Christmas is over. Sigh. For most adults, at least, we’re glad for the hustle and bustle – and the expense – of the holiday to be in our rear view mirror.
But I suspect there is one group for whom the end of the holiday season is a moment of pure joy. I have never worked in retail, but I think often when I go to a store or to the mall about what kind of behaviors shopkeepers and store clerks must have to deal with on a daily basis. And I am sure the weirdos all come out in full force at the holidays because, hey, even weirdos have to buy Christmas presents for their weirdo loved ones.
Then, of course, there are the men. Shopping is not an inately male thing to do. Buying, yes. Shopping, no. Us men usually walk into a store (no more than two days before Christmas) with an idea of what we want to buy and when it’s not available, we are like deer in the headlights. “What. Should. I. Do. Now?” Store clerks often take pity on the male shoppers of the species because they know it’s outside our comfort zone, but after a while the store clerks must wonder why men are such bozos that after years of trying and failing at last-minute shopping, men don’t smarten up and start the job in, say, July.
But the weirdos and the men probably don’t pose half the challenge that angry people pose for store clerks.
The Christmas shopping season is hectic and frantic to say the least. We’re all busy trying to work and make sure we check off everyone on our list. Sometimes the items we want to buy are just no longer on the shelves. Or they are on the shelves, but in the wrong size. Or they cost more than they did 10 weeks ago when Miss Angry Shopper first saw them and she is incensed by the fact that the store clerk won’t reduce the price.
I have no idea what an average salary is for a retail store clerk is, but something tells me they aren’t making enough to buy a summer home in the Hamptons. And for what they do get paid, they earn every penny in spades when they have to deal with some jerk who wouldn’t satisfied with anything less than exactly what they want. Put another way, the job probably isn’t worth what they are being paid to put up with.
So, I expect there are hundreds and thousands of retail store clerks and shopkeepers all over North Carolina who are loving this fleeting moment in the afterglow of another Christmas shopping season.
There’s one other group that probably is glad to have reached this point: the UPS guys. UPS generally gives their drivers a full days worth of deliveries on a normal day. That number bounds upward exponentially at Christmas. Many is the time I’ve turned off onto the road to home at 9 at night and fallen in behind a brown UPS truck. Though I never get to ask them, I always hope they are making their final delivery of the day because it just seems like torture to get in and out of that truck dozens of times a day, check to make sure you have the right packages and then lug that thing to the front door.
That’s hard enough work on a regular day, but when the workday ends at 9 or 9:30 instead of 4:30 or 5, well, that can wear on a person.
So if you fall in one of the two camps, I’m pitying in this space today, congratulations on making it through another Christmas season. For the rest of us, well, there’s only 363 shopping days left before Christmas. We better get on it.