I totally get how people (literally) buy into the "spirit" of Christmas. AKA the marketing machine.
Yesterday my son and I had a few hours to kill before hitting our first 3-D movie (Narnia!), so we wandered around our local mall to see what was what. I haven't been there in ages - my shop runs tend to be a quick dash to the nearest Checkers or Pick 'n Pay for supplies. And unfortunately the place was packed with Xmas shoppers.
If there's one thing I'm really not fond of it's the Wanderers. You know them - they're all on holiday, the whole blerry family, they've escaped Cape Town proper to come mosey around the same brand shops in our mall, park up our parking spaces, and stop 10 deep to chat with people they run into whom they haven't seen for a year. While the rest of us are trying to do a quick dash in to get something.
Well the mall was packed with them, made walking in a straight line impossible, as were the rules of the road when it comes to overtaking slower walkers. Eish.
But a strange thing happened. As we went from techno shop to techno shop, the reality of minimal cash in wallets turned to a want - or at worst a need - to buy stuff. No, we didn't. But it was very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you really did need that 55" LED flatscreen TV to replace the small old one at home - R35K price tag notwithstanding. Or that dropping a few hundred on random prezzies would be a good idea, while back at the ranch we really need to rather keep that to eat off... The thing is you start imagining you're wealthy enough to go in and buy, buy, buy - you almost start believing you really are.
I guess the guys that invented malls and studied the psychology of shopping knew what they were doing. Everything is designed to lure you in, convince you that you need things you actually don't, show you how shiny and nice everything is. Before you know it, the general population is racking up festive season debt that will haunt them well into the new year. While the shop owners grin all the way to the bank.
Having not spent a lot of time there in the past year, I could look at the whole phenomenon with detatchment - one eyebrow raised if you will .. :-)
We encountered something that blew us out of the water while there. Dodgy ice.
We've been noticing a billboard near town advertising "ice-skate at the mall from 10 December". I've been trying to figure out where they'd stick this one at the mall, how they planned to keep the ice solid in our summer heat etc. One day after they opened we saw exactly what they classed as ice-skating.
They've put down a thick white plastic floor in one of the central courts - ringed it in a barrier and waxed it to kingdom come. You then get to stick on ice-skates and "skate" around this magnificently hot slab of "ice" without worrying about getting wet when you inevitably take a tumble. (If I could figure out why my phone is not bluetoothing with my computer I'd show you what I'm talking about!)
That's a first!