What does the holiday season really mean? A time of family togetherness? No. A time to give and receive? Nope. A time to relax with friends and have fun after finals? Try again.
A time to risk bodily harm hunting down that highly coveted hamster toy for little Susie and making the sales girl cry when the store sells out of Uncle Joe’s reindeer sweater? Ding, ding, ding: right answer!
Even though I’ve never seen it in print, somewhere there is a rule giving people the right to be as ruthless as possible, all in the name of gift giving and holiday cheer.
I’m sure some of you are thinking I have a pretty sad view of the holidays, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I love Christmas and everything that comes along with it. But I work retail and once the calendar hits Black Friday, holiday shoppers become a risk to my mental and physical health.
You name it and I’ve experienced it in my last six retail Christmases. I had a grandmother trip me with her walker and throw hangers at my head. I had a guy threaten to key my car because we were out of the sweater his girlfriend wanted. I was blamed and yelled at by a mother whose eight screaming children ripped down my tree displays. Last year, I even saw Santa punch a father.
I’ve seen it all and I’m here to say the holidays bring out the worst in people. Gift giving is supposed to be a nice gesture. But it loses its sweet connotation if we only knew the backstabbing and bloodshed that went in to acquiring those presents.
People become obsessed with finding the hot gifts, the best deals and outdoing last year’s extravaganza. They want that new DVD combo pack or cell phone and they don’t care who stands in the way; bystanders are just collateral damage.
Call me crazy, but I don’t want a game console that was ripped out of someone else’s hand or strategically stolen out of someone else’s cart.
Worried about my safety and my sanity, my friends have asked why I stay in my job. I’m starting to think it’s because I’m crazy. Ten months out of the year, it’s not so bad. Those other two months, retail should be labeled as a war zone. Workers shouldn’t be allowed to enter without protective gear.
I don’t understand why people act like they are possessed during the holidays. It’s not my fault we stopped carrying the coats you saw here last year. I can’t magically wiggle my nose and make the slippers appear in the store. So stop invading my personal space, yelling and threatening my life. It won’t help your cause.
The holidays are supposed to be fun. Families get together with relatives they haven’t seen in a year and pretend to like each other while they eat fruitcake, watch football and wish for peace on Earth. What’s not to love?
But for the poor, helpless creatures standing behind the counter at the local department store, the holidays have become a feared season. I walk in to work everyday of the holiday season preparing myself to be ripped to shreds by cute old ladies. Something is wrong here.
So the next time you find yourself enraged beyond control because the store has sold out of Guitar Hero, remember the sales clerk isn’t to blame. Please, be nice and remember your holiday spirit. Don’t rip her arms off and beat her to death with them.