Holiday shopping can be a wonderful, yuletide-scented experience if done right. It can also be the retail experience from hell if you’re not properly prepared to deal with the drones of mindless people roaming around aimlessly. It’s almost like an episode of “The Walking Dead,” except the disgusting mutilation and undead cannibalism has been replaced with careless fiscal spillage and van loads of stupidity.
Just like the apocalyptic zombie world, the mall (or any reputable place of retail merchandising) during the holiday season is rife with blood suckers.
If you watch “The Walking Dead,” you should be familiar with the different types of zombies that Rick and company come into contact with on a regular basis. Sometimes they win, other times they lose (and by lose I mean one of them gets bitten or eaten alive), but they continue to fight on with victory on their agenda. In many ways, the mall during the holiday shopping rush is no different than the concrete jungle that the cast of “The Walking Dead” survives and thrives in daily. Well, it’s a little different, but not much.
One type of walker you’ll surely encounter at the mall is better known as The Salesperson. Stay aware when in their midst and be vigilant so you don’t become the next unwilling victim to their slick-talking shill tactics. You are their prey, no matter how strong you think you are, and the <del>zombies</del> salespeople outnumber you, just like the zombies in “The Walking Dead.” You may see them coming from a mile away, but they’ll still manage to sneak up on you, and once they grab a hold of your attention span, kiss your brain goodbye. They’ve got you right where they want you and before you know it, you’ll be their next proverbial snack.
Another type of walker you’ll undoubtedly come in contact with is The Shopper, who trudges along at a snail’s pace, clogging up the escalators and walkways, looking every which way but forward in search of a juicy bite to eat. Use caution or get trampled, as their dulled senses have lift them directionless and virtually brain-dead. All they’re doing is instinctively following their proverbial noses to the next financial feast and nothing else matters. This zombie is particularly dangerous if you’re out with your small children or elderly relatives, because small children and elderly relatives can easily get lost in a horde and disappear forever. If you’ve ever seen Rick Grimes respond to a zombie crisis by keeping Carl close to him as they duck and dodge for cover — or until they find a safe place to start shooting from — you’ll know exactly what to do. If you can help it, though, don’t shoot at these zombies. That’s illegal.
Perhaps the most hazardous type of zombie on the loose in this apocalyptic holiday rat race is The Thief. He scurries around — seemingly on all fours — sniffing for fresh meat and unsuspecting meals while you — it’s delicious naïve target — have no idea what’s about to take place. He can sense an open purse or preoccupied lady in a crowd, and swift like a posthumous ninja, strikes and vanishes. Of all the zombies moaning and groaning their way from store to store, this one presents the most danger. He’s only out to get what he can, regardless of who or what is around. Occasionally they slither out to the parking lot, so continue to observe your surroundings until you safely make it home, but even then, pay attention. If we’ve learned anything from “The Walking Dead,” it’s that you’re never really safe until you’re zombie food, so survive at all costs.
The final, arguably most formidable zombie you will encounter will be your kids. (Sort of like that little girl they had to kill in season two, except it’s really your kid and shooting it in the head isn’t necessary). Like most walkers, the loud noises and bright lights will mystify, confuse, even attract them away from you. Walkers can’t help themselves, and the longer you walk around this shopper’s wasteland, the more your kids will become zombies. The trick for survival here is to leave the children at home in the first place. What kind of parent takes their kids Christmas shopping with them, anyway? If you do, perhaps you, too, are a zombie and didn’t know it until I just told you.