Editorial Note: I first posted this a couple of years ago, but after a day of shopping yesterday, I felt compelled to say it again!
Among all the concerns raised every year about the lack of “Christmas Spirit”, I too have a complaint. I was sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot when it came to me.
I had been trying for nearly 30 minutes to move from one end of the lot to the other. My wife had walked to the bookstore, and I was supposed to pick her up. Moments turned into minutes, and minutes seemed like hours. Eventually, time started going backward.
Unchristian thoughts entered my head. I began to contemplate how much damage it would do to my van if I ran over one of the pedestrians instead of letting them across. I mean, with so many shoppers, who would miss one or two?
My blood pressure was rising. My Christmas spirit was shrinking. I was quickly transforming into an alter ego I like to call “Scrinch”. Part Scrooge, part Grinch, he appears unannounced at least once or twice every December.
That’s when it hit me. No, not the tailgater behind me. The reason for all this madness. The problem is, there is TOO MUCH Christmas spirit. The reason it was taking me thirty minutes to drive the distance I could walk in two was because somewhere ahead in that great unknown, somebody felt it necessary to let another car go ahead of him. In fact, the guy in front of me (that I let into line) was letting two or three cars at a time pull in front of him.
And why? Just to make themselves feel better. If I let someone in front, I MUST have the holiday spirit, or so the reasoning goes. What kind of motivation is that? All that act helped was one person. In exchange for an espresso-powered shot of “feel good about myself”, dozens of others are forced to sit, stew, and simmer.
It really doesn’t even help the person that much. They’ve been allowed into a line where they too will have to sit and wait for an indeterminable period of time. All you’ve actually done is destroy their Christmas joy.
So I say “Death to Civility”. Go ahead and tailgate. Don’t let that bum in line. Feel good about being a Scrinch. Throw in a “Bah! Humbug!” as you pass them by. The people behind you will thank you. Even your victim will thank you. They may not appreciate it now, but in the long run it’s better for everyone. Who knows? Maybe eventually they too will come to their senses and understand what a favor you did them.