Malls and the Problem with Humanity
New Jersey has a ton of malls. And even though as a state we are ranked as 39th in the ratio of shopping malls square footage vs. population, we are rated 10th in estimated sales. And that’s why you can never get a decent parking space at the Woodbridge Mall.
But holidays, as we all know, brings out the worst in people. And Christmas, that worst of all holidays, turns every mall in New Jersey into some kind of combination store, Mad Max Thunderdome and the 6th layer of Hell if it had a food court. Why? Why do we buy, buy, buy?
Probably because so many things shut down in the winter. Not that the Jersey Shore is in any shape to see us now. (Thanks Sandy.) And do you really want to be gambling away your holiday cash at Bally’s slot night?
So when Christmas does roll around, what passes for activity when you’re too lazy to drive to the nearest bowling alley, suddenly becomes a death sport. Think I’m joking? Just steal a parking space any time after December 15th and before January 1st. You will be lucky if you’re not dragged from your Prius and beaten with a Christmas angel.
Spot that “must have” toy in someone else’s shopping cart? Don’t reach for it unless you want to lose a hand. Even the Dollar Store— The Dollar Store, shoppers act like it’s the end of days. You thinking going to Target before Hurricane Sandy was bad? Try cutting in line when another cashier opens up.
And all this aggression, hostility and pent up rage is for what? So you’re kid can unwrap something and smile at you for four seconds before he goes back to staring into his iPhone. We buy stuff for love, but the stuff is a distraction from that love, so we buy more stuff— And the vicious Santa cycle continues.
I for one dream of an ultimate Christmas. One where I vacation in a culture that knows December 25th as just another day of the week. Where I can lounge around and pretend for one year that I don’t give a shit about sales or how I’m going to pay off my January credit card bill. Let’s face it, seeing your relatives is nice, but feeling obligated to visit them isn’t. And who the Hell wants to drive around in the snow anyways, assuming the polar icecaps don’t melt this year?
Wouldn’t it be a relaxing Christmas if we could just escape the malls for one glorious year? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just buy a gift for a friend or family member because you saw it that day and thought they would like it? As opposed to use putting on this facade of happiness.
But no. Like you, I will be stuck in line. Probably at Echelon Mall, wishing to God the woman ahead of me would just pay with credit, instead of counting out pennies to get rid of her change. Like you, I’ll be schlepping to three stores trying to find that toy for my nephew and giving up hope in my sister-in-law a gift and going for a gift certificate. I’ll be wishing I had gotten an earlier start and had just gone to Amazon in the first place. And if you see me, don’t say the words because there’s nothing merry about it.
And you know where you can stick that “Ho-ho-ho.”
written by Tony DiGerolamo