Shopping Hostages: Negative into Positive

This is what shopping hostages do when visiting Scotsdale Nursery in Alpharetta, GA. They take the kids to interact with the goats and pigs. I do not know which was more fun, shopping the amazing nursery or watching the shopping hostages play with the livestock. Either way, it was a wonderful way to enjoy the morning. 

So why are there so many shopping hostages in the world? Are they forced to go shopping when they would rather be doing something  else? Are they packing everything the family wants to do into one trip? Are they just trying to get out of the house? Is it their attempt at exercise? Or are they working to be cooperative? With the busy lives we lead, if we don’t bundle activities, combine trips, or seek cooperation we would end up never seeing our families. We would do everything alone, isolated and separately. So is the problem shopping or busy lives? I always feel sorry for the Dads and kids who obviously don’t want to be where they are. This picture shows a clever retailer who solved that problem. They made the process of avoiding the mall or waiting on a bench a wonderful family time. They took the bad and turned it on it’s head. Instead of getting rid of shopping hostages, they made it a thing to leverage and welcome. 

This made me think of the things I try to resist or avoid. How can I embrace and turn them on their heads? How can I turn a negative into a positive? If I think hard enough it can be done, it simply takes effort and out of the negative thinking. It also means letting go of the ordinary and embracing the inventive. It took a lot for this nursery to dedicate the land, the animals, the care and feeding, cleaning and landscaping to create this experience. It also means their shoppers stay long, probably spend more, and have an experience other than shopping. These shoppers are going to tell people about their fun…which means more shoppers. 

Next time you have that negative reaction or experience, think how you can turn it into a sunny day feeding the goats and pigs. Being able to imagine that may change everything else about your day. 

Inspiration: Free the Hostages – Shopping Hostages that is!

Here are a family of shopping hostages. These electronically connected men sat patiently as the women in their family perused the mall. I watched them for a few minutes and noticed that they never spoke to each other, nor moved from this bench. They never took their eyes off their screens until the father heard a voice from within the store call his name. He looked up – perplexed and annoyed – then focused back on his screen, never missing a beat in whatever he was doing. The two boys never moved a muscle. I walked around the mall and on my way back to my car, they were still sitting here. It was almost as if they were frozen in time and the rest of the world ceased to exist. 

I wondered if they considered this ‘family time’? Did they enjoy the time they spent ‘together’? Were they even aware that they were together? I suspect they would have behaved this same way no matter where they were – home, the mall, visiting family. They looked so natural in these positions that my guess is they have done all this many times before. It might be their natural state. It may be their idea of building a relationship. 

So when did this become the way family spent time together? When is this how we survived time together around the holidays? Why do we do these things to ourselves and our children? If the husband and kids didn’t want to shop, then why go to the mall? Shop without them. Give us all a break. Don’t make us watch your shopping hostages try to survive their definition of torture. Let them go, let them roam free…or leave them at home. Let your family spend time together by doing things where they pay attention to each other, not an electronic screen. Everyone will be better off…so free the hostages!

Inspiration: Shopping Hostages…Do It Anyway

We went out amongst the madness this weekend. Here you see one of the shopping hostages we passed when going into a store. I don’t know if this was his way of coping with all the running around, or if he just couldn’t take one more store. Either way he was enjoying his alone time and nap. When we came out of the store he was still there in his peaceful state of bliss. 

In life we all have to do things we don’t always want to do. When that happens to me I all too often procrastinate in order to avoid what I don’t want or know how to do. Sometimes the things we don’t want to do will in turn please others…so we do them anyway. Sometimes the things we don’t want to do are a necessary part of life – brushing our teeth, washing our clothes, cleaning where we live – so we do them anyway. Sometimes we have to do things in order to keep our lives moving forward – paying bills, working, sleeping – so we do them anyway. 

All that being said, you may have to do things today that you don’t want to do, and these things may keep life going…so you do them anyway. The real stuff of life is not about holidays or special meals, vacations or once in a lifetime events. The real stuff of life is doing what you have to do to keep your world functioning. Real life requires fun, fantastic adventures, and all too often the mundane. There are more normal, boring days than there are national holidays. So when the mundane of life calls you to attention, do what it asks and do it with joy. The sweetness of the fantastic days are made better and more meaningful when the mundane is taken care of. 

So three cheers for the shopping hostages who go to the mall when it is the last thing they want…they do it anyway.