Shopping-Bags

There were blood baths at the entry doors to K-Mart and Sears.

Remember those Cabbage Patch Kid days when people stampeded and bludgeoned each other to get the hot doll toy of the day? Shoppers gone wild.

Every couple of years a toy phenomenon like Cabbage Patch Kids vomits from the earth like a volcano, capturing munchkins’ imaginations the way that APPLE  iProducts (you DO have an Apple Watch by now surely!) enrapture adults’ attention and excitement today.

Our society is captivated by shopping and consuming. Many of us love to accumulate pretty things.

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  • Some folks abhor shopping.

  • Some people tolerate shopping as a necessary evil.

  • Some people love to shop.

  • Some people live to shop.

I generally find myself in the middle where shopping goes.

I don’t love shopping for the sheer joy of wanderlust walking through stores, eyeballing lovely things that I have no premeditated intent of bringing home with me, like lovable lost golden lab puppies.

The EXCEPTION? When travelling, I love to meander through shops and markets, observing people, absorbing local sounds and exotic scents, hoping for a stupendous surprise of a piece of art or clothing that calls out my name.

But that’s something completely different.

Shopping as a hobby or sport is pretty new to our world.

Disposable incomes have risen in the past few generations and worldwide trade has brought enormous selections of products at low prices to our local shops.

Stores are filled to the gunnels with food and drink items from every corner of the globe; clothing and hard goods fill enormous ships traversing the oceans before landing like exotic Orient spices for our eyes to wonder and wander over.

It’s an amazing miracle of our 21st century world that items within reach of only the super wealthy a generation or two back, are widely available to almost anyone  with something resembling a middle class income. It’s a breathtaking transformation that makes me starry-eyed.

I know that it’s only May and early springtime, but let me share with you a Christmas fear that I lived with for years.

Christmas Shopping. Christmas shopping struck terror in my heart.

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The hunt through malls and shops in search of gifts for my family and friends felt like a shock-and-awe journey through a steamy Vietnamese swamp in the 1960’s.

I felt tense and worried; my heart pounded in my chest with fears that I would go home empty-handed. It was a sojourn filled with a glimmering hope of success, but without a map, it was so often doomed to failure.

I wanted the perfect gift to present itself to me like the Northern Star pointing out baby Jesus in the stable. The inner dream was that a bright light would shine gloriously on an item that I knew was perfect and meant to be purchased and brought home with delight and glee.

Alas, it was all mostly just a dream and any dollars I spent felt more like bleary desperation than comfort and joy.

And the hurried presence of hoards of other shoppers merely added a greater essence of urgency.

It was as if everyone else knew exactly their quest while I foundered hopelessly… and the normally pleasurable sounds of Christmas music wrapped tightly around me like a noose, pleasantly but irritatingly yelling out that I must succeed at all costs.

Those were difficult days for me.

But, fortunately, the world has found a new way to make my shopping “trips” a relaxing, joyful experience and I now feel the comfort and joy I was always promised in song by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.

Internet shopping has given me a new lease on life and consumerism that is totally freeing and joyful.

Mnan Xmas shopping

I can do my searching day or night… there are no snowstorms, packed mall parking lots, frenetic shoppers making my blood pressure rise. The selection I want is unlimited and available at my fingertips. The costs are often less than I would pay if I shopped in person.

What’s not to love about this?

Now when I choose to enter a shop or a mall to look around, I feel relaxed and happy.

There is no elephant weighing me down, no pressure to buy. I can breathe and observe and enjoy the ambiance as if I were in a foreign marketplace just wandering and taking in all that my senses can absorb.

If I see something that I like or am intrigued by, I make a mental note and later, when I’m relaxed by my computer sipping a hot cup of tea, I shop and compare and take my time to make a decision that fills me with a good, warm feeling.

Technology irritates and frustrates many people. But I’ve finally come round to firmly and joyously believing that Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. 

Santa Claus is the spirit of Christmas joy that lives inside my computer – as silly as that may sound.

When the inevitable day arrives that Cabbage Patch Kids are all the rage once again, I won’t fear the shopping devil that had me so terrified in earlier times. I’ll just shift my mouse and find the best price at my favourite online retailer.

Then, laying one finger aside of my nose,
And giving a nod, and one click of a mouse I suppose,
I’ll finish my shopping ‘ere I call it a night,
Shopping in your pyjamas is such a delight.

 

 

 

 

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