You probably already know the more obvious benefits to shopping online: there are no crowds, you can do it at your convenience (i.e. after the kids go to bed at night), and – if you have a laptop computer – you can do it anywhere. My preferred shopping locale (and, truth be told, column-writing locale) is in bed, propped up by several fluffy pillows, with a glass of wine on the nightstand and the dog snoring away on the carpet. But there’s one more advantage that you may not have considered:
No Christmas music.
Unless you want some, then you can pick your own. For me, it would be Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” That’s some seriously melancholy music, and is somehow fitting for this, the darkest time of the year. By contrast, it would not be the pop starlet/sex kitten du jour singing “Santa Baby.” Not ever.
A couple weeks ago, I was in a store – a real store, made out of bricks, with a line of people snaking around stacks of “impulse buys” (care for an ultrasonic cheese grinder or some golf tees made out of milk chocolate?), waiting to pay for their stuff. I was one such person. And suddenly, something bad happened. And that something was Michael Bolton singing “White Christmas.”
FLEE THE STORE, said my brain, IT’S IN YOUR HEAD! IN YOUR HEAD!
But alas, I was stuck in the middle of the line, several minutes away from hearing, “Register four is open, please proceed to register four” and in my arms I had a pair of pants. Career pants, no less, that actually fit. In line I would stay.
PAIN, said my brain. HURT.
Why, you’re wondering, would your brain speak in such an inarticulate manner? It is, after all, your brain.
Call it The Bolton Effect.
Eventually, my transaction completed, I was able to leave the store, the strains of 98 Degrees singing “Little Drummer Boy” hastening my exit.
Maybe the bad Christmas soundtrack is a shoplifting prevention tool: no customers, no theft! There’s a kind of logic to that, I suppose.
Best to avoid it, if you can. Get your wine and your laptop. Put on some decent music. Give your brain a rest.
And enjoy the holidays.