Yesterday, I gave you the first part of this year's guide to getting through your holiday shopping, untouched. Today, the second part.
Remember, these are
essential tips only guides.
Today, we're at Kohl's and Target.
Kohl's. Ahhh... Kohl's. The fancy version of Walmart. "Kohl's cash" most likely suckered you in. I'm not really sure how Kohl's cash works or what it is, all I know is that I see it every Sunday in my flyer. It's basically the only way they can get you to shop at Kohl's.
Okay. Fine. I'll say it. You've got to be near socially-unstable to shop at Kohl's during the holidays. You will almost certainly get your shins cut up by some woman's shopping cart as she tries to get from the home section to the bedding section in record time. Woman are possessed during this time of the year. And I don't blame them. You would be too if you had to schlep around three kids in a van all day with nothing to eat but those rice cake things I see in cellophane bags.
Recently, Kohl's has started carrying kitchen supplies -- knives, large cast-iron pans, etc. And you know what I think of those items -- that's right. Don't dismiss that so easily. To an over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived mother, that section is kind of like the end of the rainbow for them. They see it from afar. The pot of gold is reindeer carafe. And the fact that their stomach is eating their stomach from hunger, means your senses need to be on red alert. Accidentally bumping into Patricia who just missed the last Rachel Ray 10-inch sauté pan will likely get you a right hook to the lip (with the 8" skillet). Therefore, the chances are extremely high, almost one-hundred percent that you will be at least pushed. Probably something more, though. Have you been to a yoga boot camp lately? They don't just stretch anymore.
It's okay to just leave, too. Who needs a reindeer carafe?
Chances of physical contact: Very high. Near 100 percent. Chance of death: Somewhat lower.
Okay. I love Target. I'm secure enough in my manhood to admit to this. I can spend hours in this place. Turn my phone to airplane mode with some Sigur Ros on repeat and I'm just about in heaven. And there's no better place to go a week before Halloween than Target. But unfortunately, this isn't Halloween. Which means that as much as I love this place, it can still be a potential shit-storm for getting your shopping done without incident, like having a shoulder to shoulder moment with a complete stranger. I hate shoulder to shoulder moments. Too intimate for me. Unless of course you're telling me that the shoulder belongs to song really cute girl named Hadley or something. I feel like if your name is Hadley, you kind of have to be button-cute, no?
Shopping at Target during the holidays requires a lot more than just getting in your car and going for a ride. Firstly, you need to recognize the difference between the regular parking lot and the "satellite lot--" which is that parking lot so far from fucking existence that store doesn't come into view until minute seven of the walk. Three minutes after that, and after avoiding death-by-minivan-backing-out-of-a-spot, it's there. The main entrance.
You're now face to face with societies public MENSA test -- the revolving door. I don't know why, but most people still don't really know how these things work.
Do I go? Okay. Go ahead (Waves).
No? I'll wait (Stop sign).
Thanks?!!? Okay (Hand up).
Finally. You're inside (Something I've been told in the past).
But you can't find a shopping cart because of course there aren't any in the store. Connor forgot to wheel them in from the cart depot, so back out you go, into the cold, to walk around a parking lot in a grid pattern like you're a neanderthal hunting wild game.
Shopping carts are like tradable goods during the holidays. I've seen mothers give up their second-born for one of those new, plastic-y ones. Yes, that one left for dead in the snow bank has a bum wheel that constantly pulls you into oncoming traffic, but at this point, you're kind of hoping it pulls you into oncoming traffic.
Inside, the pharmacy will probably be on the right when you first walk in. Now this line tends to fill up rather quickly because most of the people who shop at Target, coincidentally, tend to need cholesterol medication, so that's their fist stop, for a refill. Fast forward a half hour and their feeling a bit light-headed. And like "The Great Migration," they start lining up at the pick-up counter, so you don't want to be around the pharmacy once you've been in Target for, say, forty-five minutes. Get your hand-sanitizer, alcohol swabs and C-Boost tablets right when you walk in. Inject, ingest, and wipe and work your way through the store from points south to north. A minor but important detail.
The check-out line. The last mental acuity test.
Checking out will be rather painful. Probably like plucking your eyelashes out with a really dull pair of tweezers. There isn't a whole lot you can do about this. Yes, there are only two registers open, but just be thankful they haven't implemented self-checkout registers (God. Could you imagine?) The scanning, the putting the item on the scale, then into a bag. "Oh wait, did I double scan the Skinny Cow ice cream bars?" The light (beacon) blinks and you feel like a complete loser. All of that is way too much responsibility for the average person to be in control of.
Understand that you'll be pushed or backed into in the checkout line. But be positive for a moment because all is not completely lost. You're very likely to hear some stories that you wouldn't normally be made privy to. I'll let people hit and shove me all day every day if it means that I can listen to their Match.com first date from hell stories.
"I told him, my radius is 25 miles, but he still asked me if I could pick him up. So right away I was annoyed. Anyway, we get there and his ex shows up and starts jumping on the hood of my car."
Really. Anything to make it better.
Chances of physical contact: Close to 100 percent. Hopefully this is your last visit of the shopping season. Of course you can avoid all of this and just shop online. Spending money online isn't real money, anyway.
Chris Peak is a freelance writer from Boston. Follow him @chrishpeak or visit him at chrispeak.com