Hobbits Vs Zombies: the perils of family shopping trips

A silhouette of a zombie with a saucepan in front of a Hobbit-style house.

I’ve never understood people who enjoy shopping. There’s a reason Dawn of the Dead was set in a shopping centre. It was an easy way of depicting hell on earth. As well as a suitable location for the zombies who serve as metaphors for mass consumerism, of course. I was going to leave the geeky zombie analogy there but it strikes me that, last week, Kate and I were doing passable impressions of them on a family shopping trip.

We’d had an awful night with Amelie who is teething. In addition, we’d been woken by Dylan and Xander having their standard early Saturday morning bickering session. We needed some new saucepans and wanted to get it over and done with. We decided to save time by not bothering with our usual post-breakfast coffee. That was our first mistake.

Dylan and Xander wanted to spend their Christmas money and had their hearts set on some LEGO Dimensions sets. The first shop we visited was promising – there was a buy one, get one free offer. Unfortunately, the character Xander wanted was out of stock. There were others he had previously expressed an interest in – including the highly useful Cyberman – but not his number one target.

Fair enough. We weren’t going to push him into getting an alternative as it was his decision. That was our second mistake. Dylan, of course, still wanted to buy his choice. A convoluted conversation about the merits of said offer ensued. Finally, the boys agreed to look elsewhere.

We went to three or four other shops to see if we could find the character Xander wanted. Each one we visited taking us further away from the first. You know where this is going. The very moment we left the last shop, Xander made an announcement. “I will have the Cyberman after all.” Sigh.

Kate took Amelie to get some new socks while I took the boys back to get their choices. They were soon grinning and dancing around like Gollum when finally in possession of his precious.

Once we’d met up again, we took the kids to get their feet measured. That was our third mistake. The seats are apparently irresistible to little lads who enjoy diving on things. Fortunately, the lack of affordable shoes for children with feet like Hobbits – sorry kids, you got them from me – meant that this head-in-hands moment was cut short.

The final item on our shopping list was the aforementioned saucepans. We soon found a set and they were reduced too. I quickly grabbed the box and made the purchase. Finally, a straightforward transaction. Victory had been salvaged from the jaws of defeat. Or had it?

Once home, I unpacked the box. The lack of caffeine in my system had blinded me to the fact that, although heavy, it was rather compact. Of course they were all small! So small, in fact, that a Hobbit would have baulked at them.

I may as well have spent the money on the expensive zombie book I had my eye on.


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