For those who take football lightly, yesterday was a perfect time for holiday shopping at area malls and supermarkets. But there was still no getting away from Redskins fever as employes who served irreverent customers brought their televisions and radios to work.
"It's killing me," said Grant Brock, a salesman at the Radio Shack in the Hechinger Mall as he took inventory between catching glimpses of the game. "It's hard when you can't jump up and down and have to confine all of your remarks to a polite 'Whoa.' "
Alvin Dawson, a security guard for the mall, said he had plotted out all the stores that had television sets yesterday and was making his rounds accordingly.
"I'd rather be watching this at home," Dawson said as he checked his watch. "But this system is not too bad." With a walkie-talkie in hand, he contacted his partner who was working the television sets on the other side of the mall to let him know they would be switching sides at half time.
"The only problem with our technique is that things happen too fast in a Redskins-Cowboys game," Dawson said. "In one store, the score is zero-zero. Then we change duty stations. And the next thing you know the score is 17-3."
As the Cowboys continued their first-half romp over the Redskins, Dawson and his partner began their switch. "I bet the Redskins dig out before I get to the other side," he said.
Tyron Holt, an employe at Bresler's ice cream parlor at the mall, was ecstatic about the Redskins second-half comeback and thought that anyone with an opportunity to watch the game at home would surely be glued to their television sets.
But it didn't work out that way for him. Everytime someone ordered a milk shake, the blender drowned out the sound from his television set and caused static to interfere with the picture.
"It's very difficult to watch and do your job," said Holt, working hard to be polite as he served up cone after cone. Occasionally, customers would come in, ask what the score was, find out that the Redskins were losing and stalk out of the parlor.
"People are coming in left and right. I guess they don't want to go through the emotionalism of losing," Holt added with a wry smile.
Although Redskins fever is still alive and well in Washington, the demands of the holiday season appeared to make many people think that game time was a perfect time to do their shopping. But for those who thought the streets and stores would be free and clear they were surprised to find parking lots full and lines at checkout counters.
"I thought I could slip in, get a Christmas tree and get back to catch the second half," said Roy Woodland, a teacher from Maryland, as he shopped at Hechinger's. "You'd think they had a soccer match on TV with all the people out here."
"I had too much shopping to do and too little time to do it," said Saundra Ford, at a Radio Shack store in the Hechinger Mall. "Everytime I look up it's the Redskins and the Cowboys. I'm tired of both of them. I'm a basketball fan."
On the up side however, Brock says that within the last couple of weeks every time a football game has been televised a customer comes in, watches some of the game and ends up buying a set.
"If someone buys this set while I'm trying to watch the game," he said, "that will take the cake.