It's the holiday season. A time of joy. A time of laughter. A time when everyone likes to buy their favorite friends and family members presents whilst being total dicks to all the strangers in their path. Let's all go to NorthPark and play Holiday Shopping Bingo!
The Twitchy-Eyed Mom Her give-a-shitter is busted. She's been dragging two kids around this mall for two hours, and she will cut you if you glare at her scream-crying toddler. She is out of diapers and there are no more snacks in her purse. One wrong move, and this entire mall explodes in a blaze of red-green-blue-glitter glory.
The Lost Soul Just came here for one thing. Hit a wall of anxiety when the Macy's door closed and he was cut off from regular civilization. Has only been walking through the tie section for an hour, but has somehow grown a full beard and aged 30 years.
The Santa Today, he's got all the crying kids. All of them. And who could blame them? You say, "Don't talk to strangers, but do sit on the lap of this old bearded dude we don't know who is always super overdressed for this weather and smells of cigarettes, toddler pee and cinnamon gum, and tell him all your deepest wants and wishes. I'mma take a photo to capture the strangest moment of your childhood." Santa can't wait to get paid so he can hit up the dang Nordstrom Spa. Donner and Blitzen are gonna lose their fucking reindeer minds over those heated lavender blankets. (Related: Which comes first, the beard or the belly? I hope it's the beard. I like the idea of a guy's friends saying, "You know, if you just gained some solid weight, you could be an awesome Santa.")
Your New Best Friend This lady or dude is bored waiting in line with you at the Bath & Body Works. It's only been five seconds, but this person has decided you'll be the "BE FRI" of the friendship bracelet, and they'll be the "ST ENDS" after your Country Apple Blast Body Splash Wash Puff purchase is complete. Usually starts the conversation with something holiday-related that somehow ends in political punctuation. "You know, Christmas carols are super creepy, if you think about it. I mean, if my dad caught my mom kissing Santa Claus, a fuckin' treat it would not have been, if you know what I'm saying. Adultery is no joke, y'all. Thanks, Obama."
The Bitchy Bitcher This guy (or girl, I guess) will bitch about anything. You could call him a Grinch, but that's kinda shitting on The Grinch, right? I'm not sure if you read that Grinch story all the way through, but the dude turns out to be a pretty gentle soul. He would never, for example, request to see a store manager. Ever.
The Kid He has one primal need: Touch everything. All of it. He will complete this mission, for his determination and upper body strength exceed his age. If you make eye contact with him, you will see The True Joy of the Holiday Season. And for that, you will pay dearly. The last thing you will remember is the entire Waterford Four Hundred Days of Christmas Ornaments display falling over and all of the screams.
The Whisper-Singing Browser She's looking for a size 6T in this princess dress, and while she's at it, she's gonna whisper-sing the shit out of The Jackson 5 version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." Her whisper-singing is unmatched. She knows to wait a beat just before "SAAAAnta Claus is comin' to town -- Oh YEAH!" And just wait for the high note in "All I Want For Christmas Is You." It's like Mariah Carey is right next to you. (My favorite game to play with whisper-singing browsers is to point at them and sing the song they're singing back at them, super loudly. It creates amazing. I dare you to do it.)
The Carrying Way Too Much Person Apparently, dude has one time to shop for his entire family, and this is it. You can see that the ends of his fingers are blue because the bags he's carrying are so heavy, they've cut off circulation. He will hit you in the back of the calf with his Le Creuset stewpot tucked inside a Williams-Sonoma box that has all the sharpest corners. He will say he is sorry about that, but you will know that he is not.
Angry Parker She had her blinker on for that spot. You will receive the fuck-you-forever eyeballs, the what-the-hell arms in the air and the freshly-manicured double bird. Happiest holidays.
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The "this is why I only shop online" Friend You dragged her into this mess after a lunch date and she just shakes her head the entire time and talks about how you should get Amazon Prime. You tell her forethought isn't your holiday forte, and Amazon doesn't fucking sell all the scented jewelry and infinity scarf magic from Anthropologie, so you had to come to the store. She says, "That makes sense," but thinks you're the dumbest human she has ever met.
The Cashier He asked for this day off. He really did. But he's new, so he had to work. Which means, when the store is at its busiest, it has the least qualified cashiers helping you. Oh, glorious shopping wonderland! Little known fact: The number of holiday cashiers available at any given time in the universe is inversely proportional to the number of people ready to check out. There's something in The Force that expires cashiers at the exact moment you think, "OK, I'm ready to get out of here." Also: There is a special place in hell for people who are mean to holiday cashiers. Everybody's doing their best here. And Santa's fucking watching you. Don't be a jingle-dickhead.