’s not it at all. Everyone just wants to get the heck out of there. That’s why they’re moving so fast to get things done. Because who wants to walk among a mob of people carrying bags all day? Exactly.

It’s like a Walking Dead holiday episode.

Just think of the children! Oh wait, they do. That’s why Santa Claus is there. To distract all of the children from the hustle and bustle, a bearded man with candy asks children what they want for Christmas.

It’s a brilliant distraction tradition.

The food court is a safe haven, though. It’s like the “Free Parking” space on the Monopoly board. Oh wait, it’s not. For the first time since high school, everyone and their grandmother is in a mad scramble to find an empty table.

And not just any empty table, but a clean one. Or at least one with a few crumbs and a piece of lettuce that can be wiped away.

But man, once you find an empty table, you hold on to it for dear life. That’s where the “sit ‘n split” strategy comes into effect. You and the person/people you are with decide who will watch the table, while the other person gets the food.

Hence, the “sit ‘n split”.

Then when you get food, you have to deal with more lines. And no matter which line you join, you’re going to be last in line. That’s how lines work.

So then you’re patience is tested some more.

My blood is boiling just writing this.

But the shopping experience isn’t all terrible. There are couches (strategically?) placed throughout the mall. Soft couches.

This is where the “sink ‘n split” strategy comes into action.

Come across a store that you don’t want to go in, but the person/people you’re with do? You sink into a couch, while the other person/people go in the store. Hence, the split. Hence, the “sink ‘n split”. You’re welcome.

But Paul, isn’t the “sit ‘n split” basically the same thing as the “sink ‘n split”?

Quiet! No questions!

Throughout all the chaos, our intentions are good. Ideally, we are buying things for people we love. Things they better like. Though if they don’t like an item, you’ll know the second the fake smiles and half-hearted thank you’s are thrown your way.

When I’m buying presents for my family, my gut reaction makes most of the decisions. Sure, there are things I plan to buy. But I’m talking about the unplanned items.

The moment I see an item, it’s either an immediate “yes”, or an immediate “no.” I just instantly know. If I have to stand there for five minutes wondering if someone will like the item I’m staring at, then the answer is definitely a “no”.

Not only do quick decisions save time, but they also make the trip to the food court come sooner.

As for the people working in retail, they probably deserve $100/hour during this time. I can only imagine the customers they have to deal with before they can retreat to a back room to scream, yell, and sob in a corner.

I’m not going to tell you to be nice to them. That should be obvious. You shouldn’t need a reminder to be nice. Being nice to people at their workplace during all times of the year should be obvious, no?

When the final day to bodycheck strangers in public and get away with it shop comes to a close, and Christmas day arrives, we can all relax, simmer down, and fill our stomachs with too much food, as we appreciate everyone and everything in our lives.

…until Boxing Day.

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About Paul

This is the part where I'm supposed to write something interesting about myself and you'll read it and think, "That's not that interesting." So let's not do that and just think about pizza instead, on the count of three. One, two, three. Donuts. Now, wasn't that interesting?
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41 Responses to Surviving The Mall During The Holidays

  1. rebbit7 says:

    Oh boy…what can I say? Utter madness (savage, even!). That’s why I prefer making homemade gifts for my loved ones, as they’re more likely not to get thrown away or halfheartedly appreciated.

    …and “sink n’ split,” ftw! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Little Rants says:

    I’m glad that the malls in India never open as early.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jess says:

    You shop like a man! This is why I enjoy online shopping. Getting things done in the comfort of my own home. That, and I hate people.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barb Knowles says:

    HYSTERICAL! I hate malls more than ………almost anything I can think of. Not counting the category that would include wars. Your description was SO ON THE MONEY. Best line? “walking in a mall is a sobriety test.” People are so angry getting presents for people they love. And you left out the parking lot. Road Rage Central. Great post, Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “The airbags didn’t deploy.” It’s like a Walking Dead holiday episode.” and “Sit and split.” Great lines all. Paul. You were on a roll here, really capturing the spirit of the holiday Christmas shopping season. It sort of makes me wish I was back at the food court in the mall, waiting for the Christmas music to stop—so we could all engage in the game of; Mad Dash Christmas Musical Chair’s. It’s all coming back to me now, even as I lay here in a body cast at the hospital, after having being brought here on a stretcher from the food court. Ah… Christmas shopping memories, nothing like the spirit of the season to get you in the mood! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’m just picturing musical chairs in a food court and how incredible it would be. A food fight would probably start up too. Everyone’s favourite childhood games rolled into one! Speedy recovery, Paul! I’ll save a spot at the food court.

      Like

  6. I’m sorry for being one of those people. Just kidding – I do all my shopping online now, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. And my gut hurts from laughing from this post – brilliant! And the parachute!!!! We played that in my time, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Am I Thirty? says:

    I can’t deal with going to the mall this time of year. I don’t know what I’d do without Amazon prime.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tmsqtrading says:

    I’ll shop early and stick to what’s easy to procure… it’s a super busy month, December…

    Like

  10. madlittleviking says:

    I love sitting by the second story railing and watch. Occasionally I yell there’s a sale somewhere and see the madness. I have soon much fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lomax+Wood says:

    Exactly. Malls are going to madness. In UK where there are rush like sandstone in desert. The fact is to enjoy all holidays because time will not stay with you what ever you need..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. LosiLosLoco says:

    That’s why I hardly shop now. Seriously. And if I give you a gift, most of the time, it’s my personal time with you. Besides, malls have always been weird places. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jay says:

    Happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

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