I really don’t like posting about politics and business or anything that relates to those matters. But hey it’s my blog and I’m a little on the sad side right now so I hope y’all can forgive me.
First of all, do NOT get me wrong. I love my job and I love my coworkers and my boss. They’re practically family. And with that said, I hate retail. Hmmm this coming from someone who likes talking to people about the randomest stuff ever?
I always get to thinking about the sad side of retail business during holidays. You know, the days when I’m supposed to be spending time with family and friends but instead I’m stuck listening to a costumer who’s b****ing that he/she is not receiving a product for free. Granted it’s their money to spend but, really now, I’m here suffering because people like them feed the need for sales… and they’re blaming us like we set the price on the tags!
On Christmas Eve 2016 I was stuck closing the store until 6pm. A young man walked into the store telling me that he’s last minute shopping and I laughed with him as we try to pick a present for a niece he forgot about. At the end of the transaction he walked back to the front of the store where I was standing and said, “really, thank you for your help and I’m sorry. I feel like an a***** because it’s people like me who are the reason you’re not spending time with your family today. Thank you, really. And a very Merry Christmas.” Then he shook my hand told me “God Bless You.”
Odd that I would remember something like that. I’ve probably engaged thousands of guests since then but I remember that guy. Because it’s the simple things like a thank you or a hug or even acknowledging me by name shows me that they relate to me as a person. And that guy saw me as a human being with a family I should be spending time with, not some automaton made of cold metal and bolts.
Sadly “Where are you, Christmas?” from The Grinch has become one of my favorite Christmas songs since the first time I heard it. And it’s not because I’m grown; my family wasn’t even big on presents or decorating house to begin with. But the song (and the movie) relates to me a lot since I’ve been working retail.
When has the holidays gone from celebrating the original Brexit (too soon?) or celebrating Christ’s birth… to turning the day into shopping holiday?!?! And why does Thanksgiving -the day we are thankful for the things we have- end with buying things we don’t nee. And why are people so eager to line up to get trampled on over cheap appliances or mugged over a pair of the ugliest sneakers in existence?!?! Heck, some families don’t even have dinner anymore and just camp at the mall!
Now don’t get me wrong, some people REALLY do have to work holidays. I have worked in a non-retail environment before in the hospital kitchens. Many a holiday had passed when my mother-in-law would piss me off asking why I can’t be at every gathering. Then she had a stroke on and was at the hospital during 4th of July. To this day, I continually remind her that people (including me) NEED to be at work, even those in the kitchen. Otherwise, diabetics like her wouldn’t have any meals. She also argued that the nurses *can* make the meals and they should, but I again I had to remind her that isn’t really part of their job to work the kitchen AND the medical floors.
And, like clockwork, I reminded her today why I can’t come tomorrow. Again, she asked, “why not?” and added, “but you don’t work at a hospital. The mall should be closed tomorrow. You and everyone at the mall shouldn’t have to work.”
As much as I don’t want to admit it… in a way, she’s right. Wasn’t there a time when it was heathen-like to treat Sundays as if it weren’t the day for rest? I REALLY miss those days when we can just relax.
Unfortunately, both my husband and I are in retail so we struggle having a day off together. Heck, we even struggle to make it home before dinnertime. Holidays would’ve been a great time for us to just spend time together but we’ve lost that because malls refuse to close down for the holidays.
I know that the malls are having a hard time because they now have to compete with online shopping for customers. But really, we’re losing our American values over money.
I’m sending some hopes into the void that should anyone read this post, that they remind themselves the next time they come across a cop or a healthcare worker that they treat them with utmost respect because of the time and sacrifice they give. And that mall workers deserve similar -if not the same- respect too.
And I’m hoping that as I stand behind the registers tomorrow that my smile is from remembering my time-and-half holiday pay and not because I’m forcing myself to smile while thinking of my happy place (which is with my family and friends).