Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Shopping

This building is next to New Point fire house. I love how the shadows of the tree branches on the side look like veins. Speaking of veins, mine were throbbing today after I tried to finish up my Christmas shopping.

In today's edition of Chesapeake Bay Woman's Guide to the Holidays, we discuss the very important process of shopping for gifts. Shopping is really all about strategy, planning and a careful attention to details. Only 17 basic steps are required for a successful shopping experience.

Once upon a time, children woke up Christmas morning and were thrilled to find oranges and nuts in their stocking.

The End.

If only that still were the case.

For some people, the process of Christmas shopping and gift-giving is so well-honed that it is listed as a skill on their resume. For others, such as Chesapeake Bay Woman, shopping is viewed as something only slightly more palatable than emptying the litter box; going to the dentist, and hanging suspended upside down from the top of the Eiffel Tower. For four days straight.

Just as an example.

Today I was in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the home of Civil War battles, Civil War museums and also a Target Super Center. And when I say "super" I mean "a Target the size of Indonesia, with the population of China inside."

Now it's time for me to share the Chesapeake Bay Woman Approach to Christmas shopping. May I? Thank you. Here we go.

1. Make a list of everyone you have to buy for. Be sure to add a line for yourself, this is crucial to a successful venture.

2. Beside each person's name, write down some things you know they want, and then some things you think they want. Also be sure to write down "avocados."

3. Take this list and stuff it somewhere. Quite possibly "somewhere" is the bottom of your pocketbook, but in all likelihood "somewhere" is "balled up in the bottom of the Hefty trash bag on its way to the Mathews Convenience Center, also known as The Dump, because you tossed it aside like all other scraps of paper that look like bills--which you also toss in the trash because you're only going to get them again next month, so what's the harm?

4. So, enter Target Super-Incredible Center of the Universe with no list, and no memory to speak of. See all the nice food as you enter the gates.

5. Place two avocados in your basket. You read recently that avocados have trace minerals and "the good fat" that will undoubtedly keep your feet moving on this planet another few decades. Avocados are really a super food, and thankfully they're on sale at Super Duper Target for .99, which is exactly a dollar less than they are at Food Lion in Mathews Court House.

6. Go down the frozen food aisle. Marvel at all the organic stuff and the frozen seafood; start to wonder what you'll have for Christmas dinner, and then get distracted by something called blue organic tortilla chips. With flax seeds.

7. Determine that Blue Organic Tortilla Chips with Flax Seeds is not an item on your Christmas list, whether you brought that list or threw it in the trash can. By accident. However, in your food-focused mind, Blue Organic Tortilla Chips with Flax Seeds and two avocados are moving quickly towards a delicacy known as Guacamole Heaven, which is a little-known Christmas delectable, and--all of a sudden--declared to be a brand new Christmas tradition in the Chesapeake Bay Woman household. Push your cart down the wine aisle.

8. Notice that Target Super Center has boxes of wine packaged in sophisticated looking boxes not found in Mathews County. Notice that the Target brand of boxed wine is on sale, and put two in your buggy. Also known as a cart.

9. Realize that you've been in the food section for an hour and that you've purchased nothing that was on your Christmas list, which is now being squashed by the Mathews County Convenience Center, aka The Dump.

10. Run over to the small gadgets/appliances aisle and remember that your mother wants a mixer. Throw that in the buggy.

11. Realize that you've wasted way too much time in the store altogether-- never mind the amount of time spent in the food section--and need to get on Route 17 to head home before it gets dark.

12. Go to the checkout stand.

13. Notice that when the cashier rings up your boxed wine, that the price is not the same as what it said on the shelf. Don't say a word.

14. After the purchase is complete, proceed to the Customer Service desk and tell the teenager that you feel certain this price is wrong.

15. Wait 2 hours while they check the price.

16. Due to your patience in the matter, where "patience" is defined as "Chesapeake Bay Woman stood eye-to-eye with the teenager and would not give up until her point was proven," Teenager decides to give you the wine for whatever price you said you thought it was.

Have a vague memory that you did not enter the store for boxed wine, rather for Christmas gifts.

17. Depart Target Super Center with this:

2 avocados
2 boxes of wine
0 Christmas gifts.



Karen Deborah said...

you are not alone. I'm beginning to believe that we were separated at birth and your my long lost sibling.
I can go to the store specifically for an ITEM with a LIST and leave the store with other stuff that I saw browsing around and without the item. Because I forgot the thing I can go back later and do it again.
This week a nutcracker cost me a hundred bucks. Well the nutcracker ( a real one) cost 3.50 all the rest of the stuff added up. At least it was mostly groceries.
There was the pyrex oblong dish because mine is LOST, go figure how do you lose a 10 by 13 inch glass baking dish?

