I’m on-record as a world-class grinch and don’t like holidays at all, with the major exception of Halloween. I don’t buy presents for anymore, insist that other people don’t buy things for me, and try to Solid Snake my way through the festivities, sneaking around undetected until I absolutely must engage.
And as a long-time service industry worker, there’s that double-stress of just trying to help out needy people who are trying to seek that ‘holiday spirit’ at the expense of the sanity of the person on the other side of the cash register. But I get that it means a lot to other people, and they must race out to max out their credit cards on junk that will end up in the attics and closets of their loved ones.
If you have any last-minute shopping to do, belly up to local shops like Blue 7, Barkeep, the Midtown pop-ups, Craig’s Emporium, Plaza District shops, or whoever is in your neighborhood competing with the big guys. But you’ll probably find yourself in one of these five places, and come to highly regret it:
Byron’s Liquor Warehouse
I’ll admit that this one is a bit of a seasonal tradition for me. I may be a Jerri Blank-esque ‘boozer, user, and a loser,’ but there is something very thrilling about going to Byron’s the night before a holiday. You see all walks off life, from lawyers to homeless to homeless lawyers. But the parking is insane, and it’s tough to even get into the lot. You should really make your holiday beer, wine, and liquor purchases ahead of time.
Penn Square Mall
The mall sucks. They all do. Penn Square is a ‘nice’ one, but unless you want to fight through World War Z-sized throngs of dejected shoppers just to buy a box of Legos for your nephew, the entire experience is a massive anxiety attack, from the NW Expressway entrance all the way up to getting sneezed on by Patient Zero at every shop.
Bass Pro Shop
There are always big Thunder games and other events that make the area slogged down with SUVs from Yukon or wherever. But what are you actually needing to buy there? Sure, your Uncle Jerry might want a new Realtree camo scope for his hunting rifle, but you could pick him up a book from Commonplace, he’s gonna need something to keep himself occupied while he’s up in that treestand.
Walgreens, Any Of Them
We all end up with stocking stuffers that amount to a pile of Russell Stover chocolates and cheap and flammable stuffed animals. Nobody wants it. I’ll eat the chocolates still, but spring for the good stuff next time. Not only are Walgreens full of flu-ridden people this time of year, but if you buy the light-up singing Christmas Teddy Bear, it’s going in the trash immediately. Unless your gift idea is distributing extra alprazolam pills to distressed family members, just skip the drug store.
Anything On 63rd & May
I feel like even at 4 am on a Monday in July, this intersection is a clusterfuck. During the holidays, when everyone is trying to go to all of the 100 big box stores along that mile, left turns do not exist. Traffic laws cease to have any meaning. It is Mad Max every-person-for-themselves chaos. Do you need food for your dog from that PetSmart? Too goddamn bad, poochie is eating grass this week, cuz that’s an errand where there ain’t any way it’s gonna reasonably without having to take out another driver.
Now that we’ve gone through the worst places to holiday shop, drop your favorite local businesses who need support in the comments!