Mall Madness

1196108689The holiday season gives us emotional whiplash. In the evening, we have our choice of moving holiday specials on TV. After a night of tearing up, we awaken to find news stories about the disappointing behavior on display. Today’s Globe reports on the burden stressed-out holiday shoppers can cause small police departments.

During the holiday rush, the normally quiet suburban malls become hotbeds for crime and ill-mannered women.

Last year, three times a day, on average, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Burlington police responded to calls at the Burlington Mall. . .

One store last year reported $2,300 worth of goods stolen. Three shoppers reported being scammed out of $10,600 by a con artist posing as a salesman selling plasma televisions. There were 25 car accidents reported to police within a few blocks of the mall – a figure that does not include minor fender-benders, police say, and so represents just a percentage of last year’s holiday shopping accidents. And then there were the arguments – usually over parking spots.

“That happens all the time,” said Burlington patrolman Jim Tigges. “Mostly, at Christmastime, it’s the usual. ‘Tis the season, we say. I had to break up two women fighting last year.”

Now we don’t want to get all preachy like Linus in the A Charlie Brown Christmas, but fistfights in the mall parking lot is not what Christmas is all about. We know the frustration that parking lot idiocy can create. On Black Friday we spent a good five minutes wedged in our parking spot because a woman who was waiting for it had blocked our way out. But after we negotiated our way out, we laughed as somebody else beat the woman to the empty space. Don’t teach your children to assault idiots—teach them to laugh at them.

Nobody likes the cacophony of bland holiday songs and screaming babies at the mall, but we deal with it to display our love for people with material goods. If you are such a rage case that you can’t handle the mall during the holiday season, stay home. God has brought us computers with high-speed internet connections—use those for your holiday shopping instead.