Thursday, August 20, 2009

How to Avoid Getting Bored on a Shopping Trip

I wish I could take credit for this, but I must confess it came from a friend of mine---one of my soccer buddies, who received it from one of his own friends (who undoubtedly received it from some other source on the Internet). In the interests of journalistic integrity, I feel constrained to protect my source from possible repercussions (mostly from the half of the human race that may not be amused by some of the assumptions underlying the well from the roving bands of the Politically Correct Thought Patrol that seem to be roaming the country), though if he chooses to reveal himself, he can rightly claim credit (or take the blame) for bringing the matter to my attention.

My contribution, modest as it is, consists merely of editorial revisions, as well as a few words of introduction:

Early in my retirement, it has become readily apparent that there is an aspect of a man's "golden years" that is never mentioned, nor touched upon by any retirement planning seminar that I have ever attended.

I'm talking, of course, about accompanying the wife on a shopping excursion.

Like most men, I find shopping quite boring (aside from the occasional trip to the computer or sporting goods store; trips to the home improvement store are uaually quite tolerable as well, as long as we steer clear of the wallpaper section), and prefer to measure by trips by the minute: quick in, quick out---and if the trip is properly planned, it's usually over in five minutes or less...depending on the line at the check-out.

Unfortunately, my wife, like many women, seems to regard shopping as a recreational event, and prefers to browse endlessly, often with little regard to the time cost of comparing the price at Kroger, for example, with the cost of the same item at WalMart. Saving twenty cents on a can of spaghetti sauce may leave some with a sense of triumph; but factoring in the cost of gas to drive from one place to the other---as well as the man-hours consumed in hunting down both items (quite aside from the driving time from one store to the other...and the mental energy spent in noticing and agonizing over the cost differential)---makes the whole enterprise problemmatic at best. And, considering the opportunity costs (time spent shopping isn't available for other pursuits...such as watching the ball game or napping), the advantages of this form of entertainment seems dubious at best.

Still, there is value in keeping peace in the house. And to this end, there are a number of things we can to to pass the time, and amuse ourselves while the love of our life is busy indulging herself:

How to Avoid Getting Bored on a Shopping Trip:
A Man's Guide to Comparison Shopping

1. Take two dozen boxes of condoms and place them in other people's shopping cars when they aren't looking. (For an added bonus, try to base your selection on either the mischief factor, or the unexpected compliment factor: placing the box in the cart of an 87-year old woman will have a different effect than placing it in the shopping cart of a pompous-looking socialite with a docile husband and moody teenager in tow. The choice between the two will depend on how evil your sense of humor is).

2. Set the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. Leave a trail of tomato juice on the floor, ending at the women's restroom.

4. Go to the service desk and try to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

5. Move the "CAUTION---WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.

6. Set up tents in the camping department of a department store. Tell the passing children of various inattentive shoppers that they can use them if they bring in pillows and blankets from the bedding department. (Score one point for each child who obliges).

7. When a clerk askes if she can help, begin crying and scream: "Why can't you people just leave me alone?" before running off to another part of the store.

8. Go to the hunting department and start looking at various kinds of ammunition. When the clerk offers to help you find something, ask where the antidepressants are.

9. Dart around the store while loudly humming the theme from "Mission Impossible."

10. Hide in a clothing rack; whenever another shopper begins to browse, holler, in a high-pitched voice: "Pick me!! Pick me!!"

11. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position while screaming: "Oh no! The voices! It's those voice again!!!"

12. Go into the fitting room. After three minutes, begin to holler: "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"

CAUTION: Listing implies no recommendation or endorsement of any activity listed. Activies listed can pose significant dangers to one's heath, happiness, marital status, continued employment, or criminal record. Participant assumes all risks, dangers, and liabilities from engaging in any activity. Not all options are available in all locations.

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a veteran public prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, specializes in the appellate practice of criminal law and writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.

No comments: