Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fun with lies and plastic

I missed my usual Saturday post on this blog because I spent the entire day with my wife (she looks like the model to the left, only better looking) and two wonderful kids . . . . . . CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!!

Today is only November 11th, which means I was playing Santa Claus a good month and a half early. I know the stores jumped right to Christmas decorations the day after Halloween, as Thanksgiving is not a big commercial holiday, and the radio stations began their "holiday music mix" last week, but this is the earliest I have ever gone out to buy gifts for loved ones and not-so-loved-ones-who-still-expect-a-gift. I give my wife FULL credit. She has her stuff DOWN!!

She has a list containing the names of each and every one we need a gift for. We sat down before we ever hopped into the car Saturday morning and decided on an appropriate gift for everyone on it. We then went through the advertising "blow ins" from the previous Sunday paper to see what was on sale, and what was "chic" this year (the word, "chic," inadvertently is NOT "wac" or "fly" these days.)

So we took out the third seat in the humungo SUV and hit the shopping centers with list and coupons (and kids) in tow. I was surprised at how efficient the entire experience was. Our first stop (Cost Co) yielded 80% of the gifts we needed and an additional 80% of impulse buys.

The kids had previously gone through catalogs from Toys-R-Us, Target, and Wal-Mart and circled everything they wanted out of the flyers. We SHOULD have just told them to circle everything they did NOT want, then NOT handed them a writing utensil. Anyway, by the time we hit the stores, they easily recognized EVERYTHING on the shelves. Well, it's not that easy putting a huge box containing a wooden doll house big enough to raise our property taxes into a jumbo shopping cart without either of our two perceptive kids noticing, so my wife and I had a plan.

As the kids spied everything on the shelves, they said, "OOOOOH, that's what I want. OOOOOOH, that's what I circled. OOOOOOH, what is that? I want two of them?" We would reply curtly with, "Ask Santa," then we'd give each other that look that determined if we'd actually get it. After all the impulse buys and gifts for others were in the basket, my wife and I would take turns taking the kids to the car or to the bathroom or to look at the variety of tobacco products (whatever worked), while the other one raced back through the store loading all the kid's gifts into the baskets and to the checkout.

One swipe of the plastic later, we were loading the booty into the back of the car while the kids were strongly encouraged to buckle themselves into their seats while maintaining perfect forward-facing posture. A timely false exclamation of "Hey, look at that chicken nugget restaurant over there" bought us enough time to get their gifts loaded and covered with extra empty shopping bags we were able to talk the cashier into giving us.

And so went the entire day as we hopped from store to store, filling up the cargo space in the SUV, checking people off our list of "gifts to buy," and filling up our kid's heads with clever, deceptive lies. It was a great day. I feel rather proud now that when people ask me how my Christmas shopping is coming that I can say, "nearly done!"

I've got to give my wife all the credit, as I'm usually inspired at the last minute by whatever happens to be near the register of the closest store. Yep, a logically planned-out, mathematically, systematic style is the way to go. Getting things done early not only alleviates stress, but it gives you much longer to pay off the credit card bill.

Next week, I was told that we're going Easter shopping. Dollar General apparently has their Cadbury Creme Eggs on liquidation sale from last year.

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