I had the best of intentions. But, as I should have remembered, it takes more than the best of intentions to succeed at Christmas shopping. I thought it would be simple to go buy a Hotpaws neckwarmer. I meant so well. This is how my shopping trip went:
1. I started at Sears and, I suppose, hoped to see a giant standalone display of Hotpaws products. There was no such display. I scurried around trying to find what I wanted. One employee cheerily greeted me. That confused me; I didn't think to ask her for help. I found a few Hotpaws products hanging out with other outerwear. There were no neckwarmers.
2. Heading to the Bay, I skillfully avoided one of those people who wants everyone (or every woman, at least) to sample a skin concoction. He was wise to avoid me. My "Do not approach" vibes worked nicely. They were a good investment.
3. The Bay experience was much like that at Sears except everything was a little more crowded in and feelings of hopelessness were settling in. I was hating the shopping experience by this time. I considered that maybe the complete product line was only available in the US. That hardly seemed fair. When it comes to warm winter gear, Canadians need it all. I left the Bay.
4. I went to Shoppers Drug Mart and bought myself a clock radio. It seemed like the right thing to do.
5. I bought a cookie and coffee at Starbucks. I needed stamina. I ate my cookie at a table but got a look from a woman with 3 small children. I think she thought she deserved the table more and perhaps she did but I was hungry and quick. And I was on a quickly deteriorating shopping mission.
6. I considered looking at an electronic mall directory but a woman collecting for charity was standing awfully close to it. If I approached, I would feel obligated to donate. I am in favour of donating but I have already done so. So has my son. I can't keep throwing money in. I think we should wear little hats or something that tell everyone we've already given. Next I'll have to go shopping for a hat.
7. I returned to Sears. I found a sad looking neckwarmer. It wasn't a Hotpaws product. I realized, though, that their products would not be any more special. They're all simply pieces of fleece. The one I found cost $9. It seemed so disappointing. I bought a scarf instead. It's blue. I could have bought it in my first few minutes at the mall. My mission had failed but it was complete.
I didn't try to make this a complicated, unpleasant affair. It still turned out that way. I suppose flexibility would help but it seems that for me, at least, once I'm on a mission to find a certain item, I try really hard to find it. Does that benefit anyone? Probably not. It makes for a bit of an adventure but I don't want to spend time on such adventures for every person on my list. There are no bonus points given out for trips back and forth in the mall.
Sometimes a certain item is not available or is too hard to find. That's okay. Something else will do. Often, we don't even know that the person would want the gift we're so determined to find. I still don't know that my dad has a cold neck. It'd be kind of nice if he does though because I did buy the scarf.
I hope that everyone who is doing Christmas shopping is going easy on themselves and enjoying the process. Some year, maybe I will too.