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Working in Retail: Or, How I Learnt to Hate Christmas


By Kyle Sutherland, egwyl editor

If there is a single sure fire way to spoil a person’s Christmas spirit, I’m fairly certain I’ve found it, work in a supermarket during the holiday period.

It’s stressful, it’s depressing and it used to leave me dreading the holiday altogether every year. Now this is a terrible reality, but the stores have managed in fact to make it even worse, start earlier! For as soon as October rolls around sure enough, the run up and prepping for this, the most wonderful time of the year, (an opinion held by literally no retail worker ever).

Halloween serves as an early warning sign for the supermarket staff, sort of like the rubbish band before the headliner, as soon as the pumpkins and the ghost-face masks go out I would literally start to panic, two months left, just as the coke ad says, the holidays are coming, holidays are coming, running through my head over and over in a sinister internal soundtrack, the festive version of the jaws theme, oh god it’s coming up!

Why do i hate Christmas? Oh so many reasons, first off, customers. Now obviously we need them, they pay our wages, but at Christmas they lose their minds completely. Think 28 days later zombie rage, that’s Christmas time customers, willing to literally rip you apart if it means they get everything they need for their perfect Christmas, another ideal of the holiday which irritates the hell out of me.

What is this perfect Christmas? Seems really to just be something our bosses made up, why? Certainly not to help the customers enjoy the festive days all the more, no! It’s simply a cynical stream of money grabbing manipulation to sell you all stuff you don’t need, don’t recognize and don’t really want.

Think about it, is your Christmas experience really going to be ruined by a lack of handmade pane Toni? of course not, it just showed up at the shop one day and was immediately pressed upon the consumer as a vital holiday treat, I sold it and even i don’t know what the hell it is.

Or sprouts! Seriously what is going on there? I honestly know maybe 2 people who like these foul midget cabbages, none of whom are in my family, yet every year they’re somehow in my fridge, why?! It’s like they just grew there on their own.

Even amongst the entire editorial team for this site I couldn’t find a single sprout lover and if you are one of these rare breeds who just loves them why don’t you eat them all year it makes no sense to me, just like pigs in blankets, everyone I know loves them but we only eat them at Christmas it’s ridiculous!

But I digress, back to the philosophical cynicism.

Christmas isn’t a holiday, or an event anymore. To the retail market, it’s a product and as a result everything you see in store is so forced and fake.

We don’t smile and wish you a merry Christmas because we want to, we have to, every year it is dictated to us exactly how we are expected to act, all part of the aforementioned perfect Christmas scam we’re all bombarded with on all sides through all mediums.

The perfect Christmas quite simply doesn’t exist the way it does in advertisements, someone will get too drunk, something will go wrong with a new experimental dish that you just had to have, someone will get socks instead of a ps4, that’s just life, accepting that there is no such thing as a truly perfect day leaves a lot less openings for disappointment.

Such constant exposure to this cynical exploitation of the wish for holiday joy really leaves a foul taste in the mouth, it’s something which actually seems to accomplish the exact opposite of what it is you want, it makes you stressed, tired and angry with the world and everyone in it, and it’s all just so very, very fake!

Look at the staff at your local supermarket this Christmas, in their bright festive jumpers and reindeer antler hats, happy looking aren’t they? The reality is most of them just want it to be over, the rest are straight up dead inside, and behind their bright smiles and wishes of merry Christmas, they hate you for putting them through all of this, especially the poor souls signed up to work on boxing day, the national day for doing nothing.

I don’t hate Christmas for what it is supposed to be, (in my own entirely secular interpretation of the holiday season) it’s one of the few times of the year where focus upon family Is a top priority, no, what I hate is what it has been reduced to by big business, numbers and bars on a chart or graph in some managers office, or discussion in some think tank of what the next big holiday must have is going to be.

Personally I say just get together as a family, eat what you want, drink what you want and simply be together as, don’t less soulless shills try to make you feel that your celebrations are sub-par because you didn’t buy their crap, or make a flipping gingerbread house (from experience they’re impossible to eat) do it your way, that’s what real Christmas is.

Oh and maybe go to church, if that’s your thing I hear it’s some ones birthday or something as well.


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