December 24, 2012
The manager was broadcasting to the waiting hordes telling them how long it would be before the store opened.
When it got to the last 10 seconds he broadcast a countdown and the hordes joined in, as only crowds of people can who are waiting for an event! When the countdown reached zero, there was a great cheer.
I couldn't wondering what the people were really cheering about - or whether they actually knew themselves. Was it the fact the store was finally open and they could get their shopping and go home? Was it that going shopping this close to Christmas is an event to cheer about in itself? Were they just going along with the countdown because that's what people do? Or couldn't they wait to shove and push their way round a store packed with people rushing for the essential items on their shopping lists - the same items that everyone else would vying for?
The worrying thought is that the queue my cousin was in was waiting for the 'shopping experience'; the expectation of all those baubles and bangles decorating the store, Christmas-wrapped fayre, special offers, and last-minute gifts they could buy. Everything they could possibly want to make their Christmas special. Everything the advertisers tell us we should want from a retail outlet.
Everything, that is, except the spirit of the time of year they are supposed to be celebrating.