I think it's probably reasonable to assume some people can get a bit grumpy while out shopping at this time of year.
Take the lady I bumped into the other day at one of the seemingly endless festive season sales.
Now normally I wouldn't bother, preferring instead to stay home and eat more or lose more money at golf. This year I thought I'd give it a go, see what all the fuss was about.
So off I went to buy a pair of socks.
That's where I met Sock Lady who was buying a pair for the significant other in her life, I presume.
Anyway, Sock Lady was not happy at all. "Testy impatience" would best describe her mood although simply "peed off" would be close.
And she was loud. I'm sure you know the type.
Long story short, she was supposed to be at the beach, not buying "bloody socks" and the harassed cherub on the counter was simply "too slow".
The cherub heard the insult too. It flustered her and things slowed even more. And everybody in the queue in front of Sock Lady was now hearing about it. One of them is me.
Sock Lady is one spot further back but she's making a bid to pass us all on the outside. She's already moved up a bit which is how I heard all about the beach. I think I must have heard the tale three times already.
Her two-part ploy is obvious.
Firstly, she complains loudly about the speed of the counter staff. When Sock
Lady gets the attention of the person in front – they basically turn and nod, hoping like hell their agreement will shut her up. But she lowers the boom and comes in with part two of the ploy.
And, you guessed it, she's already moving forward up the line as she says it.
"Would you mind if I went ahead of you? I'm supposed to be at the beach meeting friends and I'm already sooooo late . . . .".
Her bewildered victim can do little except nod meekly as they find themselves bewildered and staring at her back and wondering what just happened as she targets the next victim ahead.
This time it's me and I'm not falling for it. Besides, Mrs P has already stabbed me with the car keys and given me that look which positively yells "do NOT make a scene".
As expected, the tale of woe gushes forth and Sock Lady waits for me to roll over.
"Sorry," I say, "We're in a hurry ourselves".
Sock Lady is now mulling over her options as we go up to pay. Luckily a second till is opened and she goes up to pay just after us.
She's standing there, not two yards away, giving me the evils.
Eventually the best she can come up with is to call me a "dick".
I stifle a smirk, because Mrs P told me I had to and we walk out with our goods. Maybe two yards ahead of Sock Lady.
No sooner have we got through the door than all hell breaks loose. Alarm bells go off, people start running, etc etc. Chaos.
Sock Lady then decides to shout at me.
"It's you," she yells, pointing at me. "You didn't take the tags off, dickhead."
Now anyone who has been through this before will know it is the height of embarrassment. Standing there wondering how on earth you've set off the alarm. Do you keep going or go back in? That sort of thing.
At this point Mrs P and I are standing in the doorway looking into the bag of goodies, wondering which one has set off the alarms. Sock Lady is now at her car, laughing at us as she fumbles for her keys.
Luckily the manager is hurrying out towards us. Good, he'll sort it out and end our discomfort.
But he doesn't. He goes straight past us to her.
It seems she had set the alarms off and not us. Now she has to endure the "walk of shame" back into the shop to sort it.
This time Mrs P pushes me out before I can stir things up any more and before you know it we're on our way.
I don't know what happened to Sock Lady after that or whether she made it to the beach on time.
I just think it would be some sort of poetic justice if the socks she bought had holes at both ends.
• Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to email@example.com (Kevin Page in subject field) .