Christmas spirit hard to find in a crowded store

My wife said, “Let me show you what I got Mark and Matt for Christmas.”

Earth-tone, fleece pullovers with zipper closures at the neckline, my favorite style…but only two garments, none for me. I smiled, wondering.

Excitedly, “A store on Scenic Highway had them on sale for $10.99, regularly $36.00. They had several colors. There were a couple colors you’d like. I thought about getting you one,” she said.

I wondered why she hadn’t. Maybe the honeymoon is history.

Feelings miffed, I drove to Snellville. The store needed a bigger parking lot. After circling until I was bored I spotted a car leaving and got into a position to park. An SUV zipped into the space, missing my bumper by inches.

I don’t take lightly to inconsideration. I waited. A defensive manatee for the Falcons climbed out of the SUV. I became a quick pacifist, non-confrontational. I followed the incredible bulk into the store … from a distance.

The store was busy. Avoiding people checking out, I ask a cashier where the $10.99 zipper tops were located. She pointed. That wasn’t too specific or helpful.

Several minutes later I had not found the $10.99 items. I approached a cashier again.

I noticed no one smiling. Customers should be jubilant on Super Sale day. The cashiers looked bedraggled. I saw no other personnel. Apparently they only hire cashiers.

“That was an Early Bird Special,” she snapped. “The price was only good until 2.”

I checked my watch. It was after 4. “My wife bought two an hour ago,” I said.

A lady pointed to her friend. “Ma’am, you sold her one two minutes ago.”

The cashier fixed the woman with a withering glare.

Faking indignation, “How can the sale be over and you still sell them to certain people? Looks like discrimination. And I blew $4 for gas driving out here. Where’s the manager?”

“She’s off today.”

A lady checking out said, “I’m finished. If you’ll follow me I’ll show you those $10.99 items. I bought two.”

We walked toward the back of the store. The table had been looted except for XXL-XXXL. The price was $10.99. I am size L. I found one L on the floor.

My parking-space thief was attempting to stuff himself into XXXL’s. I hoped they wouldn’t fit. Resentment is hard to quell.

I thanked the lady profusely figuring she was neighborly, had been a Girl Scout or was a widow wooing a size L. She had been helpful, but being wooed at age 87 is low on my totem pole.

I found a cashier in the back. I handed her my prize. “I’ve heard differing stories on this,” I said.

“Someone should have changed the price. If the sign says $10.99 it’s $10.99. Merry Christmas!

It isn’t my money. I’ll be glad to go home,” she said.

The SUV was still in my space. I considered deflating his tires but noticed a camera on the roof.

My New Year’s resolution: be nice.

Bill York has lived in Stone Mountain for 35 years. Email him at