in which I try to preserve my Christmas spirit

Writing in this blog again feels like finding the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone what it’s like to be staring down the barrel of a full slate of university exams, some weighted at 40% or more of the final grade. I hope you can forgive my absence.

In the downtime, I found a new penpal which is super cool. It’s been years since I’ve had a reason to just write a letter, and it’s pretty satisfying.

Liam got a real, grown-up job a little while back, which I neglected to write about. So now he works a 9-5, Monday-Friday job, in the same building as my father. I still haven’t fully decided how I feel about them having inside jokes and stuff. He loves his job, and I’m glad. Though I blissfully sleep through his 7:30 am morning routine.

Liam doesn’t get too jealous though, because he can do almost everything else while I’m at work.

This year, I am working my first Christmas in retail since 2009. And it hasn’t taken me long to remember why I stopped. Christmas brings out the worst in people.

“In the spirit of Christmas giving, give me that item you took from the shelf, before I cut your face.” (Source)

This is not made any better by the fact that my store sells that damned Elf On The Shelf kit. We get hundreds of calls a day about it, and a line-up halfway through our store with every second person not so much asking for an Elf On The Shelf as pointing at it while pulling out their wallets. To 90% of the people who come to my counter, all that matters is that they get in, get their shit and get out.

And I get that.

Christmas, though it shouldn’t be (and if you do it right, it isn’t), can be quite stressful. Cutting it close on getting just the right gift is a nerve-wracker. You want to be sure you do the best and you have metaphorical blinders on to make sure you get the job done without a second thought to anything else.

I get it.

But what so, so many people don’t seem to get is that the people behind the counter are real people too. Doesn’t it seem like I shouldn’t have to explain this? I know! I agree completely that it’s utter madness, and surely everyone knows this and treats us accordingly. But they don’t.

I do the best I can to keep my Christmas cheer up, because under regular circumstances, it’s hard to find someone who loves Christmas more than I do. I have a little giftwrap-bow ring that I wear to work. My heart grows three sizes at the sound of Christmas songs – old and new. I even bought The Book of (Holiday) Awesome so that if I had a bad day I could go home, flick through it, and go “oh yeah, that’s why I love Christmas!”

But nothing hurts my poor little heart quite like rude customer after rude customer; the ones who clearly have no regard for us employees or the fact that we are humans with feelings. There is no reason to take your stress out on us. I don’t take my frustrations and hurt out on you.

Perhaps you’ll allow me to make a few suggestions to ease everyone’s stress.

  • First of all, I know many people are going to be offended that I suggest this. But believe that I have the best intentions when I say that you should try and find what you’re looking for yourself before going after a staff member. I’m not saying this because I’m lazy and don’t want to help you. But often, staff members have a string of customers 10 people long waiting for their help, and you could be waiting a while, which leads to added frustration. If they have an online database, or an in-store database, give it a quick look. Chances are you’ll find it before we even get to your request.
  • If you’re at a store where you’re asked if you want a membership card, there is no need to get huffy or annoyed about it. Keep in mind that the employees are required to ask you that. A simple “no thanks” will suffice.
  • If we’re sold out of an item you need, it is not our fault. We are not hiding it behind our backs from you, and we did not sell the last copy just so we could lord it over you. Other people were more on the ball than you were, and you have to live with that. Please don’t get mad at us because we did our job.
  • Understand that the person serving you is probably exhausted, and has probably dealt with many of the people I have described. A smile can go a long way. If you’re feeling up to it, maybe even toss in a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or even just a “have a nice day” to keep spirits up. It is appreciated.
  • Most importantly, start your Christmas shopping in August, like I did. That way next year at this point you can kick back with some great Christmas music and enjoy the season.

Retail job aside, I look forward to finishing my exams next week, and then posting frequently about my overwhelming, child-like Christmas excitement. Liam and I both have our chocolate advent calendars, even if I have to remind him to eat it every day. Christmas baking will start in about a week or so, and I look forward to writing a cheery post about a discussion Liam and I had not too long ago: Christmas traditions.

Plus more of my family’s resident rein-dog.

6 thoughts on “in which I try to preserve my Christmas spirit

  1. You know, before this Christmas I hadn't even heard of Elf on the Shelf, but this year it seems to be everywhere!


  2. Amanda says:

    Neither had I, but apparently kids are crazy for them! We can't keep them in our store.


  3. L-Diggitty says:

    Amen, sister! I have most of my shopping done already, but I've had to venture out on occasion – and PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!!! I don't even work in the stores and I can see that. It's amazing how a season that's supposed to be about giving and sharing and happiness and all that jazz turns into an excuse to be a jerk.

    You deserve a special award for working retail during Christmas season. Maybe a nice bottle of booze for your trouble? 🙂


  4. Amanda says:

    A bottle of merlot wouldn't go astray haha! It does get hard to keep your Christmas spirit when dealing with people sometimes. One of my coworkers has spent so many years dealing with it that she just flat out hates Christmas now for that exact reason. It's sad.


  5. Susi Letter says:

    Hi, I´m very glad you mentioned me in such a nice way! Thanks! I hope my letter will arrive soon! 😉


  6. Amanda says:

    Me too! I can't wait to get it. 🙂


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