Ahhh… tis the season to shop…
I was so proud of myself for having started my Christmas shopping in a record early time. The problem is that I didn’t finish it as early as I should have, so with less than 1 month until the big day, I still find myself in the thick of the madness, albeit with fewer things to buy.
My first stop yesterday was a clothing outlet. All I wanted was a simple gift card. How hard could that possibly be? I got 2 steps inside the store, and looked at the huge line of people snaking back from the counter. I have to learn to perfect my “inside voice” because sometimes I say things out loud that are really meant for me alone. “Yeah… I don’t think so!” was what came out this time. The clerk closest to me looked over as I turned around and walked out. I crossed my fingers that I could find the gift card in one of those “gift card mall” shelves that they have in some grocery stores.
Then I went into the electronics store. I knew exactly what I wanted. The problem was it was hiding behind a locked door. I could see it. I could touch it. All I needed to do was convince a store clerk that I was worthy of the purchase, and then convince him or her to call their supervisor to get the one and only key that would open that lock. Sounds easy, right? Oh, how wrong I was.
I stood there. And stood there. And stood there some more. Why is it when I DON’T need assistance, I get mauled by eager clerks attempting to impress me with a memorized list of benefits of some product… but when I DO need a clerk (or just the key, dammit!) I can’t find anyone for the life of me? I eventually hunted down one girl who was looking something up on a computer monitor and asked her if she was busy.
“I know exactly what I want. All I need is for you to get it for me, please” She was pleasantly surprised, and seemed quite happy not to have to answer questions about what I was looking for. For some reason, though, it still took awhile to find a supervisor to unlock the magical vault of electronic goodies. I thanked Susan for her assistance, and told her that I did not envy her (or any of them), especially at this time of year. All in all, it took way too long to get out of there. If I had any hair left, I would have yanked it out at the roots. I hope that my kids appreciate this. We’ll see.
Then I attempted to brave the mall. I should have known when I couldn’t find a parking spot within sight of the building that I was in for a treat. I’m surprised that I’m not still walking from my car to that door. I almost turned around part-way, but then told myself that I’d only have to come back another day. I might as well get it all over and done with in one last shot.
Yeah. As if.
I’m pretty patient, but apparently Friday afternoon is not a good time to go wandering through the mall, no matter how many times you tell yourself that these people should all be at work. Apparently they’re all shift workers too. I managed to get a couple of things from one store, and that was it for me. I’d had enough. It was time to get groceries.
Sobeys was actually not too bad. I did a quick walk-through to make sure that I wasn’t going to be bumping carts with a thousand other people, then started on my regular route. Geeze, I’m getting tired of roasts being on sale. Can’t they put chicken on sale? I love my beef, but I’m going to start grazing in my spare time if I consume any more of the stuff.
What a great thrill it was to see that they had the clothing store gift card that I had refused to wait in line for earlier! I picked it up, and another for a restaurant that I wanted to give. Everything was going so well, as I pulled up to the cashier and began putting my items on the counter.
$165. Hmm.. not too bad.. considering $65 of that was for gift cards. But then she told me that the gift cards did not get activated when she scanned them in. As she tried to sort it out with the head cashier, you could almost hear the collective groan of all the people behind me. Yes, I had become THAT guy…
Finally she told me that I would have to go to Customer Service, and that the girl would activate them there for me. My obvious question was “And WHY is she going to believe me?”… Was it really going to be that simple? “Joclyne will take care of you”, she told me.
Joclyne? Yup. Joclyne.
Joclyne was great, but she had no better luck with these stubborn cards than the first cashier did. She DID manage to convince me that I didn’t have to re-pay for the cards, though. The first cashier told me that because they didn’t get activated, that Sobeys did not receive the money for them, although I could quite clearly see on my slip where I had paid for them. I said “There’s no way that I have $165 worth of groceries in this cart!”, but how many times have I said THAT? Well, Joclyne explained that the first cashier should have done a refund. “Nope!”
I was just about ready to give up on the gift cards when Joclyne’s supervisor somehow managed (we think) to get the cards authorized. She apologized for the wait. “Hey, not your fault. Things happen. And I guess we’ll see in a month from now if it really works.”
So beware if you get a gift card from me!
The worst part is that I still have some shopping left. I still need to get my Christmas cards, and get them in the mail. I still need some Christmas wrapping paper. So if you get something wrapped in FutureShop flyers with a yellow sticky note attached to it, you’ll know why!
Gotta FINISH earlier next year!