Unknown said...

Oh no! What happened to your mom's mixer? You need to go back tomorrow early on. I have a few gifts for the local family, and I found Kohl's to be the best buys in town right now, and they are open til midnight. Seriously, Iwas there last night around ten and there weren't too many people there. I couldn't believe the huge discounts all over the store.

And please tell me you don't have a grocery store in the Mathew Court House!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

KD - I do the same thing. Go in for one thing, usually CAT FOOD, and leave with everything but. It is definitely possible to lose a glass baking dish. Check outside, that's usually where I find mine.

Grandma J - I don't think my mother ever had one of these mixers with the bowl, only hand-held mixers (one of which she caught her finger in - remember that story?). I'll check out Kohls on the way home from work tonight. Mathews Court House is the term we use for the village/commercial area of the county..we're just weird around here and can't call it a village. Or a town. Nah, it's the court house.

Have a good day - I'm off to work again with no internet access until tonight.

Anonymous said...

I also love that you call it your "pocketbook" and not a "purse". Is that just a Mathews thing, or do people call it that everywhere? ('cause I also never knew that everyone didn't call it an "icebox" until I went to college).

I'm almost done with the shopping, but oh! the wrapping! Better check the fencelines before dark!


Meg McCormick said...

I have made a frillion lists, including one on my laptop hard drive and at least seventeen written variations in three separate notebooks. Someone told me that making lists means I am "organized." I beg to differ.

The formula for purchasing boxed wine is: N+1 where N is the number of boxes you think is appropriate to buy and 1 is the one you will wish you had bought when you suck down all that wine in a week because it's always there, on tap, just ready for you to squirt a little bit into your glass every time you walk by the box.

Or at least that's what I've heard...

Mental P Mama said...

At least you had cocktail hour covered. I'd proclaim it a success. What's wrong with the oranges and nuts?

Big Hair Envy said...

Those fancy stores in the big city sure can be distracting. You just can't concentrate when surrounded by 1,422 people, and enough merchandise to establish an entire new civilization.

I'm coming over tonight for wine and does 7:00 sound??

Cool Breeze said...

Wine in a box? O my.

Sounds like my experience this afternoon ... no success.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Anonymous Mathews Native - I have always wondered about the pocketbook/purse thing as well. While I don't think we have the monopoly on the word, I do think it is being used less and less. Good luck with that wrapping! If the cows get out this time, just call me up and I'll come over and help. I promise I won't brush my teeth or spray my hair...I only do those things on special occassions anyway!

Meg - You are right about that N+1 algebraic equation. And also about the differences between what seems to be an endless spigot vs. a finite amount in a bottle. Not that I know anything about that either, just saying....

MPM - I'm trying to start a movement where we go back to the "orange and nuts in a stocking is considered a wonderful Christmas present." We can discuss how bloggers can help with this movement at the Blogfest..over wine, which I promise you will not be from a box (although I must say, it isn't half bad for the price).

BHE - The avocados are ripening on the counter as we speak. I think by Christmas Eve they'll be perfect!

Cool Breeze - It's pathetic. Seriously.

Unknown said...

I remember the mixer story that mangled your poor mom's finger. You said you were getting your mom a mixer but then you said you only checked out avocados and didn't buy the mixer?

I'm definitely looking forward to the east coast Blogapalooza thing so I can visit some of these shopping court houses.

Now I'm gonna shoot off an email to Joe Biden to tell him to lay off the botox! It makes him look a male version of Priscilla Presley.

Anonymous said...

Avocados are green and therefor festive enough for the holidays...even if I think they are gross and can not even stand to think of someone mashing them *gag* and putting it on tortilla chips!

"And when I say "super" I mean "a Target the size of Indonesia, with the population of China inside."

I had a little panic attack just reading that sentence. OMG...Target has supercenters too?

Pretty soon we're all going to be living in supercenters. *lol*

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - Yes, I did manage to remember the mixer, although I forgot to add that in the tally at the end of this post. That was the only present I got, other than the avocado and wine boxes for myself.

Auds - This Target Supercenter puts any Costco, any Wal-Mutant, any Anything to shame. I have never seen anything like it, seriously. And that's not just 'cause I'm from Mathews. Arguably. They had aisles upon aisles of food, very similar to the Wal-Mutant Super Centers but higher quality. I'll take my Best Value and Dollar General any day...far fewer decisions to make and way fewer neon lights and distractions. But without the blue organic tortilla chips....with flax seeds.

Happy Christmas Eve's Eve.