Retail Hell at Christmas Time

Anyone who has ever worked retail during the holiday season can and will tell you that it is their busiest time of year. Lots of late hours, disgruntled customers that “couldn’t use the coupon” on that one item listed in the fine print for which said coupon did not apply. Ah yes, the battle cry of children in shopping carts screaming because their parent didn’t cater to their every monstrous whim of destroying the store, or purchase the overpriced piece of trash candy with some strange cartoon plastered on the front of it.

The hustle and bustle of shopping and the torturous sound of Christmas music playing loudly over any speaker at any location. It is an inescapable, never ending line at a theme park for which you stand in for hours, only to realize that you were waiting in line to actually wait in the real line. My God. Working in these conditions is not a pleasure cruise by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it feels like you are sinking on the Titanic in sub-zero temperatures during the yuletide season.

Then your inner dialogue starts….Why is it hot? Dear Lawrd have mercy! Please don’t tell me that invisibility cloak wearing manager turned up the heat? Well, maybe it will help all of these grumpy ass folks get out of here faster. Oh, no! More people are showing up?? I know the next lady will not have a coupon and expect me to have it. That’s okay, she’s old and she looks like my grandma…..Oh. Oh no…You are one of those demanding old ladies, aren’t you? Shit. Just smile.
“Hi, how are you doing today?” (Here we go with a list of ailments)

Then we have the people who don’t read the fine print located at the bottom of the coupon and decide to throw a Scarlet O’Harrah of a hissy fit in your line. Comparable to Miss Daisey in the Piggly Wiggly watching Morgan Freeman on the payphone.


Once you have politely explained and read the tiny print at the bottom of the coupon, they demand the manager come to the register and give them the discount because the coupon was “misleading”. I’m often surprised by this. I don’t know why. I shouldn’t be by now. But it just amazes me that people who are in their mid-lifetime of living, just don’t take the time to read their discounts. People younger than that don’t argue about it, and are much more understanding for the most part.

Then we have the “regulars” as I like to call them. You know which customer wants what, and you also know who to look out for when it comes to loss prevention. Customers don’t realize that every override for the “misleading” coupon, has the potential to flag our associate ID and put us on a “naughty” retail worker list. We could lose our job over it. But since you insisted on speaking to our manager, we do have to give you this small discount because you can’t read. Let me see how long it takes to read off this long ass barcode number and type it in for ya.

You wind up spending so much time working and getting called in because the teenagers that the manager hired all call out. Going to any place of business to purchase gifts is a feat all in itself. Driving in the crazy, bumper to bumper traffic just to get in a tight line to buy stuff you don’t really need…..Ugh…inhale deeply and exhale slowly.

You think, I just left a place just like this, but at least I am not working at the moment…..Then you see the retail workers face who is about to check you out. You smile, even though you are exhausted, in solidarity because you know it’s been one Hell of a day for them too, probably. The look of relief on their face makes you feel better and you share a protected bubble of peace for 3 to 5 minutes as they check your items. Then you walk off and take comfort in the thought that you are not the only one.

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