Riding the All-Consuming Wave

Boxing Day is one of those days when I’m convinced the entire world’s sanity takes a 90-degree turn just south of common sense and doesn’t look back.

I woke up this morning, thinking that I’d go out and do my Happy New Year’s present shopping (because that IS the real holiday, in my book), and stare, slack-jawed with wallet at ready, at all of the GREAT DEALS! Because hey! - Boxing Day is the day when all of those corporate, soulless, indiscriminately evil box stores unveil their so - cheap - you - can’t refuse - and - oh - well - we - really - could - use - another - plunger prices.

And I am such a sucker.

Two hours later I’m standing in the middle of the Polo Park shopping mall (which is called that because Winnipeg has such a deep history in the mystical Polo arts), literally squeezed and squished by a massive horde of people ripping, and tearing, and screaming, and yanking, and crying, and grimacing, and moaning, and gesticulating, and hitting people in the face with their large, tasseled purses, but it’s all okay because everything is 70% off and we are saving money like you wouldn’t believe.

It’s truly mad. The cacophany of voices all exulting in the wild, money-splurging decadence of it all is at once orgastic and simultaneously frightened and childlike; a group egged on by consumeristic lust, but afraid of being crushed to death in the resulting scramble. I’m overwhelmed and somewhat in awe. I also had forgotten just how many people live in Winnipeg.

At the sole box store I had the balls to venture into the scene was the same, except there it was big-ticket items that were flying out the door - massive, big-screen TV’s so big you’ll need to buy a brand new home just to fit the damn thing in, soup-to-nuts computer systems with every single kind of input device known to man, massive stereos, cutting-edge DVD players, electronic eggbeaters, Internet-enabled toilet seats… I’m aghast at the seemingly insurmountable level of credit that the place seems to be devouring at a frantic rate. That bill a year from now is going to hurt.

The whole experience reminded me of a carefully orchestrated, mass panic attack. Even the cashiers were panicked - a screamingly loud, young girl’s voice kept shrieking over the loudspeakers, “WE NEED MORE CASHIERS UP HERE NOW! NOW! NOW!” and after thirty minutes of soaking in this bedlam (and watching two grown men actually crying at one point because they had missed out on the last Panasonic DVD player for $149) I said, “enough!”, bought a half-dozen donuts and went off to soak my head in some well-deserved glucose bombing.

After all that, what did I end up buying? A 2002 planner, the aforementioned donuts (mmmmmm… donuts) and a pack of gum. Ride ‘em, cowboy.

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