Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday shopping

Many years ago, in college, I worked at a toy store for Christmas.  It's amazing how some songs stay with you.  There were lots of memorable things about my experience, but the constant bad holiday music was one of them.  There are Christmas and holiday songs I like - that I can stand.  Then there are songs with the Chipmunks and even the classic  "I want a hippopotomas for Christmas".  

Once or twice, these songs might not be so bad.  But over and over each day - it was too much.  I still cringe (more than ten years later) when I hear the songs during this season.  Not to mention the long lines of people, working ten to twelve hours a day, and the phone ringing off of the hook.

I know everyone has bad jobs, this was one for me.

What was also amazing was when people would accuse us (the toy store employees) of ruining Christmas for their children.  They would say things like "my child won't believe in Santa because of you".  Usually it was because we didn't have the specific toy that their child had requested (and every other child wanted), and we didn't have layaway.  Sometimes, the corporate organization would send out ads in the newspaper, and we would only receive ten or twelve items.  Customers would be (understandably) frustrated.  Even if they were early or in line before the store opened, they might not get that special deal.

One of the most memorable people was a gentleman who started angrily knocking down displays when he found out we didn't have the toy he wanted. 

The holidays can really bring out the ugly in many people.  It's hard to be considerate of employees when one has been in a long line, or when a store has deliberately distorted whether or not they have an item in stock.  I think it's worth remembering that not everyone is as fortunate as we may be - that not everyone has control over where they work or the policies of their job.

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

When shoppers or patrons of a restaurant get all crazy, I often wonder if they realize that the workers are REAL people. Didn't most of us have to at least start off in those kinds of jobs? Good reminder! Hopefully, the nut jobs all shop online this year.