Now that Halloween is over with, we now rush headlong into that most amazing, magical and harrowing time of the year: namely, Retail Advertising Beginning Increasingly Earlier Season, or RABIES. In the past, RABIES was well contained, usually starting around mid-November with its peak hitting sometimes around Christmas Eve. However, a new generation of increasingly aggressive strains of marketing executives have emboldened this season, to where outbreaks frequently happen as early as New Year’s Day.
There are some useful, vital and highly irrelevant ways to survive this most dangerous of seasons. We must be on our guard against any sort of complacency and, in the interest of keeping bank accounts from becoming hosts for bloodsucking parasitic branch managers who constantly advertise “Overdraft Privilege” instead of genuine benefits, here are some tips to survive this year’s RABIES period.
- Have a plan or, at the very least, an evacuation map. When you arrive at your location, remember where you parked. This is not only important for locating your car, but also for figuring out the most efficient way to get out of the shopping center without feeling the need to go online to Amazon and order a drone strike on the text-messaging jerk who just cut you off and now is taking a turn at three feet per day. Informational Only: Currently prices for Drone Strikes start at $199.00 with a 10 minute turnaround. Zero-percent financing for those who qualify.
- Know the enemy, and imagine them naked. As you go through the stores, scavenging like a turkey vulture for that all-important bottle of perfume will somehow make your sweetie “break out” so you have to get a store credit so he/she can get something else but really, really loved your effort, bear in mind that there are others like you who are trying to find similar items which will cause similar “allergic” reactions. The best thing to do if someone shoves you is not to punch them square in the nose, risking a call to an attorney who advertises themselves as “the Strongarm” (actually exists here in Atlanta), but instead imagine them naked, and promptly vomit in their shopping cart, excusing yourself as having had an “allergic reaction” to the perfume they just sprayed. Protocol note: If it’s a hot woman and you’re a straight man, imagine a cat impaling your reproductive unit with unclipped claws. Trust me, it works!
- Hunt for the deals, and have plenty of ammo when doing so. If you feel like Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff every time you step into your local retail establishment, then you understand that shopping is not about pleasure; it is a blood sport conceived by advertising executives and retail CEOs who wish to harvest human organs to genetically modify into future docile shoppers willing to go out and by cheaply made merchandise at “low, low, prices.” Seriously though, the deals can be found if you know when you shop – mainly, the day after Christmas! I truly believe the Great Schism, in which the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches split centuries ago, was actually sparked by the realization that the best deals happen between Christmas and New Years. Yes, I’m expecting to be excommunicated by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch any second now – I’ll add the declaration to my collection.
- Eat right, exercise, and remember to drink (heavily). There is nothing worse than going out to shop for those special gifts than an feeling the rumble in your tummy from smelling all the different cuisines in the “Food Court” and realizing that they are really the same Chinese food being covered in an array of “authentic” sauces and seasonings. Worse still are the cramps in the associated body parts from loading up on any of these high quality food items (legal disclaimer: I have been instructed to say this is a legal disclaimer about food). The basic advice here is simple – eat at home, drink at home and, if possible, stay at home and shop. If you can’t stay at home, make sure to save enough taxi fare that any “hydration” does not result in operation of your personal motor vehicle. While drunk shopping is acceptable (I’ve done it); drunk driving is not.
- Know the location of all fee-free ATMs and immediately use them before air strikes are called in. With ATM fees at an all time high, it is vitally important that you know where any ATMs are to have sufficient cash on hand in order to purchase from vendors who are still operating from a Fred Flintsone-style kiosk made of rock and animal skins. Of course, this being America, there are a bevy of ways to avoid fees at ATMs, including getting cash back with your “debit card, now with overdraft privilege” and locating so-called “fee free ATMs.” Please bear in mind, these ATMs many not only have skimmers, but also trap doors into darkened rooms where bank executives will interrogate you as to why you are looking to leave their financial institution and who you plan to tell about the “free” ATM. No matter how strong your will is, they will make you talk!
- Remember we live in an increasingly sensitive time. There are some words which simply cannot be said in polite company, in public, or on planet Earth. These words and phrases, regarded as highly insensitive and even inflammatory, will be shared now strictly for informational purposes. They include “customer service,” “quality,” “value,” “return and exchange,” “appreciate your business,” “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” “Happy Kwanzaa,” “free parking,” “surcharge free,” “No interest ever,” and the all-time worst offender, “Free gift wrap.” Of course, traditional expressions of holiday cheer, including middle fingers, extreme profanity, and road rage, are still considered acceptable and embraced by the populace.
Happy shopping, and good luck this RABIES season! I’m getting my shot tomorrow.