I had my very first visit to Bass Pro Shop yesterday. As I don’t hunt, fish, shoot, or any other outdoor recreation the reason for my visit was purely motivated by the idea that I should attempt to have my child’s picture taken with Santa. My sister informed me about Santa at Bass Pro Shop because when family asked me if I was getting baby’s picture with Santa I said “no” and my mom responded that it wasn’t too late. Being the impatient introvert I am I told her that it was too late. I had no intention of waiting hours in a line at a stinky mall to be overcharged for photos with a dude in a rental costume and an obviously fake beard.
So my sister piped up with this Santa and told me the lines shouldn’t be too bad there and they give you a free print. So yesterday the hubs and I decided to check it out. We went as soon as our spawn woke up from his nap, which was only an hour after Santa would arrive at the store.
It was packed. Hoards of children migrated from the parking lot to the store. Children and baby strollers darted in and out of aisles of fishing poles and toy crossbows. We found Santa’s Wonderland and the line and a booth, manned by an unenthusiastic employee. I don’t know why, but I approached and asked if that was the line (it was a here’s your sign moment) the woman said “yes” but I needed a Bass Pass to get in said line. So I said I would take one and then she informed me that the next available pass was for 3…it was currently 11. Since life with the spawn is unpredictable I couldn’t say what we would be doing by 3, but mostly I couldn’t fathom mustering the energy to come back to the store four hours later. I had talked myself into going in the first place by the thought that one day, the spawn would be sad if we didn’t have a picture of him with Santa for his first Christmas. As I stood there contemplating coming back into the madness that is anywhere with a cash register the week of Christmas, I realized I don’t even remember if I have a picture with Santa from my own childhood and I think I turned out okay. There will be plenty of other failures on my part to lessen the blow of discovering there isn’t a picture of him with Santa. So when Chewy looked at me for the final decision I shook my head. Baby don’t care and it’s not worth it.
We did, however, take him to the in store aquarium where he watched fish for the first time in his life. He really seemed to enjoy it, probably more than he would have sitting in some old man’s lap for a picture.
When we were walking up to the aquarium though some woman walked up to me, handed me a piece of paper saying, “this is for you, let’s get you signed up for our drawing.” She then tried to steer me away from my husband and baby to signup for something without telling me what that something was. My stranger danger instincts kicked in and I didn’t move at all. With my feet planted I read the paper. A cruise. I have never had a desire to go on a cruise (unless it’s in Alaska). I told her we don’t like cruises, which is true, Chewy hates cruises and I hate large bodies of water, sharks, whales, and pushy people who try to get me to sign up for free stuff because honestly I think I’m not a fan of free stuff either (at all costs I avoid the people giving samples at stores). Once I’d rejected her, I rejoined Chewy, slightly annoyed that I was the one singled out and more annoyed at their tactics.
It actually stayed on my mind for a while. I thought about how I don’t like being told what to do in any form and that includes waiting in line to see an old man claiming to be Santa because everyone else does it and our kids will get to the point where they want to do this. Then when they’ve told Santa what they want (because a letter doesn’t do it apparently) their picture is taken and someone tries to sell me a pricey package for keepsakes and grandparents.
Anyway, I digress. We went to look at guns for Chewy and I found a warthog eating a Moon Pie.
So I think I’d actually like BPS any other time of the year, but it, like every other store, is tainted by the holiday stress that detracts from what I love most about Christmas.
From there we went to Home Depot to pick up a few things and there I saw Santa (real beard) wearing an orange Home Depot apron walking around. I have to admit, even after my bad experience and my cynical take on getting your kid’s picture taken with Santa, I got a little excited seeing him. So much So that when I whispered, “Santa!” to no one in particular I got embarrassed and looked away. Really I should have grabbed my spawn and asked if Santa, the Home Depot employee, would take a picture with him because the sight of him filled me with more Christmas magic than the BPS Wonderland.