Monday, December 6, 2010

Nick - Merry Christmas!

You're probably starting to think about Christmas, right? It's coming up fast. Let me tell you, you don't know how lucky you are.

I was thinking about Christmas in August when I was unwrapping Christmas ornaments, and fixing each one with a price tag. Yeah, in August. That was before I went to college. I was still living in Springfield, still doing Easily Amused Teen Improv Troupe, hadn't met anybody I've met in college. Unwrapping Christmas ornaments.

And it's not even Christmas yet! When I worked my first Christmas season at Jeffrey Alans (henceforth referred to as "JA"), there was a girl who looked me in the eye and said, "I've worked here for three years. I've hated Christmas for three years." I heard tell of a couple of employees who would spend Christmas season picking out which ornaments looked most fun to smash. Then, when everything went on clearance, they would wait for a slow day and smash a couple of ornaments.

I'm sure you've heard before that Christmas is over commercialized. (Or maybe that's just a Catholic school thing?) Well, that never really bothered me... until I started working at JA.

Let's get some perspective here. I go into work at noon, and work until nine. I wake up, go to work, come home, and it's dark. I made ~65 dollars for the day after tax.

And then, all day, women coming in and buying 200 dollars worth of wreaths, ornaments, unneeded things which could be purchased for much, much cheaper elsewhere. And all day, every day, I would hear, "My husband would kill me if he knew how much I was spending!"

Well, if I were your husband, you had better believe I would be unhappy. Some deal he got, where you shop while he works. Fat old lady.

And then there's the Christmas trees.

Don't get me wrong, I totally understand Christmas shopping, and that you want a nice tree. What bothers me is the sense of entitlement. You continually ask me snappy questions about the lights and the price; fine, I get it, that's my job. You pick out a tree, and ask me to bring it to the front for you. Again, that's my job. Where you cross the line is when the box I bring to the front is not good enough for you, and I have to go back and get a different one. And then usually I offer to carry it out for you, you tell me how to get it into the car, snap at me for not doing it right, and then drive away with a curt goodbye.

And people bring the trees back, because they're broken, and the customers are very very unhappy. Only guess what? They're not broken most of the time, you just decided you didn't want that tree or else you were too dumb to put it up.

And let me pause to mention that the "too dumb to put it up" category is my absolute favorite. I once had a customer bring back a huge tree, tell my friend Lucas that it didn't work. He explains that she has simply mistaken the bottom piece for the middle piece, and she snaps at him and gives him a good talking-to. Only guess what? He was right. I enjoyed watching her face as we set the tree up in front of her.

Lucas later points out to me that she had tried to get the two sections together with a hammer.

There was even a lady once who left one small item on the counter after I checked her out. I helped her to her car with her bags of things (~$250 worth). She never says thank you. Later she calls to demand that I drive the item left on the counter over to her house personally, because it was my fault she forgot it.

It wasn't all bad, though. Probably more than half of my customers were normal people, and most of them very polite; I even got a few tips, and I will remember those people forever for their generosity. It's just that so many customers I had to deal with were rude, self-righteous people. I think that everybody should have a minimum wage job at some point. Maybe then they would understand the benefits of being considerate.

Speaking of entitled people, I wish that we lived in a world where beauty was inversely proportional to sense of entitlement. But that's a rant for another day.

I guess the moral is that I've worked at JA for two years, and I've hated Christmas for two years.

Bah, humbug,


  1. " had better believe I would be unhappy. Some deal he got, where you shop while he works. Fat old lady."



  2. Thats like my least favorite part. If she really is old, the chances that he's not working and spending equal amounts of money on manly retirement things is just as likely as her x-mas decoration shopping. And also, at least what she's getting is for the home (and for everyone), it's not a manicure.

    Further, God forbid someone have a season wreath on their door. I thing the excessive gift giving and receiving is a much uglier form of consumerism. Anything in excess (including outrageous amounts of new decoration)is enough to make you dislike a holiday like Christmas, but we also love to assume and be negative about situations we really know nothing about. I recommend David Woster Wallace's "This is Water" to errybody.


  3. bahh it deleted my comment the first time so I rewrote it really fast
    *I think


  4. Carrie, shut up.


  5. Two things.

    My mother's take on these things was that everyone should at some point live in a dormitory and that everyone one should at some point work as a server in a restaurant.

    Neither Paul nor I can get either the quote or the attribution right tonight and both Bartlett's and Google are letting us down, but "character is less about how how one faces great crises than how one deals with trivial annoyances/minor inconveniences." Somebody help us out here??

    You're building character, friend.