Let the Shopping Begin

This week will kick off the holiday season here at Swamp Gas & Moonlit Reflections.  This week I will start it off with a nearly 5-year-old post from good friend and contributor, Stress Fracture. 
Stress' s Stress Free Holiday Shopping Guide
by: Stress Fracture November 27, 2003Well it's getting to that time of year again isn't it? The time when all of humanity seems to play "Sardines in a Can". The streets become amazingly small under the full onslaught of holiday shopping troops. Yes their vehicles of choice seem to be getting larger every year. Gone are the small gas saving cars of the early 80's. In the place of the station wagon, we have the minivan, and the obnoxiously bigger cousin, the SUV. It's amazing; people try and cram themselves into the smallest of shopping isles and areas. Bulls in china shops, and accidents waiting to happen. Everything seems to be in short supply, including people's patience. Oh goody, I feel a panic attack on its way. Fear not, as a person who absolutely can not stand crowds, I am here to offer you some tips on avoiding potential holiday hazards. First and foremost, make a freaking list for everyone you want or have to buy for. And for crying out loud, be specific. Don't put down general things to get like CDs, movies, books, etc. unless you want to spend long hours wandering about aimlessly trying to narrow down the list. How many times do you have two things in mind for someone and you're trying to decide between them and from out of nowhere a third or fourth item swoops in to torment you. Now that you have a specific itemized list in hand, stop and look at the clock and also see what day of the week it is. You don't want to go during prime shopping hours and have to make that one phone call to explain why you strategically positioned a cart near a fellow shopper going for the last Scooby Doo Chia Pet. So try and go either when the store first opens or near closing time. I personally favor going near closing time during the week. Don't ever put clothes on the list unless you're a glutton for punishment. Clothes are way too personal to buy for someone. If you're male you will most certainly get it wrong 100% of the time, especially while buying for the opposite sex. The same goes for jewelry. Oh they'll smile and hug you and tell you it was just what they were looking for, all the while thinking, "When will I ever wear this?" Or "I hate that color". You have your list, you've decided on a non-prime time to carry out your mission. Now you must skillfully navigate through the waves of people in order to complete your tasks. I hope you've trained for this in the form of FPS, driving, or action/adventure video games. Video games are good for honing your skills in anticipating the annoying movements of shoppers. When they zig, you gotta know when to zag. Remember that they are the enemy, or at the very least, moving obstacles of frustration, especially the older, slower ones, or the younger dangerously quick ones, sometimes you'd swear toddlers are equipped with some secret teleportation device, in which the destination seems to always be under your feet. You know, all this preparation for this inevitable confrontation has stressed me out. I think I'll park my butt in front of my broadband enabled PC and with credit card in hand strategize my victory in yet another battle in the unending war of giving. I'll let everyone else get stressed and undermine the goodwill toward men.
Starting next week I will be reliving my favorite holiday posts.  It should be a Christmas-y and festive time.  Eat well, friends.