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Go with a pro when shopping

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

There are only a few more days until Christmas and as my final chore in my transformation into Mr. Christmas I decided to help my wife with the buying of Christmas gifts.

In a normal year as "Scrooge," I would just make a list and tell my wife what to get my friends and family, but this year was going to be different. I was going to actually help in the purchasing of the items.

Now this posed a slight problem for me. My idea of "shopping" is sitting in front of the computer and finding items to order online. I find it convenient and anything you can do to avoid the crowds and traffic is a plus. And really, where are you going to find that cat potty training kit your wife wants or that funny looking mistletoe that you can suction cup to your head?

The only problem with this form of "shopping" is the chance the gifts you order may not be here for Christmas. That is why my wife will be getting a lot of boxes with photos of her gifts in them, because it is looking like the junk I ordered for her isn't going to make it in time.

But being Mr. Christmas, I decided to hit the stores with my wife on Saturday of all days. So I got the shoulder pads and helmet out of the closet and geared up for my day of shopping.

Fortunately, I wore my glasses because I needed them when I parked the car. That way I could actually see the store from our parking spot some two miles away.

Forty-five minutes and one pulled hamstring later my wife and I finally reached the front door. But I was surprised. There was nobody ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, no Santa Claus screaming "Ho, Ho, Ho" scaring the little children and nobody greeting you at the door with smile and a "Merry Christmas." All of a sudden I began to wonder where the Christmas cheer was.

Inside the store I quickly realized that I didn't need the helmet or shoulder pads because my wife was now the epitome of Christmas shopping. The same woman who sometimes struggles walking up and down stairs all of a sudden looked like an All-Pro football player moving through the crowd.

She bobbed and weaved at a pace so fast I could hardly keep up. She walked out in front of people and bumped when necessary, never once with an "excuse me" or "sorry." When I started to lag behind she turned and gave me a look that said "get your butt in gear or I'll leave you for dead."

Ten minutes in, covered with sweat I was wondering if I was going to make it out alive. I was quickly devising a plan to disappear when my wife was confronted by a gaggle of irate shoppers when I realized we were almost finished. Somehow my wife had combined what I thought would be hours of shopping into a quick little jaunt through the store. Now it was up to me to find a gift for my dad and we could leave.

An hour and a half later we were standing in the express line with our 10 items and I began to think that I might actually make it through the Christmas season without becoming Mr. Scrooge. Then I looked at the lady ahead of us counting out change to help her pay for her 70 items and I nearly snapped. Being Mr. Christmas isn't as easy as I thought. Thank goodness there are only five more days to Christmas.

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