Heart and Soul

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

'Tis The Season

This week in the midst of the traditional Ho-Ho-Ho shopping frenzy, I find that I have experienced a personal epiphany. It’s a magical revelation related to the task of shopping for that perfect Yuletide gift. In a nutshell, I’ve come to realize that holiday shopping is an art practiced by two types of people. “The Listers” and “The Wanderers.”

Listers initiate their Holiday Shopping by creating multiple lists that encompass all of their gift giving needs. They categorize their lists into groups of family, friends, and neighbors, and then create appropriate subcategories of malls and plazas where they plan to shop. They know the exact store, aisle and shelf containing all of their gift items and, just to be on the safe side, they memorize the appropriate UPC codes, style numbers, and manufacturer’s names.

Well-prepared Listers also maintain a cross-indexed stash of neatly clipped coupons to compliment their gift lists. In addition, they create strategic GPS maps of various shopping excursion routes. These charts are precise and help to guide Listers from store to store in a perfectly ordered plan, which of course includes suggested stopoffs for lunch and snacks.

Traditionally, Listers are categorized as females.

As for “Wanderers,” they also start their holiday shopping quests armed with lists…usually prepared for them by caring Listers. However, these shopping guides almost always end up rebelliously stuffed into Wanderer’s back pockets, for this breed of shopper believes that lists are for wimps. And so they bravely exhibit their trailblazing spirits by surging into crowded malls and plazas and attacking their shopping tasks mano-a-mano.

As a result, Wanderer’s shopping excursions are often marked by multiple journeys up and down mall hallways, circling in a stupor akin to first time tourists in a big city. They rub their eyes, they scratch their heads and dazedly gaze up at storefront signs as if the words are foreign and unfamiliar.

Every once in a while Wanderers actually venture into a store in an attempt to capture the gift of their dreams. Yet, within minutes of entering a shopping wonderland, Wanderers often find themselves frightened and disoriented. In desperation, they blindly decide to snatch the closest object at hand. They then stumble to the checkout and shove the randomly selected item at the clerk, all the while feebly pleading for complimentary gift wrap.

When Wanderers finally emerge from the depths of their holiday shopping hell, they instinctively head for the nearest first aid station, where they find comfort in the administration of medicinal barley and hops.

Traditionally, Wanderers are categorized as males.

Yet the good news is that cell phone technology has provided Listers and Wanderers with a compromise means of connecting and achieving a much greater Holiday shopping success. With a flip of a phone and a flick of a speed dial, Wanderers have found a way to continue their proud tradition of shopping without lists, while searching the sky for Lister saviors to guide them step by step to the exact gift of their holiday dreams.

Not exactly a star, 3 Wisemen, and a baby, but definitely some essential Holiday Salvation!
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