You see my career as an actress and being married to Leonardo Di Caprio didn't quite work out as imagined, or at all actually. Yes 20 years in retail *looks wistfully into the horizon at the wasted degree......*
20 years of working the festive season, 20 years of watching seemingly nice, reasonable and respectable women fall apart over the last bag of brussel sprouts on Christmas Eve. This actually happened on the first Christmas I spent working in store, I literally couldn't take my eyes off two women the age of my Nana grappling over an unoffending bag of sprouts. Sprouts that everybody buys in blind panic but let's face it almost always get left on the plate. It all got a bit violent with a baguette at one point and had to be broken up by the undercover security guard.
It's also 20 years of the the sales, the sheer volume of people who come rushing through the doors on the first day never ceases to amaze me. People pushing each other out of the way to get to the refund desk, to bitterly return the scented drawer liners Auntie Beryl gave them. Again.Watching women strip down to their bra and pants in the middle of the shop floor to try on clothes. In some sort of semi naked protest at the stores policy to close the fitting room. By New Year you feel like you've lived through the zombie apocalypse and you're not quite sure if you survived it or you're actually one of the zombies.
It's an experience let me tell you.
However, as crazy as it is, as much as we moan about the bad stuff there's almost always a buzz of excitement, a feeling of camaraderie between you all. When you get customers who smile, who say 'thank you' Who have a laugh and a chat with you, well it makes you forget the bad stuff. Like the man who made you cry the other day over a 5p carrier bag charge that's the law, or the lady who called you a "Stupid, stupid girl" because we had no swimwear in stock (but you were secretly quite pleased about being called a girl)
So in honour of those of us who work in retail over Christmas here is a lighthearted look at 12 gifs you may recognise, I've felt them all this week and who knows a bit of humour might just get us through.
1. When the delivery arrives containing those first items of Christmas stock.....
So it begins.