The season of shopping is upon us, and while my colleagues and competitor’s staff are moaning and groaning, I couldn’t be happier. There are skeptics who hate the retail world, and especially despise corporate America, when I think more people should be thankful for it. The bitching and whining about working this ‘retail holiday’ is simply useless, and I think that perhaps some need to wake up and see the positives instead of just the negatives of living in a world of consumers. It’s not all so bad, really!
By now I am sure that some of you are already scratching your head thinking, “What kind of lunatic could possibly see a positive in spending a holiday at work, and working hellacious hours just to service others?” That lunatic would be me, just a lowly retail associate who struggles to make ends meet on a weekly basis and needs the extra income that it will provide. I understand that no one wants to work on a holiday, much less one where people are going out by the masses to buy all the things they want after celebrating a day of all they are thankful for. It’s one of the most contradicting things that I have ever heard of. At the same time, there are the oddballs like me out there who are a bit gung ho, and probably enjoys their job too much. Sure, there are negatives to this most coveted holiday weekend of spending cash, but there are two sides of a coin, so I suppose I’ll just dive in with both pros and cons.
I’ve been hearing a cornucopia of complaints and negatives, which are legitimate, but annoying at the same time. I mean, it’s a job, where we work not a playground. The complaints are ultimately useless or close to it, because we as a people are ruled by corporate America, no matter if we’d like to own up to that or not. We aren’t living in that simpler time in which I so fondly refer to as the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ era. That shit is as dead and gone as JFK. Yes, it sucks to have to leave family gatherings early or cancel them all together. Being up and on your feet until the wee hours of the morning just to get up and do it all again the next day is also less than desirable. Yes, it’s ridiculous as all get out to have extended operating hours, and to have to get out and fight traffic, or transit depending upon your locale. Yes, it sucks that we as retail associates don’t get to partake in the crazy good sales that are happening. Yes, it’s absolutely fucked up that on a day of thanks people scramble out to buy all the material things that they’ve been longing for. People are of our day are materialistic, greedy, and obsessed with the ever changing ‘status symbols’ as dictated by a rather fickle society. It is those very same people who have made this a holiday thing, cheering for corporate America to make ‘Black Friday’ a thing. However, in the long run, there are some blessings that come from this evil weekend of retail hell.
Firstly, there’s the holiday pay of time and a half, or in my case, holiday pay as well as your normal hourly wage. For someone with a minimum wage job, who struggles on a week to week basis just to make ends meet, this type of pay is a god send. Let’s not forget those of us who have jobs where we also receive commissions. That 1%, 3%, and/or 5% commission is going to go through the roof on this most wretched of weekends, which ultimately means a bigger paycheck. Sure you’re going to have to bust ass, and likely have 8-12 hour days or longer for the weekend, but is that really so bad when it’s one weekend a year? Are you going to be bitching about that overtime pay? I bet you won’t, and I know that I won’t be. I’ve even volunteered to work as many hours as possibly work as both Thursday and Friday have been deemed ‘holidays’ in the way of the pay scale. I believe the company I work for is also giving holiday pay for that Saturday. I can’t imagine complaining about 2 extra days of holiday pay in this year in comparison to last. In fact, I’m very grateful for it.
Secondly, this is a time when a lot of people who make very little can maybe afford their child anything new besides the necessities. Can you really be upset at another parent for wanting to be able to buy their child something they would otherwise not be able to afford? Are you such a terrible fucking person that you want to suck the magic out of Christmas for children who are living in poverty, or children in general? I’d sincerely hope not. There are so many things that are purchased on this holiday, many of which are donated back to the community in the way of ‘Toys for Tots’ or ‘Angel Tree’. Those charities are giving presents to orphans, foster kids, and even children whom are homeless, or otherwise displaced from a family making enough wages to do anything beyond surviving, so that they too are able to experience the magic of this holiday. The thought of bringing joy to a child, or another human at least one time a year, should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Unless of course you are a Scrooge or have a heart as black as the coal that you’re probably going to get in your stocking. Someone, many in fact have brought joy by the purchases on this weekend of spending exponential amounts of cash. Why can’t anyone just stop for a second, and do something so small yet selfless as being happy for another human being’s happiness?
Thirdly, I feel like this singular weekend stimulates our economy about as much as the tax return season does. I could be wrong, as I am not so great at the numbers game, but I feel like ultimately the more money spent equals more jobs and/or the need to hire more help. Eventually, that trickles down and becomes a good thing for everyone. People fly in from other towns, other states, and other countries to spend this holiday season with their loved ones. They wine, dine, and shop, putting their money in our stores both local, and nationally branded. Eventually that means those of us towards the bottom of the pay scale could get a raise and better afford to support our homes, families, expand our education, or make just enough extra money to mark something off of our personal bucket list. Maybe, that one new job opportunity will get a family off of the streets, or out of the welfare system which is good for all involved, especially the upcoming generation. Maybe next year that same family will be returning the favor by donating to a charity that helped them, creating a continuation in the chain of love, and paying it forward.
All of that said, stop and take a minute to be genuinely thankful. Be appreciative of the extra pay and the fact that you have a job to even bitch about because there are plenty of people out there who would love to make your income no matter how great or miniscule. Stop being that part of the ungrateful society who complains about everything. Try, just try to think about someone other than yourself, and embrace the actual fucking meaning of the holiday: Peace, Love, and Goodwill toward men.
Besides, no one put us in this world of retail other than ourselves. Some because they thought it would be a cake walk and others because they need something part time to work their way through school. Can we all honestly say that if we were there, in that higher position, that we wouldn’t be a part of the frenzy, spending until our accounts are drained? Can we truthfully say that we wouldn’t be the corporate asshole who is in charge of making others’ lives miserable on the biggest shopping weekend of the year? I’m going to go out on a limb here and just assume that you wouldn’t be bitching if the holiday were putting hundreds of thousands or even millions in YOUR pocket.
Be happy with what you have, because in the end, we as retail workers are the ungrateful ones all bitching about a good opportunity. That in itself is jacked up. The world doesn’t stop because of a holiday anymore. Boycotting would only lead to even more violence and outbreaks of anger by those who save all year to afford the deals that come with this particular retail nightmare. There are plenty of others out there such as doctors and nurses who aren’t bitching nearly as much as we do, and they work longer, more exhausting hours on a daily basis. One weekend of opportunity really shouldn’t be the bane of our existence. I feel it’s a rather small price to pay in comparison to those people who are likely only allowed the ever so small windows of time with their families and loved ones that they get during the holidays. I am almost positive that everyone on the higher end of the pay scale has been where we are right now.
So call it what you will, and think what you want, I’ll just be over here in my tiny bubble of gratefulness. I’ll be satisfied that at the end of the day, my time sacrificed could have lifted someone’s spirit, or another child will come to experience the magic of Christmas. After all, it’s supposed to be merry, and not just for some. I wish each and every one of you reading a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever it is you call this season of wonder. I hope with all of my heart that you are prosperous in the upcoming New Year, and for many more to come.