I used to be retail bitch. A checkout Charlie. A stockroom stooge.
All these things and yet more. I won't say exactly where.* But during Uni, and a couple of years after Uni I worked in retail, which included the Christmas period.
I am in no way getting snobby. Everyone does jobs like this, at any stage of life, that may not exactly their dream career, and those who haven't should do. It's like a kind of national service, where you're forced to experience the business end of the Great British Public for a few years to really SEE what we're like. Anita Roddick once said "show me someone with a deep loathing for all humanity, and I'll show you someone who works in retail" and she really wasn't just whistling dixie.
I have some awesome memories of those jobs. Mostly about the other people and the drinking because quite often we were all bored to tears, but it taught me stuff I still use in day-to-day life and my work today. So ner. Yes, I know I sound like I'm about to say "what you need is a bloody good war". But sometimes that's a little what it felt like.
Especially at Christmas.
So for today's advent, let's all take a few moments and spare a thought for the good people of retail who are generally Making Our Christmas Happen For Us. The bar people, the supermarket bods and all the people we hand cash to in return for some things we give to other people.
Because it's not a great time of year for them. Working right up to Christmas Eve setting up stuff for the sales after the shop closes, and being back in on Boxing Day doesn't leave much time for stuff with family or friends.** The hours are long, the pay is usually fairly rubbish and sometimes it can be another form of care in the community for the regular customers.
Ages I shoved on here my "light-hearted" guide to Christmas shopping, but please spare a thought for the person who's helping you shop. Not only are there millions of us, we're quite grumpy and demanding. And we hate queues. And we'll get in a right tizz if that store doesn't happen to have the plates in the right colour, or this dress in the right size. trust me on this. I had people spit at me.***
What's more, by this time of year they are already note perfect on the Christmas CD that's been sent by Head Office that year. And never, ever, want to hear any of it again. It's never the the good Christmas music, it's always, always some disco version of Little Donkey that was released in 1973.
So, take a moment and say a nice thanks to the next person that helps you out with something for Christmas. G'waan.****
* Happy Holidays! Would you like a gift receipt or gift box with that turtle neck jumper?
** I have never understood this country's obsession with getting up early and going shopping the day after Christmas. Are we, like, mad? There's telly on. And more food. And fami.. ohIseeeee.
*** And old ladies throw handbags at you before flashing you.
**** Even you smug types that have "finished" all your Christmas shopping. You still have food shopping or something to do.