I am sewing black clothes for Friday’s concert. I also have rehearsals tonight and tomorrow night, volunteer work and school charity stuff, plus my job and daily life and Christmas presents to make, so I am feeling a little pressed. Multitasking can help a lot, if you can dovetail your work effectively, but I have found that I cannot really cut out sewing patterns and do Pilates at the same time. Nor does listening to the workout DVD while sewing actually have the same effect as doing the workout. Oh, well.

It has also been brought to my attention that my electronics shopping methods will not work for everyone. I rely on the computer guys’ being reminded of their dear mothers when I ask them a question. Glamorous young women cannot do this. When they ask a question, the young men are struck dumb — or at least stupid. They stammer, strut, or try to impress the girls. Their ears turn red. They can’t be helpful to save their lives. I should have realized this, because I was not unaware of this phenomenon in daily life. I just hadn’t thought of its retail application. The young woman who pointed it out to me says she just has to have her husband do the shopping. Nice if you can arrange that.

At first, I thought that the best solution would be to have women sell electronics equipment. On further thought, I realize that this is needlessly sexist. (So is the fact that nearly all electronics salespeople are young men, but that is another subject.)  Instead, there could be modifications in the overall shopping experience.

First, customers could choose a badge when they enter. One would announce to the salespeople that the customer is a technologically savvy person, old or young, male or female. Customers thus identified just want to chat about specs or something, and do not need help distinguishing the MP3 players from the phones. Another design of badge would say clearly that the shopper wearing it is not capable of finding his or her inkjet refill cartridges without help.

Then the stores could be arranged simply, with the MP3 players in one area and the phones in another, and the hybrids in between. There could be buttons to press, as in zoos, with recordings clearly stating the identities of the items, what they do, the legal difficulties if any associated with their use, and some simple reasons for the vast differences in price among them. “The $40 ones,” the recordings could announce, “are assembled by children working for $2.95 a day in locked rooms,” or whatever it might be. Charts explaining all the numbers could be displayed for those who want to get it all clear in their minds. Packages could say clearly not only what the item in the package is (using words, if possible), but what other electronic items must be owned in order to use the thing in the package.

If this is too extreme, then the electronics stores could hold pre-holiday workshops on the trendiest items. I can explain the difference between all-facts and regular math flashcards in under 30 seconds, so I am sure that those electronics guys could, with a little practice, put together a quick introduction to whatever all the kids are wanting that year. They could show the items that offer the highest level of coolness for each price range.

I am heading out this morning to finish my electronics purchases. Perhaps I will suggest this to those nice young men — right after they help me find the mysterious objects I seek.

As an antidote to feeling overbusy and overwhelmed (end of semester, anyone?), why not hum “Silver Bells”? You can find it here:  http://www.geocities.com/singingsnowmen/silverbells.html   This site has music, lyrics, ads, and cheesy dancing snowmen as well. This seems appropriate for a song that is largely about shopping.

Another of the holiday songs of the ’50s, this one has been recorded by everyone from Garth Brooks to Elvis Presley, Kate Smith to the Supremes. There is no chance that you do not already know about this song. So why am I reminding you of it? Because it is the most relaxing song for a sing-along. Only one person needs to remember the words. Everyone else can echo: “Silver bells!” (“Silver bells!”) “It’s Christmas time in the city!”  You can also find easy guitar chords and tabs, it is easy to sing and play, and it is very suited to humming. Tunelessly, if need be. It is even good for skating to.

What’s not to like?