Commentary: The 6 people you will encounter while holiday shopping

December 16, 2013
Shoppers laden with bags of sale items walk South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. Nov. 29.  Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Shoppers laden with bags of sale items walk South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. Nov. 29.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

The holidays’ daze smells of Cinnabon and Sbarro and is mixed with sounds of whining children in your local shopping mall.

Here are the people you will meet as you aim to finish the last of your holiday shopping:

Person Testing Perfume Like It’s Febreze

The amount of beauty products in Sephora alone can make your eyes bleed, but Person Testing Perfume Like It’s Febreze is now giving you a migraine.

Colombia does not grow nearly enough coffee beans to untie the knot in your sinuses caused by the person’s search for the ultimate scent. In this journey of no real destination, she probably has several methods to convince herself whether Chanel No. 5 or Miss Dior is the smell of the century — including, but not limited to, using no less than 3.5 billion testing strips and throwing them on the ground, continuously dousing her wrists with Fantasy then rubbing them together so methodically you’d think Britney Spears would emerge, then spraying a cumulonimbus cloud of Vera Wang into the air and walking into it.

If Person Testing Perfume Like It’s Febreze is seeking new cologne for her boyfriend, though, do not expect to leave the beauty counter smelling anything less than Usher giving Justin Bieber a hug while Brad Pitt is throwing up on them. Even Abercrombie & Fitch will think she overdid it.

The Retail Employee’s Worst Nightmare

The Retail Employee’s Worst Nightmare likely just walked into Forever 21.

She makes her entrance known by tripping over a mannequin platform and spilling her coffee all over a sheer white top, but leaving all evidence otherwise untouched (and uncleaned). She then feels the need to touch every single garment with hands freshly removed from a trail mix of Doritos and Cheetos and to completely unfold every single sweater in the “Buy One Get One Free” display (because, of course, the medium and the small sizes look too different for her to tell).

The Retail Employee’s Worst Nightmare tries on a party dress three sizes too small (because she refuses to believe she is, indeed, a size eight), and breaks the zipper trying to prove herself otherwise. Nevertheless, the Retail Employee’s Worst Nightmare returns the dress to its rightful place behind the boy’s cords in the kids’ section. Or on the ground somewhere.

The Retail Employee’s Worst Nightmare spends 96 minutes in the store and ultimately buys nothing, but leaves with two “free” rings that are stuck on her fingers.

Customer Who Does Not Understand Store’s Return Policy

The blazer has shoulder pads and the scrunchies are all cut from velvet, but Customer Who Does Not Understand Store’s Return Policy has used just about every member of the nativity scene in his swearing about how he bought this stuff within the last decade.

This person will be damned if he does not leave Macy’s with a full refund, $120 in store credit and free perfume samples sprinkled with a separate and sincere apology from every employee on the payroll. Accountants on April 14 likely experience less cumulative stress than the poor young woman at the cashier dealing with Customer Who Does Not Understand Store’s Return Policy, and if it wasn’t for her manager watching the whole situation from around the corner, she would give this customer her paychecks for the next three years for him to just leave her alone.

Of course, the situation is worsened by a checkout line reaching out the door and at least three toddlers throwing tantrums somewhere in the store, so the customer ends up leaving with what he wanted, thus leaving every other customer also not understanding the store’s return policy.

Person Hosting A Party In The Changing Room

The Person Hosting A Party In The Changing Room is the very reason why employees are instructed to check on their patrons every five minutes.

This person has been trying on the same denim button-up for the last 40 minutes and is showing no signs of leaving her stall wearing the clothes in which she entered any time soon. She’s putting shame to clown cars everywhere as she expands the people capacity of the 6-foot by 6-foot room at a rate of two per minute, and just when it sounds like all the ladies agree on “how cute” the Person Hosting A Party In The Changing Room looks, one loudmouth points out the tag doesn’t lay flat and perhaps another shirt should be tested.

When the Person Hosting A Party In The Changing Room finally makes her exeunt alongside her entourage, there is little to no doubt you will be trying on your jeans in the remnants of her decision-making. Empty hangers, misplaced undergarments and an empty Wendy’s bag greet you as you strip to the background noise of the Person Hosting A Party’s phone ringing because she left it in there.

Also, she did not buy the denim button-up.

Deserverer Of All Discounts

Deserverer Of All Discounts could probably finagle a way to buy the entire Auntie Anne’s pretzel chain with a 75-percent off coupon.

If the entire store is not under a 30-percent discount upon entrance, this person will make sure it is by the time she leaves using the power of coupons, loopholes and “damaged” merchandise. This close cousin of Customer Who Does Not Understand Store’s Return Policy is personally offended when the cashier points out the three-days-past expiration date of this customer’s Groupon deal, because this is obviously a questioning of her intelligence.

“Yes, I can read!” Of course, ma’am, you just didn’t read the important part of a coupon that makes it effective.

It is likely to believe the Deserverer Of All Discounts thinks all rules of society are as flimsy as those set by the standards of the free market. This person also probably realized those rings would not fit on her fingers, but walking out of the store with them for free would really be a statement to “the man.”

Person With Chronic Buyer’s Remorse

Person With Chronic Buyer’s remorse believes no decision made in life can be undid. Everything is in a state of permanence once the mind is made, and the choice to buy that bracelet in silver rather than copper is simply irreversible.

Money is no object to the Person With Chronic Buyer’s Remorse — it’s a god, and this person has somehow connected the “irresponsible” purchase of a $7 pair of socks to being fat, never getting married and dying alone. There is no turning back. It’s done. It’s over. He’s poor. What’s life? Who are we? What, how? Who, when?

Eventually, Person With Chronic Buyer’s Remorse is checked into an asylum, diagnosed with losing all common cents.

Happy holidaze.

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