November 19, 2012

6 Ways To Avoid Becoming A Pretentious Jerk While Holiday Shopping

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What is the issue?

As the colder months are upon us, there are two inevitabilities that every socialite must encounter; gratuitous feasts that leave you paralyzed for the rest of the day, and shopping. I used to love this time of year, until I become employed in that timeless position of retail peon. Now I hate the third Thursday of every November through the last day of December. Hate is a strong word some might argue, and you’re right, I can do better. I abhor, loathe, detest the holiday season. I dread watching the hordes of families, teenagers, and elderly citizens so old they might as well have a foot in the grave approach my store, all ready to rifle through the merchandise and somehow leave it on the opposite side of the room, ask inane questions, and have the audacity of voicing their thoughts on how slow the line is moving without taking into consideration the time of year, or that we sell goddamn Apple products and that everyone and their mother wants one. So here are a few tips to make you a more conscious consumer, as well as make my life a little more bearable.

  1. Driving to the Mall/ Store. Be a defensive driver — I’m not out to be your mom and wag my finger — but it seems as if excessive speeding and shitty parking sets the tone for the rest of your retail experience.
  2. Food Court Etiquette. If you’re one of the serial “tasters” that moseys along each Cajun/Chinese/BBQ hybrid stand to sample their indistinguishable chicken and tries to see how many toothpicks you can leave strewn behind, there’s a special ring in hell devoted to you.
  3. If you visit a store where you can change/influence the music, please make it something tasteful. Granted it does provide relief after hearing “Jingle Bell Rock” for the umpteenth time, but if I walk through Nordstrom and a sixteen year old jumps on the piano and starts playing Taylor Swift instead of Chopsticks, said child may be going home with a new tattoo eerily bearing the resemblance of piano keys.
  4. Know what you want when you come in the store. Every major retailer has a website with their product listed, where it was made, the amount of puppies killed to make it, etc. If you know what you want, I can get you in and out and move onto the next person who can’t make up her mind over whether she wants her iPhone case in hot magenta or fuchsia.
  5. Do not complain about how long you’ve been there or how long the line is. Is it the store’s fault that you somehow came to the conclusion that by shopping on a Saturday afternoon you would bypass the crowds and be in and out within an hour? I hope that massive Cinnabon that you’ve now conveniently stored in your thighs can tide you over until you get to the Taco Bell drive through.
  6. Be nice to the drudge who’s waiting to ring you out. A majority of us are decent people, and while we’re trying to make the process as seamless and painless as possible, all the same we’re only human. If you start to cop a ‘tude, chances are that mean mug is going to get turned right back at you.

Have fun. It’s the holidays, and regardless of your religion, race, nationality or creed, you’ve worked hard all year to enjoy this little bit of time off with your family and loved ones. Let’s not ruin it by being a god damn Scrooge because JCrew is out of the cashmere v-neck sweater in limited edition Comme de Garçon styling, which, when you called half an hour ago, were told that it was available and now the nearest store that has it is in Raleigh and they won’t put it on hold for you. Happy Holidays! TC Mark

image – Shutterstock

Stefan Kalczynski

Casual observer of life, a twentysomething somehow existing below the Mason-Dixie. I sweat the small stuff.

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