I was out late this evening doing a bit of Christmas shopping. It is interesting to see the other shoppers wandering the aisles. I spent a long time at Wal-mart tonight. And these are my observations.
There are lots of confused and bewildered men. They wander aimlessly up and down the aisles at a total loss as to what to buy their special someone. If they are in the lingerie department, they carefully avoid eye contact with the women around them - it seems a bit awkward to ask a stranger for her opinion on the black or the red item. When shopping for chick flicks, they do extensive opinion polls - asking the other women on the aisle, "Have you seen this one?" Or in jewelry - asking the sales clerk, "What do you think my wife would like?" (Cause the clerk knows your wife so well.) Then there are the desperate and determined men. You can hear the tension in their voice. They are going to buy something worthwhile and wonderful, no matter what, darn it. (edited for you, honey!) And it's going to be the first girly item they see - then they are running for the door.
Grandmothers. God just did something unique when he created them. In the toy aisles, the grandmothers are slowing browsing. They discuss amongst themselves what their grandchildren want for Christmas and swap recomendations. They are excited about their families coming home and are trying to make the holiday perfect. Grandfathers. Most of them tonight were leaning against the buggies with vacant expressions while the grandmothers chatted.
Moms. We are - on the whole - frazzled. There were moms with lists. Lists of special ingredients to prepare special foods for the holidays. Lists of who wants what toys. There were moms yelling at spouses or children as they shopped. There were lots of moms like me wandering the aisles and randomly chunking stuff in the basket figuring somebody would like it.
Young couples. They were holding hands and going ga ga over buying their first decorations and shopping together for Christmas presents for the first time. Lots of hand holding and giggling. Rather cute.... I suppose.
So there's Wal-mart. Quite the interesting study in human behavior.
*By the way - want to know how to totally stress out a church planter? Let him realize the night before a mailer goes out that it is not printed with date, time, or contact information. We printed and stuck labels on cards forever!