Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shop 'til You(r Fingers) Drop

by Stephanie Black

I'm happy to share the thrilling news that I won something on the Whitney Benefit Auction last week. Hooray! Now I get to wait excitedly for my treasure to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile, I've got some other bids out on various Whitney items. Some I'll win and some I won't, but it's fun bidding anyway. I don't intend to win everything I bid on--it's better for my wallet if I don't. I don't usually ponder the max I'd be willing to bid on an item and then bid that amount and let eBay automatically raise the price to my maximum bid as people bid against me. I'd rather pick a starting number and then, if someone bids against me, I get the fun of debating whether I want to bid higher or let it go. It's not just shopping--it's entertainment!

Shopping online is a marvelous thing. I love the way the internet gives access to such a wide variety of goods, some of which would have been very difficult to find back in the olden days. My four-year-old daughter wants a stuffed fruit bat for Christmas (easier to care for than a real fruit bat, I imagine). But rather than scouring toy stores on a possibly futile search for a fruit bat, all I need to do is go to Amazon. Yep, they have a fruit bat. And when I was looking for some Massachusetts-themed candy, all it took was a little Googling and and a few clicks of the mouse and I was looking at bags of gummy lobsters. And there are no lines at the checkout!

I don't do all my Christmas shopping online. I do enjoy some shopping in actual brick-and-mortar stores complete with decorations and Christmas music (and sometimes I don't enjoy it, but do it anyway). Speaking of shopping, you know what boggles me? When people will sit in their cars, waiting, waiting as the sun sets and their hair grays, waiting as autumn turns to winter, waiting for a car to pull out of a parking space so the waiter can snatch that coveted space close to the store. I understand it if the lot is very crowded and you're worried about finding a space at all. I understand it if you just had knee surgery or are thirteen months pregnant (or feel that way) or have other health problems. But if you're hale and hearty, why twiddle your thumbs and wait while the driver finishes unloading her groceries, buckles her kids into carseats, or whatever? Why not drive for five extra seconds, park a little farther from the store and walk for an extra twenty seconds to get inside? I'm thinking it's the psychological lure of a prime parking space more than an evaluation of the actual time saved/convenience involved that gets people to sit and wait. Someone should do their doctoral dissertation on this topic.

I've never been organized enough to do all my Christmas shopping in July or September, or whenever organized people shop. And though I wouldn't mind having some things done well in advance, I don't think I'd even want to have everything done before the first strands of tinsel make their appearance (Oh wait. That's, like, in September now. Never mind.) What about you? Are you a shop-in-advance person that considers yourself behind schedule if you don't have your Christmas shopping done by the end of summer? Or are you always in stores on Christmas Eve, looking for those last few items?

The item I tend to get myself in trouble with is Christmas crackers (the kind you pull, not the kind you eat). Pulling Christmas crackers on Christmas Eve is something my kids love, but half the time, I don't buy the crackers early enough, thinking I have plenty of time, and then by the time I'm looking for them in earnest, the stores are out of them. I swore that this year I wouldn't let them get away. I saw some at Costco on Saturday, but I didn't really like them, so I wanted to keep looking. I still have plenty of time, right? Live and don't learn, that's me. Maybe I should buy some online . . .


At 11/19/2008 7:19 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I love to shop for deals online. The best part is they provide the boxes :)

At 11/19/2008 11:41 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

My kids are astonished that it is Nov and my shopping is not done. I shop through out the year so I can relax during Dec. and just enjoy the holiday.

And if delivery charges weren't so much, I would do all my shopping on line.

At 11/20/2008 1:38 PM, Blogger Worldbuilder Robin said...

We're kind of a mix of "buy stuff on clearance and hold it for gifts" and "I've finally thought of the perfect gift; now can I find it in two days?" schools of thought. The first part usually works, until we hide the stuff so well that even we forget about it (that Star Wars shirt we bought now won't fit anyone in the family, immediate or extended...). And, as the husband, I'm usually the one who's shopping on Christmas Eve. I think it's in the job description somewhere...

At 11/21/2008 8:17 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

a stuffed fruit bat?


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