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Beware the 7 types of Christmas shoppers, Tampa Bay
Which one are you?
People shop at International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa in November.
People shop at International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa in November. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Dec. 7, 2021
Updated Dec. 9, 2021

Christmas is three days away! Fine, it is more than three days away, but the number will register as “three” in your stress-addled brain. Compounding the dissolution of time, the supply chain is on holiday in Branson, Mo.

Time is running out to order those special gifts loved ones will store in the back of a closet until moving to a new home (wine rack in the shape of HMS Victory). The hour is nigh to return to physical stores.

Some say in-person retail is dead, but they have not set foot in a Home Goods in December. They have not ducked behind an endcap (scented candles) to avoid someone whose line of vision is obliterated (holiday throw pillows). Stores are still substantial hubs of mayhem!

As you venture out to finish your holiday list (Bluetooth grilling thermometer), it’s helpful to remember the types of shoppers you may encounter. Preparation is the greatest gift (besides a self-watering orchid pot).

Related: Gift guides, with a Tampa Bay twist, for every person on your list

STUNT DRIVING SHOPPER

Parking lots are a privilege, not a right. Does he not know this? He will Tokyo drift around the corner at Macy’s while using talk-to-text and filming for TikTok. He will back his Land Rover into the moped spot. He might eject an unwilling participant from the vehicle to stand in a parking space so no one else can have it.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS SHOPPER

It’s hard to believe she could not find any time except days before Christmas to seek refunds on items purchased in October (artisan cheese board, Ugg slippers). Yet here we are, waiting in line 24-deep while four clerks try to reach someone named “Joanna,” the only one with the little key to do a return without a receipt.

Related: 5 tips to help Tampa Bay seniors avoid scams this holiday season

THIS WAS ON THE WRONG RACK SHOPPER

Not to be confused with I Must Inspect This (Box of Tapas Plates) And Block The Aisle Shopper and This (Pair of Socks) Has a Thread Hanging Down Shopper.

NO SHOPPING SHOPPER

She wanders Target with a list of 11 people but cannot make a decision. Is this (smoothie maker) cool or stupid? Do people still use (1,000-piece puzzles)? She clutches only the bottle of dishwashing liquid she needs for home.

PERSONAL CONVERSATION SHOPPER

They love loitering, conducting all conversations near the most popular display (chihuahua staircase). They are trying to buy a house but need to raise their credit score. Their friend is getting married to the wrong person. They cannot believe what happened on Succession. They will tackle any subject, except, crucially, moving out of the way.

CONFUSED RELATIVE SHOPPER

Tragically, he forgot to check the ages of nieces and nephews before purchasing gifts. Those children were 6 once, yes. But they are now in college and do not want a JoJo Siwa hair bow anymore. JoJo Siwa does not even want a JoJo Siwa hair bow anymore.

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ACTUALLY SHOPPING FOR MYSELF SHOPPER

Is this you? Are you strolling local boutiques under the guise of shopping for a dad (sweater that says DAD) but actually leaving with bags of items for yourself (nail polish kit, discount fall decorations, yet one more plant)? You’re good. Just be careful with the car on the way out, lest you check two boxes.

Related: Read more columns from Stephanie Hayes