I have worked retail for most of my life up until 2000 (from 16 years of age).  The worst day in all of retail is the dreaded day after Thanksgiving.  We call if Black Friday.  Maybe we call it that as it is the worst day in a retail workers life, that is the color of the sky when you arrive AND when you leave that day?  We hate it, we hope it would be outlawed, and we wish it is just a dream.

I would have to wake up for work at 5 a.m., shower and get ready.  I then had to trudge miles to the place that I worked.  Miles you say?  That is because the shoppers were already lined up for the bargains that started at 6 a.m.  I then fought my way through the crowd to get to the door, tried to get the manager’s attention to let me in the door and then squeezed my way into that very small opening as the manager tried to lock it again before any shoppers got in. 

I worked the last seven years of my retail career in an optical retail franchise inside of America’s Favorite Discount Amusement superstore (you get points from me if you can tell me what I am talking about!).  Nobody wanted glasses for Christmas!  They made us sell telescopes during the holidays in order to get some sales.  I spent most of my day bored to tears until the year they decided to institute the one day contact lens sale.  Then I spent hours upon hours keying the presales on the contact lenses.  Intersperse that with the shopper that didn’t want to wait in the LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG checkout lines so came up to as if I could ring them up.  I had to explain that we were a franchise and that I was unable to do so and they had to get back in the even longer line. 

At Christmas people are not very nice.  Let me rephrase that…frazzled holiday shoppers are MEAN!  They will swear at you, throw things at you, not listen when you tell them something, and then call the manager because YOU were rude!  The best part of this exchange is that all this occurs while you are FIXING the glasses that they DIDN’T buy from you for FREE!  You are performing a courtesy and they are mad at you! 

For anyone working in retail, the most blessed day is January 1st.  When all of the holiday shopping is over, the returns are done and people are home nursing their hangovers.  That is when we get our rest.  So this year be patient, be kind, be nice to the person behind the counter or helping you locate something in the store.  It is their job and they do it well.  We are not there to make you holiday more difficult, I promise!

Where will I be today you ask?  Home watching Miracle on 34th Street (the original), It’s A Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation while nursing my turkey hangover and eating leftovers.

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