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.
2. When someone asks you and your colleagues if you've got any time off for Christmas this year.
Ha Ha Ha. No..
3. When someone stops and asks "Do you work here" Which is totally fine if I'm not wearing a uniform, stacking a shelf and wearing a name badge.
4. When there's a long Queue and they've spent the entire time in that Queue complaining. Eyeballing you and tutting really loudly about being in a rush. And when they get to you? Spend 15 minutes looking for various vouchers that they definitely have in there somewhere. "Not holding the queue up am I"
No, no you're fine....
5. When there's a kick off over who was queuing the correct side and who is indeed 'next'
Well this should be interesting
6. When someone pokes you or clicks there fingers at you.
Yes this actually happens
7. When you've heard "I don't really think you should charge 5 p for carrier bags" for the 987th time that day.
8. And when they attempt to cram 34 items including a coat into a Tesco carrier bag rather than pay it.
9. When you've spent the entire day moaning about people not being able to use the self service tills and you come to use one yourself ....
I HAVE placed it in the bagging area!!!
10. When you've turned an angry experience into a happy one for someone
11. When a customer shows you some semblance of kindness during a manic shift
12. When you get home.
See you the other side!