I broke one of my firm-rules-to-live-life-by this morning. I went to a large shopping centre - Southland - to do some commando Christmas shopping. You know the sort; plan your attack, get in, get out, don't get distracted, return home for a cold compress and a nice cup of tea (or gin, if it's been really bad).
Several years ago, I made a pledge to myself to stay far far away from overgrown shopping malls in December, as they are basically HELL. Much better to stick to strip shopping - far less crowded, more interesting things to choose from, and not as likely to bring on a headache.
But this weekend I had to return something to K-Mart, which meant that I had to brace myself and visit a mall. Thankfully, I made it easy on myself, arriving there at 9.30am (no problem finding a park), and getting out of there by 11am. I had to hang around a bit, as the shops didn't open until 10am; I was not alone though, as there were already dozens of other people milling about, waiting to hit the cash registers. Overall the expedition was bearable - but only just.
God knows what it's like right now (just after 2pm). There were plenty of people there this morning with a crazed look in their eye as they wandered apparently aimlessly from one shop to another, pushing others out of their way. Southland is the sort of place that can make a grown woman cry on a good day, let alone on a weekend a couple of weeks before Christmas. No wonder that Kath & Kim chose it as the setting for their favourite mall Fountain Lakes.
Now I can return to my scheduled Christmas shopping, most of which is done, and avoid the crowds as much as possible.