Presents on Christmas Day are always a magical affair, the smiles of joy when your loved ones unwrap that amazingly perfect gift, that shows them you are aware of their every deepest recess of desire, enough to give them exactly what they wanted for Christmas.
Working in retail for the Christmas period however, you become all too aware of the serious groundwork that goes into creating such an idylic festive scene…
Within my job as a sales assitant in a major clothing store, I am privy to every possible method of gift buying anxiety. My favourites are without doubt, the men. The boyfriends/fathers/husbands, who wander around the shop in a overwhelmed haze, desperately searching every display for something that could act as an acceptable present for their lucky lady. Then there’s the fortunate few who have actually been specifically instructed by their wife/daughter/girlfriend as to what to buy, having religiously memorised the product name, code and colour to be hurredly recited as soon as I approach. Some have even been given paper instructions, the desired item explicitly printed out from the inernet for rapid and accurate purchasing.
Then there’s the shopping couples. For the majority of the time, the man scuttles along at his woman’s side, clutching piles of clothes that she has personally selected as suitable gifts for herself, to be paid for by him at the counter. I once encountered a couple who had respectively selected woolly hats for themselves, before actively paying for each other’s hat (which, to make matters more ridiculous, had exactly the same value) and swapping them over once the transaction was complete. The most amazing of all these bizarre Christmas shopping processes however, had been adopted by a lady I served at the counter. She had apprehended her husband’s credit card in order to buy herself armfuls of items, in order to, so she told me, take them home for her husband to wrap up and then give back to her on Christmas Day.
It seems to me that there is only one thing that registers for the average Christmas shopper-that one way or another they will get exactly what they want.