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Extreme shopping gets ugly

Black Friday! The day after Thanksgiving! It was like the "Ready, Set, Go!" of the 2006 holiday shopping race in which people attempted to maim and injure as many other individuals as possible in their violent efforts to display their holiday spirit. Good will toward men, right? "Let me kick you in the shins while I snag the last iPod. Oh, and by the way.... Happy holidays."

The biggest shopping day of the year did one of three things to people. It either: a. made you a very angry person because you're a slacker and you realized you should have finished shopping in mid-July; b. it brought out that scary, competitive edge in you; or c. it completely overwhelmed you until you started crying your eyes out.

To those people who went with choice c, may I suggest that in these final shopping days before Christmas, you experiment with online shopping? No lines, no crowds, no hassles... well, fewer hassles. The most you really have to worry about are computer crashes and whether or not an item can be shipped overnight. Or if you are somewhat less than computer- savvy, try hitting the malls either really early or really late. Mall hours change during the holiday season, and malls that might ordinarily open around 9 a.m. might now be opening around 6. They also go later than usual, some malls extending their hours to 11, while some of the stores are open later than that.

Choice a people, you have that "I just want to get this torture over with and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get it done" attitude. And I respect that. I know that when I go shopping and you elbow me in the ribs and bop me in the nose, it's not personal. It's simple desperation, and that's OK. You're frustrated because people keep buying you Christmas presents, and your choices are to either to look like a jerk and not get anything for anyone, or to suffer through the crowds, shopping, and supposed sales. And since nobody wants to look like a jerk in the holiday season, you take the bullet on this one and get all huffy about items not being in stock and whatnot.

My advice is to do a secret Santa with friends. It's simple and quick. HOWEVER, if you're really anti-shopping, just go out for a night with your friends. They would much rather enjoy a wonderful evening basking in your company than crowd-surfing through the stores trying to find gifts.

As much as I think choice a people need to calm down, It's you b type people who scare me. To you, holiday shopping is like a sport, which makes you competitive. You are the people who go out and buy stuff, sometimes tackling people, simply because it's on sale. I've seen people throwing themselves on top of items to lay claim to them. My personal favorite are the ones who steal items out of other people's carts and buy whatever it is before the other person realizes it's missing. B people realize that items don't stay in stock for long and they go in ready for the kill.

Several of the sales associates with whom I have conversed ask that you please do not get angry with them, they are doing the best they can. Imagine being stuck in a constant stream of endless holiday shopping for a good two months, and I think you'll be feeling more sympathetic. As the torture of holiday shopping ends, and the threat of returns and gift receipts begins, I wish you all the best of luck. Happy holidays!

Samantha Salada is a senior at Starpoint.

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