Monday, December 12, 2011

The Mall at Christmas, Part One...Revisited

When this blog was a wee baby, I'll make a $10,000 bet a la Mitt Romney, that most of my current readers missed last year's two-parter about the mall at Christmas.

Also, since I must occasionally leave the house and walk amongst my fellow man for material for the blog, I think I actually have to go out today and -- as much as I'd prefer not to -- get a few things done. 

So here are my holiday mall posts again....timeless and grimly festive, I hope you enjoy them:

I am going to the mall today.

I've put it off as long as possible but next week Charlie will be home for Christmas break and I won't want to leave his side to finish my holiday shopping. 

Instead, I will offer him hot chocolate with marshmallows every ten minutes, ruffle his hair nearly as often and bend down to smile directly into his face at unexpected intervals....this is standard behavior and cannot be interrupted by a trip to the mall.  

I hate the mall.

It's always terribly hot inside and today, it's simply too chilly to leave my jacket in the car since, at this time of year, the lot is packed and I may have to hitchhike to the entrance.

The first level has become an obstacle course, packed with holiday kiosks (Crocs, calendars, smoked sausage from Hickory Farms) and filled with salespeople hell-bent on grooming my eyebrows, rubbing cream made with salt from the Dead Sea into my skin or giving me a massage.To avoid confrontation in the past, all one had to do was walk by them briskly, avoiding all eye contact.

They're more determined now that it's Christmas and eye-contact or no, will approach with jars and bottles at the ready.

If you refuse, they shout after you, calling you filthy names and accusing you of having crepey skin or a chicken neck. Okay, that only happened once but it really scarred me.

Then there are "the men" in the department stores. They have apparently never shopped or handled money before in their lives and, quite possibly, only recently emerged from some type of larvae in which genetically enriched mucus has been transformed into a small army of male shoppers who haven't a clue--about anything.

Emerging, in December, from the chrysalis in which they've developed, they find their way to the mall where they stumble about, blocking your way, looking helpless, whimpering softly and asking women they've never met for help. Holding up a bright red blouse, one will say something like, "My wife's favorite color is blue, will she like this?"

Or, how about that woman ahead of you on line?

She's got an immense armload of stuff and has offered to let you go before her but, for some inexplicable reason, you laugh and say, "Oh, no thanks--I'm fine!"

You've both been waiting for quite a while and have been making pleasant conversation but when it's finally time to put her purchases on the counter, her head spins 360 degrees and, vomiting pea soup, she whips out a huge wad of store coupons held together by a rubber band.

She and the cashier then proceed to painstakingly match each one to the correct item, debate about whether they can be combined and summon a manager to referee the conflict as you feel your arches slowly falling and your hopes for ever leaving the store, fading.

There are the hordes of giggling teens by the escalators. College freshmen home for their first Christmas break, wearing Uggs and bright new sweatshirts from their new schools, they are popping in and out of J. Crew in a steady stream. They are to be avoided at all cost...even if that means lowering oneself from level two to level one with mountain climbing equipment.

If you're tired and need to sit a moment, forget it. All available public seating is taken by men who are waiting for wives who are either in Sephora or Victoria's Secret. These men are either obviously impatient--tapping a toe and fidgeting, or appear dead.

The food court is too crowded if you want a snack, the bathrooms are too far away if you need to go and there's a gigantic close-up photo of a set of abs in the window of Abercrombie that has attracted a noisy crowd.

I ate a healthy breakfast, limited my coffee intake, have dressed in layers and set the DVR to record two hours of Cash Cab.  I'll let you know how it all went tomorrow.


  1. Good observations. I know all about those clueless men. I just don't make eye contact with them. And the kids in Uggs!! Funny post.

  2. I might be one of those helpless males you talk about. Not sure though. Can you help me?

  3. I enjoyed your blog. The men in the stores is so true.

  4. Thank, Caroline. I don't make eye contact with them either except if they're my husband. Then I run.

  5. No, Barber Sal, I cannot. But I do thank you for reading today.

  6. Anna, it seems that women really identify with this issue! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Cash Cab...I miss the illusion of surprised non-planned pickps...

    I try to avoid the mall at Christmas.


  8. OMG- Genetically enriched mucus -LOL.

  9. I miss that illusion, that I hear rumors of how it's really done, Scott. Very disillusioning.

  10. Of course, Birthday Girl, how else would they develop in their pods?