About the only time I’ll walk into a department store to buy gifts is just prior to Christmas.
The task can be overwhelming if one doesn’t have ideas about what to buy.
I’ve never been a shopper — something about the activity just makes me uncomfortable.
I do not like going into stores and “window shopping” like my father and sister.
They’re the kind of people who can spend hours in a mall, come out with one item or no items and call the day a successful adventure.
To me, a trip like that would receive a failing grade.
I’ve inherited my shopping habits from my mother.
We are of a breed of people who see a task and want to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
I can remember shopping for school clothes with her in my adolescence and hardly being able to keep up with her as she power-walked through department stores at a breakneck pace to find the exact amount of shirts, pants, shoes and other school supplies I needed to make it through the year.
That’s also how she approaches Christmas shopping, and she’s passed that practice onto me.
I need a list for the people I’m buying for so I can go into a store, buy the items listed and then leave as quickly as possible.
I don’t want to spend time thinking, “Well, this colander wasn’t on so-and-so’s list, but should I get it anyway? Buying this noodle straining device when it wasn’t on the list might show I really understand and love them.”
I went into a department store once without a list, and I came out empty-handed.
That trip was demoralizing.
It reminded me of taking the math portion of the ACT in high school.
I slowly plodded through that section of the test, implementing the menial amount of math skill that resides in my brain.
At one point, the test proctor said it was time to move onto the next portion of the test.
I was only about two-thirds done.
I had to move on without completing the task. It was gut wrenching, which was nearly the same feeling I got when I went shopping without a list and didn’t end up buying anything.
I felt lost, without purpose and slightly perturbed.
I certainly hope I never have a shopping trip like that again.
Actually, I know I won’t have another unsuccessful Christmas shopping venture because I have a plan for anybody who wants a gift from me without giving me any ideas: they’re getting a colander.
— Derrick Knutson is editor of the ECM Post Review