What Happened To The Ghost Of Christmas Easy?

Due to space in the mini-van (I need room for the cage matches), we've been buying gifts on line and having them shipped ahead of us. You would think that avoiding all the hassles and frustration of going to actual stores - the crowds, finding a parking space, or getting rain checks for out-of-stock toys - would all be easily avoided by the convenience of browsing the web from home. It's what most of us do during the day anyway so no big deal, right? Wrong.

Granted, I'm shopping for about 85 people (actually it's about 7 or 8, but when you figure in teachers, the bus driver, school gift exchanges, gag presents for the office party, ones for clients that are a-holes, and a whole list of others you are obligated to spend between $10 - $20 on, that number balloons up pretty fast). To keep it straight, I had to come up with a spreadsheet that incorporated spending formulas, gift counts, shipping numbers, and estimated delivery dates, to ensure everyone was getting an even amount of gifts for the same general price, and that they would all magically arrive right in the nick of time. And by nick of time, I mean 11:30PM on the 24th allowing for about 30 to 40 minutes to get them wrapped before all the kids go jumping out of bed to relieve the anxiety disorder they've been suffering through since December 1.

One thing I learned going from one web page to another is that there is a wide (wide wide wide) variation in pricing on the same item depending on where you are searching. Example: a set of girl's Tinker Toys. Toys R Us $36. Amazon.com (without fees and shipping) $87. That's just one of about ten or twelve others I could mention. At one point I had tabs opened in my browser for Amazon, Toys R Us, Target, Wall Mart, KB Toy, E Bay, Lego, Hasbro, and some wholesaler in China going by the name of Crazy Uncle Chang's Discount Toy For Boy or Girl Who Will Love Toy Long Time... dot com. Needless to say, it crashed the computer and gave my hard drive led poisoning.

After two days of this I was left with a migraine as big as this great state of Texas, and no way to relieve the insanity like I've been accustomed to in the past. At least while shopping at the stores I could lay on the horn at that one guy who feels the need to block traffic as he waits 30 minutes for a family with quintuplets to pull out of that "perfect" parking spot. It appears pointing and clicking will just never replace the feeling of victory from getting that last Mission To Mars LEGO set on the shelf by beating some old lady over the head with a roll of Joy To The World wrapping paper. What happened to the days when Christmas used to be easy?

Here's a Christmas carol in celebration of what The Holidays do us.

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