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December 2000


The Soap Box

by TarQness

Shoppers Beware!

December! Time for <dramatic incidental music here> holiday shopping! What's wrong? Aren't you excited about it? All right, you got me. I don't know who I am trying to kid. I loathe this time of the year precisely because of the shopping and everything involved in it.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace, love, consideration for your fellow human (and their little dogs too). However, it's at this time of the year that people begin to behave in the exact opposite manner. In fact, during no other time of the year do I see the despicable behavior that people seem to feel they must exhibit during the holidays.

It's a fact that more people are out on the road this time of the year, headed for the mall. That means that the roads are far more crowded, which tends to make traffic go a bit slower. The increase in street population also brings with it more people who have no business behind the wheel of an automobile. Last month, I covered driving habits that are likely to get someone killed, so I don't think I need to go over it again. The only thing I can say is to watch out for those people. They are everywhere, always disguised as people who can drive. When you least expect it, the mask comes off and they are revealed for the inept motorists they are. So stay on guard at all times.

Now, another place where people behave very poorly at this time of year is in the mall. Buildings that cover several city blocks, filled with tiny little shops that have tons of crap in them that people buy for reasons I haven't been able to determine. During the holiday season, they are also filled to capacity with people. All kinds of people. It's been said that if you put enough rats in a cage together, they will begin to commit atrocities on each other that would make even Hannibal Lecter shudder. The same could be said for people in shopping malls. You put enough people in these cages and you see little old ladies swearing like sailors if you accidentally bump into them, soccer moms who'll cut your throat if you get in between them and the Sony Playstation their kid wants and a myriad of other colorful characters.

This is indeed a time of grave danger. But I have some suggestions for avoiding these outbursts. They are just little things, but at a time like this, they can make a world of difference.

First, if you are one of those people who tends to walk slowly, try to do so on the edge of mall traffic. Not smack-dab in the middle. There is very little that is more frustrating than trying to walk around someone in a crowded mall that walks only half as fast as you do. It's one of those little instances at the mall that makes me feel a little bit homicidal and I have a fairly long fuse.

Next, if someone gets in your way, don't bump them out of the way like you're blocking in a football game. This just isn't necessary and it could get you assaulted if you do it to the wrong person. Saying "excuse me" is usually sufficient. You'd be amazed at how effective that phrase can be.

Now, out in the parking lot, one should abide by the basic rules of the road. But there is one thing that several people do out there that makes me very
very angry. First, I don't care how crowded the parking lot is, this just isn't acceptable behavior to me at all. Many times have I had someone see me exit the mall with my arms weighted down with shopping bags and they follow right behind me in their cars until I reach my car. Already this has caused me some alarm. I always see several empty spots at the end of the row during these times (yes, I do check) so it isn't like my spot is the only one they could possibly park at. The deal is that they can't be bothered to park in the spot that's further away and walk a few more feet. They are that lazy. I see it all of the freaking time. So, I am trying to get my bags into the trunk of my car as quickly as I can without breaking or messing up anything that I have purchased and they edge right up to me, as if I didn't already notice that they were stalking me for my spot. This causes me to act more slowly and deliberately in the hope that they will grow impatient and go away, but no. They continue to sit there and stare at me expectantly. So I get into my car.

Now, what I am about to relay happened to me once during the summer of all times... I am sitting in my car and it's hot outside. At the time, my car had no air conditioning. So, I had the audacity to take a drink from a cold beverage before I started my car as some woman was staking out my spot as her own. She honked her horn at me impatiently. Not once, but twice. This made me so angry that I stuck my head out of the car and waved at her and smiled. Then I sat there. She finally gave up and moved on. Now, I don't think I would be so cocky about it at this time of the year when the parking lots actually are crowded, but I am trying to make a point here. If anyone reading this engages in this sort of parking lot stalking, please knock it off. You are only adding to the problem.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, to cut down on rude, obnoxious and even violent behavior from other people this time of the year, just exercise some simple common courtesy. If you are doing something that your mom would have yelled at your for, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!