My mother works in retail. Her job is that of a sales manager and she runs several large departments “as if they were her own business”, or so the saying goes.
Until one of her bosses tells her to do it like this.
My mother, who has never much liked shopping to begin with, has now developed an allergy toward shopping.
Unless it concerns shopping for her four grandchildren, two of which are mine. Then, she shops like a maniac.
But I digress.
Recently, there has been much talk about how we’re in a recession. Or approaching a depression. This has been evident in various households, around the blogworld, and even amongst shoppers my mother encounters at “her business”.
Apparently, paying cash or using a debit cards has become more fashionable than the heelless shoes of Posh Spice-Beckham. No one uses credit cards anymore.
Well, they do. But they think twice about it.
But I digress again.
Anyway, at my mother’s business, it appears that customers use debit cards and good ol’ cash to pay for stuff no one wants or needs. Because good ol’ Christmas is a shopping extravaganza, not a religious holiday I’ll have you know.
So anyway, because most of the stuff that is on display in her Menswear and Kidswear departments was ordered before we were informed by various mediatypes that we are in a recession/depression, a LOT of stuff is arriving daily in big fat trucks at the department store’s loading dock.
The stockroom guys unload the stuff and upon finding out that the various stockrooms around the store are jampackedfull of crap stock, they simply stick the boxes in the aisles of the departments.
So my mother goes to work every day and stares at boxes and boxes of items she has to unpack, sort, display, and SELL before Christmas.
Except, many people have decided that this Christmas, sticking to a budget and spending LESS on stuff no one wants or needs is the way to go about celebrating the season.
AND, spending cash instead of credit makes it somewhat easier to stick to this self-imposed rule.
There is a point to this incessant rambling. It’s coming. Bear with me.
So the other day she comes for a visit. She visits with the kids, with me, and then she goes home. She calls the next day to say hello and I ask her what she thought of my new shelves and Santa decorations I had put up a few days prior to her visit.
She said “what shelves”.
I said “the ones on the corner wall beside the front door”.
She said “I didn’t see them”.
She said “I see so much stuff at work everyday I feel like I’m blind”.
Fine. That’s ok. I can appreciate this because I too feel like there is too much stuff everywhere, especially this time of year, and our senses get overloaded.
So several days later she and my dad come for another visit. Let it be known that she arrives with a carload (let me repeat this) A CARLOAD of stuff for us. Because you see, she works in retail and has access to discounts and inside information as to what is good and a good price and on sale and all.
She brings me a new crockpot, which granted, I needed, because my old one is chipped and will continue chipping the more I use it, but I asked for it for Christmas, not for a random, everydaykindofgift.
She said she is getting me something else for Christmas. She’s such a mom.
She also brought other stuff, mostly for the kids, and some homebaked bread, which we don’t classify as “stuff” since it’s a) homemade, b) consumable, and c) did I mention homemade?
It was lovely.
So I’m unpacking the boxes and bags of stuff for the kids (the longjohns for Benjamin were on sale at H&M! – those cute tights with the flowers are for the little red dress Sonja has!) and I have an inspirational idea.
That big, awkward desk sitting in the livingroom in front of a plug that does not emit electricity and is therefore useless to me since I can’t plug the laptop into that plug and therefore can’t sit at that desk to blog procrastinate google random terms email work, that desk has been a source of irritation to both me and DH for some time.
I said to my dad, who is allergic to stuff, “can you take this desk home with you because it’s too big for this space and if you don’t take it I’ll have to store it outside in the snow because our garage is full of the stuff we still haven’t sorted thrown out unpacked for our renovated basement”.
Ok, I put the pressure on a bit there, but it is their desk, not mine.
So my dad gets a look of confusion and anxiety when mom suggests that yes, they certainly can take the desk back because they have space for it in their garage. My dad, who doesn’t like clutter, and is probably the most anal person I have ever had the displeasure of having to live with, this same dad dislikes waste even more than clutter. Or stuff.
It IS a good desk, after all.
Anyway, they take the desk. Fine. All is well and the rest of the evening passes the way evenings usually pass when tiny children are excited about their grandparents visiting.
During a quiet moment, I ask my dad the following question:
“Besides nothing, what do you want for Christmas?”
His answer, as you can probably guess, is this:
“You said it, nothing. I’m SICK AND TIRED OF LOOKING AT STUFF”.
Let it be known that minutes after this conversation ensued, he makes the following announcement:
“I could use some brandy. I don’t have any brandy left. There is this type of brandy that’s ok and a little less expensive than that type of brandy”.
So much for nothing.
And this concludes my post about too much stuff at Christmastime.