Let me set the scene… it’s 3pm on a Saturday in December, you’ve been in work for six hours after getting up early to get through the rush of traffic into the city centre. You’ve already heard the copyright-free cover of ‘Rockin’ around the Christmas tree’ 25 times and are yet to have your lunch break. A swarm of shouty, sweaty middle-aged women surround you asking if you sell the DVD they want to buy for their daughter. You tell them for the third time that you do not sell DVDs, because this is H&M not HMV.
Yes you’ve guessed it, it’s the Christmas season and you are blessed with the joys of working in retail.
I have experienced this pain for two years in a row now and am glad to say that this year, I am free from the shackles holding me back from getting too drunk on the 25th, to start at 8am on Boxing Day, because I have quit my job.
But nonetheless, I have been where all the current retail workers are going to be this holiday season- knee deep in a pile of Christmas jumpers left behind by the angry mob that like to call themselves ‘last minute shoppers’ at 5:55pm on Christmas Eve.
If you are anything like me and made the foolish decision to start your first ever proper job that also happens to be in retail, in October, you will know how all the Christmas spirit you have been bought up with as a child immediately leaves your body and you are only left with your very own ghost of Christmas past.
It is almost impossible to enjoy the festive season when I’ve spent six days a week biting my tongue when a customer asks if they can put £22.50 on a gift card, which they don’t like the design of. Then trying to pay with another gift card of a different appalling pattern which they found in their handbag after five minutes of rummaging through empty mince pie cases and gift receipts, only for me to have to tell them that it expired two years ago.
Also having heard ‘Jingle bell rock’ three times during the whole dilemma.
At the end of the day, there is nothing more I would enjoy than my colleagues and I closing up in the silence of our own self pity. But of course, there is always the one employee that is waaaay to cheerful about this time of year, despite the fact they haven’t been able to use the toilet for five hours and have had to clean the throw up from an overly distressed child, who was told they’re on Santa’s naughty list in the middle of the stocking fillers aisle.
But of course, all the pain fades away when the boss says that there is still some figgy pudding left over that has been out in the staff room for ten hours that I can have as a ‘thank you’ for all my hard work.
Then after the two minutes of minor contentment I recieve from the slightly stale, cold treat. I am sent plummeting back to earth realising I have to relive my horror all over again pretty much every day for the next three weeks.