Anyone who’s been shopping recently, even before Halloween, knows that the Holiday Shopping craze has already begun. In years past I used to take one day, usually in mid December, and do all of my holiday shopping in just one day. It was always a long and exhausting day, but it was just one solitary day; I never had to ruin weekend after weekend, fighting for parking spaces, waiting in lines, searching for products- I did it all at once and just got it over with. Once I had kids that form of shopping was much more difficult, and I found myself among the crazy Black Friday Shoppers up at 4am, waiting in line, trying to get some great deals. Then I also found myself running here and there to dozens of stores trying to get the products I wanted for the best prices. I hated every minute of it. It was ruining the holidays for me. The general public, I’ve found, is generally stupid, and the more people there are, the more likely you are to deal with their stupidity. Plus, instead of singing Christmas carols, I was dropping f-bombs. I was not so in the “spirit” if you will. Then one day, just few years ago, I had an awful shopping experience that was the icing on the cake.
At the time, I worked very close to one of Delaware’s major shopping malls, and being a working Mom, time was always in short supply. It was also the week before Christmas which meant I, and the majority of the tri-state area, was in “crunch-time” shopping mode fighting for the last of the gifts on the holiday lists. Thankfully, due to much of the staff taking time off this week, I didn’t have to teach any classes and meetings were also in short supply. I had the luxury of choosing my own lunch hour which today would be early-like 10:30am. I could get to the mall before the other “lunch hour” shoppers, run in and buy the items I already knew I wanted, and get out in time to enjoy a Lean Cuisine from my office.
I found the mall still packed with shoppers, most from out of state here to enjoy our tax-free shopping, and I tried to be merry as I waited for the State Trooper to let my line of traffic into the mall’s parking lot. I mumbled about how stupid people are that we require a trooper to direct traffic. How hard is it to park people? Anyway, I found a space within three miles of a mall entrance and made a conscious effort to not spoil my mood as it began to lightly drizzle and sleet as I made my way into the mall. The shopping trip itself was quick and painless, and I happily made my way back to my car, with at least twenty minutes to spare. With a purse on my shoulder, and several bags in each hand, I carefully made my way through the slick parking lot. My boots were made for fabulous, not traction. Finally, a row over, my car came into view. I walked between two cars, over a small strip of grass separating the rows of cars when suddenly I found myself flying through the air. I had not only been stopped from moving forward but whatever it was came out of no where and knocked me at least three feet backwards. It felt like a brick wall had slammed into me. In slow motion I felt my feet leave the ground, my arms fly wildly up in the air, my bags separate from my hands, and with a thunderous crash, my body (ass first) come down to the cold wet pavement. I literally saw stars and I was trying to first wrap my mind about what the hell just happened. My hands, scraped and bleeding, first held my head on straight, and then began reaching around for my bags and purse which now laid all over the ground next to and behind me up on the grass. I blinked away some tears and saw my brick wall come swinging wildly back in my direction, but thankfully out of reach. A pair of old lady feet appeared under the door and I heard some shuffling and groaning as a woman, pushing a century in age, tried to hoist her aging body from the car. While grabbing the door for support, it swung back and closed slightly and she plopped back into her seat. I then watched as the elderly menace kicked her door open with all her might, and tried another time to get out of the car. Apparently, just as I approached her door, she kicked it open and I ended up literally running into it as it was forcefully opened. Of course Grandma wasn’t driving a little Civic or something, I had to get slammed with a giant Buick’s door.
My incident, in true Susan fashion, had not gone unnoticed, and a few people had come running over to help. The first to arrive was a large young man, who admittedly I would have been afraid of due to his rough exterior and line-backer size if I was say, walking alone at night. This time though, injured and dazed, I just sat there as he picked up my purse and started putting my keys, phone, and make up back inside. A woman helped put my newly purchased items back into the five or so bags, and finally the elderly assailant got her geriatric ass out of the car, waddled over to me, and said “Oh dear! Did I run into you when I was parking the car?” I let her words sink in a moment, and should not have been surprised that she had no idea what happened. She actually thought she ran over me with her car. Then she asked me for the time because her “Boscov’s early bird coupon was only good until noon.” Perhaps I should have prayed to the dear sweet baby Jesus for divine intervention to keep my Christmas spirit alive, but instead I cussed out an old lady on probably one of the last days of her life. “Are you fucking kidding me? Should you be driving a damn car if you can’t even tell if you ran someone over? You hit me with your damn door, lady when you kicked it open!” She smiled and said, “Oh, well that’s better than hitting you with the front of it. I better get inside before this 25% isn’t good anymore”and she actually just turned and made her way towards the mall. Still dazed and now speechless from my conversation with the dementia driver, I started to cry like an infant. Just then, the large man reached out his hands and helped me to my feet and asked where my car was. The woman that had gathered all of the gifts and put them back in the bags went to hand them over to me, but the large man took them from her and just handed me my keys. As he and I, surely looking like the “odd couple,” made our way in the direction of my car, one of the State Troopers pulled down the aisle and asked if I was okay and if I knew the rough looking man with me. My parking lot hero immediately looked down, and I told the police officer that he had helped me and the real menace with the old lady who I pointed to that had not made it into the mall yet. The trooper said nothing and kept looking at me, and I said “I’m fine and he’s helping me.” The trooper, not comfortable with the situation, pulled his car down a few spaces and waited for the man to put the bags in my trunk and walk away before he continued on his way as well.
So much for my extra twenty minutes…when I got back to work, now with wet hair, a dirty coat, wet pants, bleeding hands and limping from a bruised ass, several coworkers immediately came over to ask me what happened and all I could do for a few minutes was cry. It was then I decided to not participate in the Holiday Shopping nonsense ever again. With the exception of a few gifts, I have in the three years since that happened, bought all of my gifts online. So be safe this Holiday, and if you haven’t already, check out my Holiday Shopping Guide. It’ll save you time, stress, money, and possibly being assaulted by an elderly lady and her Buick.
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