This is why we can’t have nice things – shopping version

This is tax-free shopping weekend in TN. Tax-free weekend is like a ten percent off coupon. It’s a popular excuse to cram all your back to school purchases into three days. People who think shopping is an athletic competition probably love tax-free weekend. For everyone else, it’s far less fun.

Tax-free weekend drivers are horrible. When I say horrible, I mean rude, selfish and completely unconcerned about traffic laws. Imagine u-turns in the middle of the road, traffic jams that have people blocking intersections while the light changes from green to red and back to green again and the special snowflakes who deliberately block other drivers from merging. The parking lot driving is even worse. Mad Max style parking space battles and a steady stream of middle finger waving are unbecoming in a community that usually epitomizes southern hospitality. At one point yesterday, my reward for backing up three inches to see behind the giant SUV on either side of my parking space was a car racing up behind me, stopping directly behind me to pin me in, a 30-second horn blare and a single finger display. Thank you parking lot vengeance lady, you taught me a real lesson about absolutely nothing.

Alas, the extra special behavior is not limited to people traveling to and from their retail destinations. The behavior inside stores is a veritable cornucopia of personality quirks that are too unpleasant for any sitcom characters.

Have you met the Moses shopper? This person expects everyone else in the store to stop standing at a display rack and move out of the way for them. If you don’t automatically part a pathway for the royalty that is Moses, they will TELL you to move. It doesn’t matter f you just stepped up to the rack and are reaching out to pull something down. When Moses approaches, you must cease your shopping and wait. Moses does not wait.

When hopping backwards to wait for Moses to commandeer someone else’s spot in the store, watch out for the children who nobody else seems to be watching. While I give these children huge points for whatever imaginary game they have created while stuck indoors on a perfect summer day, they are quite literally tripping other customers. With speed that would make Dash Parr jealous, the self entertained children of shoppers zip in front of, around and between unsuspecting shoppers without warning and offer zero apologies for the people bowled down in their wake.

There are also children who aren’t bouncing off customers like pinballs in an arcade. Sadly, there is at least one parent in every store who uses their child’s stroller as a battering ram and bulldozer. The sting of a stroller being deliberately slammed into your ankle is intended to clear the path, much like the Moses shopper, but it doesn’t take a physicist to know that this behavior could result in someone falling ON the stroller with a very small child trapped inside. Stroller bullies don’t care. Maybe they think that the mountain of clothes on hangers with jagged edges and sharp pins in packaged shirts that are carelessly thrown atop the tiny child will protect that child when someone’s grandmother collapses on the stroller after being rammed in the back of their knees.

The most vile and unredeemable character in the stores is the shoplifter. Everyone sees them. Nothing seems to deter them. We need to rise up and collectively shame the parasitic shoplifters. Evil eye doesn’t phase shoplifters, but what if we all agree to evil eye AND point silently at shoplifters until they slither out of the store and crawl back home without loads of stolen merchandise.

Honorable mentions go to the shopper behind you who sighs loudly and complains every time you stop your cart for a millisecond and the shoppers who completely block an aisle with their carts while they chat and laugh as though the coffee cups in their hand were cocktails.

Shop faster and shop slower simultaneously. Shopping is fun, except when it isn’t.

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