Thursday, November 24, 2011

Oh yes. I sure am thankful.

There are plenty of things for me to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.  As many of you know, this has been a rough year and I am first and foremost thankful for the help I was able to get and my subsequent return to sanity.

I am thankful for my perfect, maniac kid; for Ben, who stays with me through all the worst I have to offer; for friends, family, sunny days, health, etcetera, etcetera...

But that isn't REALLY what this post is about. 

Today, while all the TV commercials talk about the "incredible door buster sales" that start just after you have had time to clear the table today, I am INCREDIBLY thankful that I no longer work in retail.

First I want to say that if you ever hear about me waiting outside in the cold at 3am to get my hands on a $4 toaster oven for my Aunt Hilda or 75% off a steam cleaner for my 2nd cousin, I want you to come and bludgeon me to death with a snow shovel.  I know the bargains are great.  I know that the excitement is tangible.  But I swore long ago that I would never be involved in the trampling of a 90 year old lady so that I can spend my life's savings on crap that will never be used and I intend to stick with that pledge until I die.


That brings me to another point.  If I ever worked for a company making $8 an hour with no benefits (which I totally have done) and they told me I had to come in on Thanksgiving Day to sell cheap Chinese-made crap to a bunch of crazed bargain hunters, I would tell them to FUCK RIGHT OFF.  Yes, I know the economy is tough and I know that even $8 an hour jobs are hard to come by.  I know that people work these jobs to put food on their tables.  But any company that chooses to make a few extra dollars over giving their employees ONE day (technically 2 days because they're also closed on Christmas-how DARE they!) a year to spend with relatives and friends before the hell that is to ensue for the next month is not a company I want to work for.  Its bad enough that the majority of these retailers don't believe that the people who work for them deserve a living wage or health care, but ONE day off?  SERIOUSLY?

Additionally, I have also pledged that I would not SHOP at those retailers that are opening on Thanksgiving Day for the entire holiday season.  This is going to be especially challenging, especially because all the toy places are engaging in this insanity.  But I'll figure it out.  It's going to involve a combination of local businesses and online catalogs.

And now for a little history:

I realize that you have been told that the reason they call it "Black Friday" has something to do with the accounting and profits putting retailers "in the black" after a year of being "in the red," but I hope you don't buy that. Doesn't the phrase "Black Friday" conjure up misfortune and darkness? Is there anyone out there who thinks that using the term "BLACK FRIDAY" reminds them of happiness and sunshine? NO. No there isn't. And you know why? Because that phrase was actually coined by retail employees who consider that day to be the worst day of the year. In the retail community, we threw that term around amongst ourselves for YEARS before it caught on and the alternate reasoning was applied. When you're doing your shopping on Friday, please keep in mind that this is the WORST day of the year for these people, and be nice to them.

Don't be one of these assholes.
I still can't listen to Christmas music for more than an hour at a time because I am scarred from the constant repeating holiday melodies that I was subjected to for 8 to 10 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week for 30 to 45 days in a row.  Thankfully, I got out before it started at Halloween or I am pretty sure that images of snowmen or reindeer would have given me night terrors. 

But by far, the worst thing about the holiday season when you work in retail is the customers who are just plain rude or demanding or both.  These people seem to forget that you are a person and that although it is your job, standing for 8 hours in one place and bagging their shit is exhausting and one nasty remark or bad transaction can ruin a whole day.

I hope she isn't talking to you.
Here are a few tips for not making your local mall cashier want to slit their wrists this holiday season:
  • Say thank you, and wish them a happy holiday (or Merry Christmas if you are fighting against the "war") before they have a chance.  They are required to say it.  You aren't. 
  • Get off your cell phone before you reach the register.  Hey!  Hello!  I am talking to you.  Get off your phone and interact with the person right in front of you.  Pay attention and smile.  If this is too much, find a self check-out.
  • If the sale requires a coupon or coupon code, bring it.  If you forget it, don't expect the cashier to take care of it for you.  You don't go to the grocery code and get to the register and explain to the cashier that there was a $1.00 off coupon in the Sunday paper so you should get the $1 off.  Don't do this anywhere else either.

I guess what I am saying is DON'T BE A DOUCHE.

I still get panic attacks when I go to the mall and see Santa sitting there looking like he might just be drunk and I refuse to eat pizza from now until Christmas because I basically survived on mall pizza during the winter for way too many years.

I guess I am still recovering from my years in the holiday retail battle.  I can finally enjoy the sight of Christmas lights.  I can go into stores during December (never on the weekends, though), and this morning I actually caught myself humming along to Jingle Bell Rock.


  1. The whole "Black Friday" getting the stores back into the black always seemed like BS to me. You mean selling those $4 toasters and $199 televisions will get you into the black? Then why don't you do that all year round and never worry about the red? Ugh.

    But I want to comment on the tips to help the cashiers not slit their wrists: Saying thank you before they do, YES. The whole coupon thing, don't be a douche and assume they are going to do your work for you. But the most important... get off your damn cell phone before you talk to them. Do you know how rude that is? Not to mention it's common courtesy--manners, it's called. That cashier is providing you with a service. How would you feel if the person you were providing a service to (I wanted to say servicing but I just couldn't type it with a straight face!) ignored you, talked to someone else the whole time then didn't even acknowledge the help you provided. You would feel pretty shitty. I realize you are not the general public and you doing these things aren't going to make EVERYONE do them. But I can honestly say--from experience--even one smile, one nice, pleasant and genuinely appreciative customer can make up for the other 50 douchebags who were rude. Why not be that one person?

    Ok, stepping off my soapbox. Whew.

    Have a happy Thansgiving Selena! Keep humming that Jingle Bell Rock. :)

    Servicing... *snicker* I am so immature!

  2. love your blogs always. I've been working for Macy's part time since June. And yes, I was at work this morning at midnight. It was horrible. We were slammed. I don't think Macy's had expected the crowd. Anyway, I was sad at the amazing turnout because of its influence on next year's decision, not to mention the ripple effect on the entire retail industry. -Chatri

  3. I worked retail for way too many years, also. It only takes one asshole to ruin your entire day. And seriously... I HATE Christmas music because I had to listen to it for hours and days and weeks and months on end.
    Christmas brings out the worst in customers.

  4. "Fuck right off" Just came across your blog today and I seem to share your same,assholes,etc. Keep up the good work.


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