There’s nothing quite so soul-draining as working in retail. Otherwise normal people treat you like crap on a daily basis, and you really gain a clear sense of the social divide between the working class and the professional caste. At least if I were a prison guard I would have a clear expectation to be dealing with objectively determined deviants.
There is something worse still about retail that those on the outside may not know about: Christmas season.
If you happen not to celebrate Christmas in favor of other religious holidays, local customs, or have better things to do, then count yourself lucky. Religious conservatives may decry Mardi Gras as a debauched day of sin and sex and sloppiness and, well, let’s face it, quite a lot of fun, actually. It is truly Christmas that brings out the worst in society, and here is why, from a retail employee’s perspective.
1. Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me…
People may be purchasing items for others, such as loved ones and family members, but when it’s the customer’s money he or she is handing over at the counter, things get nasty really quickly.
“Is that on sale?”
No, just the ones that are marked.
“I saw that at Wal-Mart for $5!”
No you didn’t; this is our name brand.
“Can I return this if it breaks when I run over it with my SUV repeatedly?”
Are you serious?
“You’re so greedy for charging me so much! I want all of this for free, and a foot rub!”
2. Holidays, Schmolidays…
Want to spend some time with your family on Thanksgiving? Make sure you’re in bed by 8 since you have to wake up before dawn. Oh, and to hell with sleep if you work for one if those major department stores. They’re gonna steal you away from your loved ones on Thanksgiving Day.
Oh, but you’ll have time on Christmas, right?
One day is not enough to catch up, especially when you have several people or multiple households you’d like to see. The day after Christmas is the unholy climax to it all, filled with disgruntled returns, voracious deal seekers, and rude out-of-towners galore.
3. But, but, the holiday spirit! What about that?
Gag me with a wreath. I’ve been hearing Christmas music since Halloween at my local mall. Seriously. I’m over it. It’s all the same songs, over, and over, and over again.
I find myself wishing that the nearby Abercrombie and Fitch would turn up their music so that the sub par remixes would drown out Silver Bells, and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.
People are not nice. I can’t stand the smell of Christmas spice. And people, please stop wishing me a”blessed day” filled with “remember the reason for the season” tripe, and “it’s all about Christ” bullshit. The only time it’s about Christ is when you are in your chosen place of worship, and that’s exactly where it should remain.
Yes, I’m jaded. Yes, I’m dreading Christmas.
And I know I’m not the only one.