Before I begin, let me just provide the following disclaimer: I like presents too.
That being said, working in retail has me swallowing down my own vomit with disgust at the commercialization of Christmas. I'm not super religious, and I know that kids love ripping open a ton of presents under the tree on Christmas Eve (or Christmas morning if you're weird) and that it's all part of the magic for them. I know this. But working in a major department store during the holiday season has me ready to spend Christmas in a monastery to get away from all this craziness.
Mostly it's the Christmas music that gets to me. I like a little Christmas music here and there, but when you're listening to it for 6-8 hours a day every day at work, it begins to feel like torture. Especially when they go beyond the traditional Christmas songs, a little Bing Crosby, a little Burl Ives, a little Mitch Miller and the Gang, and move into the weird stuff. Some country singer asking some girl why she left him right before Christmas, SO MANY versions of "Santa Baby" where that slut sings about wanting a yacht, and worst of all, a bizarre, trippy techno remix of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," which is just plain sick and wrong. Bing! On behalf of the 21st century, I apologize. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
I'm so sick of it that the other day when I worked in the Hip and Groovy Young People department, I was actually relieved to hear the horrible crap "music" they play in there. Actually, I think the people up in corporate must have hired a new person to choose the playlist, because some of it really isn't that bad. There's some more folksy rock stuff, and only a few aggressive hip hop artists screaming about sex and money. Although there are still far too many songs featuring spoiled teens bitching about their girlfriends or their dads or something, but oh well. And then of course there's like thirteen Taylor Swift songs and that other girl, the blond one from American Idol with the curly hair who sings country. I dunno. But the point is, it's not Christmas music, which is great.
The funny thing is that because it's almost Christmas, people who don't usually shop at all are now "forced" to because they have to buy gifts for their loved ones. You can always tell who they are. Every single man in the women's underwear department. Every single man in the shoe department. Every single man. I'm only kidding, we do have some regular customers who are male. But there are people who look so lost and confused by the entire purchasing-an-item process. It's funny except on days when it's annoying.
They wander around looking lost and confused. Sometimes they accept help when we offer it, sometimes they don't. Many people around here seem suspicious of us, as though we get to personally keep the money they hand over and are trying to take them for everything they have. One lady found a set of bowls that said "Popcorn" on them and asked me how much they were, if they were on sale, etc. I told her the price and then tried to hand the bowl back to her because I saw that there were people waiting for me at the cash register. She stood there staring at me and said, "But I don't know if they eat popcorn! Will they like this?" Now how in the hell am I supposed to know if some strangers I have never met before eat popcorn? I think I said something like, "Who on earth doesn't eat popcorn?" and she ended up buying them.
Then there are the people who act like they have never even seen a cash register before. They're confused by the entire process of buying something. I practically have to hold their hand through it. This is the part where you hand me the item. Now I ring it up. You have a million coupons? Perfect. Here is the one you should use. No, you can't use three coupons at once. No, this item was not on sale. No, you don't get an additional discount for using your store card if you also use a coupon. I don't know why, you just can't. Of course I would let you if you could. Sir, I realize that when you were a kid ice cream cost a nickel and that you've never paid more than three dollars for a sweater. But when I was a kid I wore neon pink leg warmers, times have changed. Yes, this is definitely the price. No, you do not get to name your own price. You're paying with cash? Easy. Oh, you're paying with a credit card? Super. No, give me the card. Now sign on that little electronic box. You have to hit "Enter" after you sign it. You have to approve the amount. Ma'am? You have to approve the amount. You missed the right box, click it again. Now you accidentally canceled it and we have to start over. No, no, it's fine, I have all day to stand here and teach you how to use your credit card.
I swear the way these people bitch about cost and try to haggle, sometimes I glance around just to make sure that the store didn't turn into a middle eastern spice market when I wasn't looking. America! Hear me when I say this! YOU DO NOT GET TO CHOOSE HOW MUCH SOMETHING COSTS. THERE IS A NUMBER ON THE TAG AND THAT IS THE PRICE. GET OVER IT. IF YOU THINK IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND LEAVE ME ALONE.
*deep breath* Thanks for letting me get that out, I feel better.
So as a result of all this, I am so over Christmas presents. If you have not received a present from me yet and you are not my brother or my sister, I'm sorry but you're not getting one this year. It's ok, you don't have to get me anything either. I think I asked for a battery for my laptop and my parents have that covered. And I'm not sending out Christmas cards. I might do an e-card to save paper, but I haven't decided yet so probably not. I just want to finish this last couple of days of work, have a safe flight back to Maryland, hang out with my people, and eat hangikjöt. That is all.