AS we stumble towards Christmas and New Year, it’s easy to get stressed out; the holidays are close, but there’s so much to do.
If you’re anything like me, there’s a late rush to finish projects at the office and all too many end-of-year functions for work, school and all sorts of organisations.
Then there’s the looming dread of Christmas shopping. Why is it that the most relaxing time of the year is preceded by the most stressful?
In recent weeks my particular bugbear has been aggressive people who want to sell me stuff or else waylay me to have me part with cash for one reason or another.
It comes in all forms. At home it’s unsolicited telephone calls from our telecommunications and internet provider wanting us to buy their latest package of services, always a never-to-be-repeated deal for a bundle of services our family is unlikely to make full use of.
At shopping centres, I always seem to be stalked by those people at tables in the walkway who want to sell skin products, outdoor blinds or a host of other things that, if I wanted, I would ask about but don’t.
While waiting for service at my favourite coffee shop the other week a young woman just wouldn’t leave me alone in the queue. She seemed determined to keep talking about whatever she was selling in the hope that I would eventually cave in and buy a truck load just to get her off my back. Hair care products, I think it was.
I have more time for people who are soliciting donations for charities, but many of them seem to have got more and more pushy. Presumably, some have to make up a daily quota. Certainly, many have been schooled in hard-sell tactics and live up to the nickname of “charity muggers”. Maybe this should come as no surprise. After all, a lot of charities are not that different from other commercial enterprises these days.
Even driving home, there are the uninvited car windscreen washers who will just not take “no” for an answer. A friend recently told me how she watched horrified, while stopped at the traffic lights, as another female driver was subjected to a tirade of abuse for declining the services of a particularly persistent windscreen cleaner.
I have often admired the windscreen washers. I know they are often people with troubles who are to just trying to make an honest dollar. And it is not an easy job being out in the weather every day, ducking in between all those cars. But standover tactics at the traffic lights are pretty unacceptable.
Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s financial pressure. Maybe it’s just a symptom of how society is changing. But I must admit, I’m pretty tired of aggressive, persistent sales tactics in whatever form they take.
If only one could fast-forward through to Boxing Day.