That store hasn’t been a great shopping experience for me. Nevertheless, I went because I do like what they sell. It isn’t even the clerks that are the problem, but the customers. On my last visit, a woman cut me off to be first even though I was next and trying to get the woman in front of me to take my place because she should be first. When a new line opened another clerk didn’t even call me over. It was one of those situations where a rope and a sign read, “Line starts here” and I was the only one following that rule.
This trip should have been simple. I came for two picture frames. I walked into the store and went to the picture frame aisle. There were two carts in that narrow aisle. One woman peered over the couple blocking the artery and looked as if she wanted to browse further down the aisle. I looked pointedly at the shelves where the couple stood arguing about pictures and seemed unaware that neither of us could get around them. Finally, I left the aisle and circled to the otherside to look at the other end of the same aisle. That couple continued to block the aisle and argue about Christmas.
“I hate Christmas.” The woman holds two picture frames side-by-side.
The man sighs. It’s one of those long sighs as if his wife or girlfriend has been dragging him all over town Christmas shopping—a man’s least favorite activity. “Me, too.”
“Well, R and L aren’t getting any more than one gift. We’re all ready getting their kids something.” She put down one frame and picked up another.
“One?” The man protests.
“It’s their own fault that they have kids. We can’t afford to buy every single person a gift. Okay, that’s enough, I think.”
“Make a list of what you want and I’ll alphabetize it and pick them up later.” The man sounded tired.
“We’re not done yet.”
“We’ve got everyone.”
“Not everyone. We have to get something for S and M.”
“We get something for E; we have to get something for S and M.”
Their voices rose an octave higher, and they were still in my way. All I wanted was to look at the 8×10 frames; not the 5×7 or the 4×6 frames that were easily accessible. I kept looking at the frames I needed and the two didn’t notice. Finally, they left.
I had gotten stressed just by being around people who were already on the brink of losing their cool. All I wanted were two 8×10 frames. I barely left that store with my Christmas spirit intact. And yet, I know that is not Christmas. What’s worse than hating Christmas is giving gifts you don’t want to give. You’re fulfilling an obligation. People who hate Christmas give awful gifts. On the other hand, we can all keep our Christmas spirit intact if we simplify Christmas. There’s joy in giving to others, moreso than receiving.
Just give one gift well. No one needs a whole slew of useless gifts given because it’s expected. That’s what makes the day after Christmas return line so long. Plus, if we kept our eyes on the reason for the season perhaps our joy could well up even in that awful store. Maybe we could shine a light for Him surrounded by people more interested in cut-throat deals than in the babe in the manger.
I think people forget what Christmas should be, and I think God is allowing our country to suffer so we can remember how it used to be and come back to Him.
What are your shopping horror stories? And how did you shine for Him in it?