Saturday, December 23, 2006

Twas the night before the night before Christmas...

...Although technically, my Christmas happens tomorrow because of my Polish roots. I get presents and ridiculous amounts of food tomorrow night instead of Christmas morning. If I survive that long. It's not even Christmas yet and already I'm strung out and exhausted. Today has been one of those days that I try to avoid at this time of year but somehow get suckered into. And since I can, I'm going to bore you all with the whole story, if only to vent the entire experience.

After dropping my boyfriend off at the station for his train home, I came home and dropped off my car before heading back out. Now, I'd like to point out that I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday. My mother however, did not and sent me to do her bidding whilst she and my cousin picked up my aunt from the airport. Thankfully, the fog finally lifted this morning and she was able to fly in because all hell would've broken loose otherwise.

My sensibility won out over my hatred of cold weather and I decided to leave my car at home and get the bus to my local shopping centre. This was probably my only wise move of the day. From there, it started to slowly slip downhill. Topman was eerily quiet as I wandered through to pick up another present. Unfortunately when I hit Topshop, the place was teaming with teenage girls and women with prams.

Why do people feel the need to take their infant children shopping with them on the busiest retail weekend of the year? It's not a jolly family day out, it's a fight to the death. It's almost like they want the dirty looks I shoot them when their gigantic stroller equivalent of a Range Rover is parked in the middle of an aisle.

Today, they seemed to be everywhere. Babies crawling on the floor of Topshop. Toddlers running wild in Beales, their sticky hands pawing at everything at knee level, including me. Multiple under-3 siblings bickering by the turkeys in Marks and Spencer. But that was not the worst element of the day. Oh no.

I should've taken cash to do my shopping. I realise that now. Because technology, no matter how basic or advanced, will fuck you over eventually. In Beales- having dealt with the male shop assistant who'd had a sprinkling of Es on his cornflakes (I kid you not)- I fought my way to the front of the queue, only to discover that their system had gone down and if you didn't have cash, the paying process took three times as long as they manually ran your card and called for authorisation. As you can imagine, this led to a lot of very grumpy shoppers abandoning purchases but I just couldn't face joining a cash point queue and then having to come back, so I stuck it out before moving to my next target, good ole M&S

Among the sea of desperate faces and half full trolleys, Marks and Spencers' shelves were disturbingly bare as I went back and forth, searching for more cranberry sauce for the next three days of competitive eating. My family gets through cranberry sauce at a jar a day when there's three of us, this year there's six and on that projection, we'll get through at least two jars a day. I tried stocking piling early but our housekeeper found my stash and ate her way through most of it. But there was none and so, in a ruthless heat-seeking-missile-like way, I got off the bus two stops early and plodded my way through every merchant of cranberry sauce that I could think of, bar Morrisons because their cranberry sauce is shit.

Unfortunately, there was no cranberry sauce anywhere and I walked a mile with very heavy bags. Moral of the story, be more cunning with hiding the cranberry sauce.



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