December; month of mulled wine, fairy lights, roaring fires, and of course, the obligatory consume-a-fest that is Christmas shopping.
For some, the hunting and gathering of the perfect gift is a fun sport, while for others, hemorrhaging their hard-earned cash for a religious festival turned consumer blood bath is the epitome of hell.
Each Christmas shopper is a unique animal, who can be observed in their natural habitat on any Saturday in December, just by visiting your local mall on a ‘Shopper Safari’…
The Flump (AKA The Head Injury)
Flumps are so named because of their shape. They tend to be almost as wide as they are tall, and this shape gives them their distinctive waddle.
The easiest way to spot a Flump is to walk at a reasonable speed in a crowded area. This is because Flumps move extremely slowly, having a tendency to stop for no apparent reason.
Because Flumps are so common, walking at a reasonable speed will inevitably see you stuck behind a Flump within seconds of entering a crowded shopping centre. Interestingly, it is this habit of stopping for no reason and with no warning, before staring into space at apparently nothing, which has lead to The Flump being nicknamed The Head Injury. It is a curious habit, and science is yet to discover the reason behind it.
Flumps are herd animals, and as such they like to move about as a group. A group of Flumps is called an ‘Irritation’.
Another curious observation about these slow moving creatures is the formation they take when moving as a group. An Irritation of Flumps will always walk side-by-side, thereby making it impossible for other Christmas shoppers to do anything but shuffle behind them, looking for a gap, and battling an ever increasing urge to punch them in the back of the head.
The Foot Soldier
Foot Soldiers are solitary creatures, distinguishable by their tense expression, lively, darting eyes, and constantly present paper espresso cup.
The reason Foot Soldiers do not hunt for presents in packs is that they have planned their route with military precision. Browsing holds no interest for them, so the company of others would only slow them down.
You can spot a Foot Soldier best from a high vantage point (such as the food hall or from a glass elevator). From this height, if you are lucky (and have very keen eyesight), you’ll see a streak of coffee fumes advancing at speed behind other shoppers, darting left and right, and advancing as soon as the smallest floor space becomes clear. This blur of adrenalin and caffeine is The Foot Soldier, and very rare they are too.
Although not usually predatory, Foot Soldiers can become extremely agitated when hemmed in by an Irritation of Flumps, and so are better suited to hunting for gifts on the internet.
Rahs are very rare indeed, sightings of which are limited to upmarket department stores, high-end jewellers, and purveyors of posh wellies and hunting apparel.
It is easy to spot a Rah because they enjoy a constant foot-wide space of freshly perfumed air around them at all times, even in the most crowded spaces, which actually also prevents them getting wet when there’s rain. This supernatural phenomenon is named ‘The Posh Zone’, and for reasons as yet undiscovered by modern science, ordinary shoppers are unable to penetrate this invisible force.
Rahs always have perfectly flowing blond hair, sparkling jewellery and waxed coats, and can be found shopping for luxury hair products, sparkling jewellery and waxed coats for their Rah friends (a group of which is named a Fah-Fah of Rahs).
Rahs have an uncanny knack of avoiding the disheveled and haunted appearance suffered by other types of Christmas shoppers. The reason for this is that they do not do their own hunting, but rather stand in The Posh Zone, flicking their perfect hair and drinking champagne, whilst the minions of the shop fetch things for them.
The Festive Foodie (Pupa Stage)
This fascinating creature begins it’s life as a hungry little caterpillar named the Festive Foodie.
Festive Foodies use the premise of shopping to lure their mate into the nearest town or city centre, however their intended destination is actually the obligatory German Christmas Market. And here they will stay, growing fat on huge tankards of German beer and Currywurst.
On the dawn of Christmas Eve, the Festive Foodie suffers the creeping realisation that they have spent the entirety of December eating sausage and getting pissed. This triggers his metamorphoses into…
Stressed Eric (Adult Stage)
Once the newly-formed, fully grown adult emerges from his street food cocoon, you can see him flapping from shop to shop, drawn in by the twinkly Christmas lights and shiny displays. Stressed Eric’s are easily agitated by the realisation that it’s Christmas, like, FUCKING TOMORROW and all that’s left in the shops is the shit no one else wanted.
A Stressed Eric can be identified by the pulsing vein on his forehead, and panic-induced blue/green skin tone. They have a distinctive smell of sweat, fear and pork, and the skittish habit of banging their heads repeatedly against sheet glass windows.