Add these tips to your holiday lists
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
I realize I am a week early in writing this advice column. However, I also realize most of you will not be reading my column next week.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “I never read your column unless I’m spending time in the bathroom.” For the rest of you, though, you will not be reading my piece next week because you’ll be planning for one of the biggest holidays of the year.
No, I am not talking about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is dead. Thanksgiving was slaughtered in favor of perusing sales papers, online ads and planning your lethal assault on your bank account and the poor people who will have to sell you a cheap television at 2:52 in the morning.
Each year, though, I give holiday advice on how (sane) people should behave in public, whether that be in a restaurant or mall. You might not like this advice. From previous experience, however, I can honestly say if you take offense to this advice, that means I am describing you.
So, gang, let’s begin:
1. You Cannot Have it Your Way in Most Eateries
So, maybe all the family cannot get together this year for various reasons or you finally admitted, “My family makes me want to dive into an active volcano during the holidays.” Maybe you don’t feel like doing seven piles of dishes after the Thanksgiving meal (Have you heard of paper plates and disposable pans and containers…?). Or maybe you are a terrorist or Communist sympathizer who does not recognize the Pilgrims’ one and only peaceful meal with the Natives nor President Abraham Lincoln’s demand for gratefulness while Americans were violently murdering one another in the Civil War.
You will likely head to a restaurant that is open on the holiday to have a meal by yourself or take your family of 15 there.
That’s fine. Really, it is completely okay to go out for a Thanksgiving/Black Friday Eve meal. What you need to remember, though, is that walking into a restaurant on a holiday (or any day, for that matter) does not turn you into royalty. You do not deserve to have a server or cook bow down to you because you are ordering a $3 hamburger. Sure, most people in sales are going to tell you how special you are because you are a customer, but that’s because they want your money. They don’t want to hang out with you on the weekends. So from start to finish of the meal, remember you are unique just like everyone else, m’kay?
Another thing you need to remember is that restaurants sometimes run out of items. Maybe the family of 30 ate all of the pumpkin pie the restaurant prepared. Maybe the slices of American cheese did not last as long as the restaurant planned.
You know what? You’ll survive. You’ll be okay without that extra lemon wedge in your water.
Above all, remember this cardinal rule in the restaurant industry: Do not mess with the people who have access to your food before you do. I’m just sayin’.
2. Relationship and Parental Statuses Are None of Your Business
At any family gathering (which will all take place around shopping lists this year), Great Aunt Gladys or Old Uncle Jim Bob or Snobby Cousin Sally needs to know if this person is dating someone, or if so-and-so will ever get married or when a certain husband and wife will have their first child.
Guess what? If you consistently ask such questions to family you see once or twice a year, you are disliked. Immensely.
It happens to me sometimes. Luckily, many of my relatives have been divorced, so a lot don’t ask me, “When are you getting married?” They usually whisper, “Never, ever get married,” while passing me the buttered rolls.
Some who are married actually give me the same advice.
And those who know me well are thankful I have yet to reproduce.
3. Your Family is Secretly Judging Your Spending Addiction
The sad part about the holidays is realizing who all in your family has an obvious spending addiction and might benefit from credit counseling. All year long, they cry, complain, and blame because they are in debt; cannot afford to fix this; cannot afford to pay for that; and everything else that goes along with being broke.
But Black Friday comes around and suddenly they are ballin’ (Ballin’ – to live a life of extreme wealth and flaunt it).
They buy the television at $200 off; the $150 electric toy truck that their evil child will break in three months; 90 Old Navy scarves advertised at $1 apiece if you shop between 3-4 a.m.; and something made by the Apple company. Those are just a few of the items they buy.
Then January comes and they are filing for bankruptcy while complaining about how badly little Jane and Johnny are spoiled.
4. No One in This World Cares That You Did Not Get the Last Blitz Item
So, you pitched a tent at 7 p.m. Wednesday in order to be the first one to enter a store’s doors at 1 a.m. on Black Friday. Unfortunately for you, 67 people pitched a tent ahead of you, and now you missed out on the discounted coffee pot and towel set. You know who cares about your loss? You. You know who REALLY doesn’t care that you did not get the last drill that features 490 bits? The salespeople. They have been awake for probably 24 hours and are only on hour four of their workday. No one pities you. True, people are secretly judging your selfishness and those who managed to swipe the only three drills that were in stock are smugly glancing your way as you shove an elderly person out of yours. Other than that, you are on your own.
But if you get arrested for any Black Friday antics, I will care. I will care and feature you on page one of the next edition.
5. Is it Really Wise to be Rude in This Day and Age?
Everyone has a cell phone these days, including your 102 year-old grandfather and two year-old nephew. Most of those people have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts, as well. If you have a meltdown in a store this holiday season – freaking out over that drill again; verbally abusing the small child who accidentally bumped into you; or threatening the cashier who would probably rather be at home at midnight instead of bagging up the 38 rolls of wrapping paper you bought – someone in that store is going to get your picture or footage of you behaving badly. And then the evidence will be shared over and over until it is eventually picked up by Yahoo! and advertised across the world.
And if it happens locally, or you are a local who is captured on film elsewhere, it might end up in local papers.
And I might write a column about you. I’m just sayin’.
So, remember, this holiday season (or shopping season, whichever you choose), someone is watching you. No, it’s not Santa Claus, but it is someone with a cell phone who will take pictures or videos and post online the nasty note you left for your waiter; the way you ripped that $1 DVD from the hands of a little girl; or how you berated the poor cashier because your credit card was declined three times in a row.
Then, of course, there is me – always looking for something to write about, especially since I warned you to behave.
And to all servers, cashiers, cooks, stockers, custodians, and others having to work with rabid customers this holiday season – may the force (and a cell phone) be with you.
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