I went into Primark* yesterday briefly for the sole purpose of getting some of those tacky, but awesome Christmas jumpers. Those of you who know how much I hate shopping will understand that I was dreading this adventure and wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible. Stupidly, I went in my lunch break and of course wasn’t the only person in central London to choose that same hour to shop. The place was swarming and I couldn’t move and there were clothes all over the floor, but that is beside the point.
While I was there, I heard the same two Christmas tracks being played at least 10 times each, clearly on repeat. It made me reminisce of a time, many moons ago, when I really did not like Christmas quite so much as I did when I was a kid or as I do now. This brief aversion for Christmas coincided with, and was caused by, my 4 year stint working in retail in a big department store while I was in high school.
The experience yesterday made me spare a thought for the poor souls who have to work in a place like that through the Christmas season, dealing with the cranky customers due to tiredness or because they just can’t BELIEVE the place has sold out of so many things, the many, MANY returned goods, the shit thrown all about the place (and as a result the broken goods), the pushing, the shoving and last but not least, the long shifts where they hear the same, awful Christmas songs on repeat for about 3 months in the lead up. They are never good versions of the songs and for some reason these stores never manage to get a soundtrack that plays more than a couple of songs, meaning that you end up hearing it in your sleep, finding it playing in your head on your way home or over dinner and getting to the point where you think if you hear it ONE MORE BLOODY TIME, you might actually go insane!
It really is enough to turn any Christmas lover into the world’s worst Christmas Grinch. It is the place you are most likely to see the dark side of the ‘spirit of Christmas’. No, none of that good will and cheer, but all the stressed parents, the screaming spoiled kids, the rudeness and the crazy rush to beat that other sly shopper to the last (insert item here) on the shelf.
I am so glad that isn’t me anymore, but I would really urge you all to be super nice to those that are still working in those environments at Christmas time and please remember that none of the things that are going wrong for you is their fault – they’re just trying to do their jobs and earn an honest living. And they’ve probably had their Christmas ruined 10 times over every day since about October.
*For the Aussies – Primark is sorta like K-mart/Big W/Target but much cheaper and is primarily clothes rather than garden, kitchen appliances, audio visual etc…