So that’s why it’s called Boxing Day.

Words by

Alyce Cowell

For retail staff, Boxing Day is the actual worst day of the year.

You can’t get drunk on Christmas Day because you have to get up early, then when you arrive, you spend 12 hours dealing with 10 times the customers than usual. Only this time, they’re all angry and rude and accusing you of ruining their child’s Christmas. It might even be worse than working on New Year’s Day when you’re trying not to vomit all over the counter.

It’s not just staff either. Customers can relate to the Boxing Day crowd too, all elbow-y people and slow walkers and people who sit in their car in the carpark and don’t drive away.

But if you’re a crazy person and planning to head to the Boxing Day sales anyway, at least try to avoid these six people. You’ve been warned.

The “Just Looking Thanks” 

If you’ve ever worked a day of retail in your life, you’ll know this conversation all too well: 

Pleasant, cheery shop assistant that’s just doing her job says hello. Grumpy customer that can’t look people in the eye replies with “just looking thanks,” before scurrying away. 

Your blood probably started boiling even reading that sentence. 

Customers can be rude and annoying, which is only increased on Boxing Day when everyone’s in a terrible mood because it’s the happiest time of year. Natch.

If you’re one of these customers, try to keep in mind that not all retail staff are waiting to pounce on you to earn their commission. Nice people say hello back.

The “I’d Like to Refund all of my Presents During your Busiest Day of the Year Pls”

GUESS WHAT YOU GUYS. It turns out we’re all not going to die after Boxing Day!!! You know what this means? THE SHOPS WILL BE OPEN TOO!!!

I know you really, really want to exchange all your presents so you can start playing with them right away, but try to hold out for a couple of days. Refunds take a long time, especially if you have a big, long story to go with it. 

(You do and you probably practised it in the car).

The “Please Meet my Entire Family”

My family would rather stick hot pins in our eyes than jumble in the car and go shopping on Boxing Day, so this is one Christmas phenomenon I can’t wrap my head around. 

I’m talking about those families that go shopping as one big bloody group, and all just *have to* go into every store together, taking up all the comfy husband chairs along the way.

Might I make a suggestion? Only go shopping if you absolutely must. Or better yet, divvy up the tasks among your family members and get out of there as quickly as possible. 

There are more important things to be doing rn (lying on your inflatable swan with a Christmas-themed cocktail in hand, for one).

The “Oh Is It Busy Today? I Hadn’t Noticed”

Despite what I’ve literally just said, I should admit to you that I’m normally a slow walker. Everybody knows it and I usually lag behind my friends by at least five metres as they walk down the street, me playing on my phone. 

But when it comes to Boxing Day and in particular, shopping centres, I am basically Usain Bolt. Seriously… get the f*ck out of my way. 

If you’re going to be one of the thousands of people entering those doors on December 26, please, for the love of God, try and speed it up a bit. Do not walk like a snail. Do not wander with your hands behind your back. Do not allow your entire group to take up the path so no one can get past you. Do not stop randomly, because we can’t be held accountable for any rear-ending that may occur.

The “What’s Your Best Price” 

We all know that person. You know, the one that tries to get a discount off ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN THE HISTORY OF SHOPPING. No, we can’t see that microscopic piece of fluff and yes, this is the best price we can do because this is Target, ma’am, not Bangla Road markets. 

Understand that retail staff have no power in lowering the price unless the item is faulty, in which case they’ll ask their manager. That said, this is not a license to trying and find faults. And the item is probably 30 per cent off anyway, so suck it up and hand over your damn Christmas money already. 

The “Christmas Grinch”

Maybe you had a few too many champagnes yesterday, or maybe your boyfriend got you a vacuum instead of an engagement ring for Christmas, I don’t know. Either way, there is no excuse for some of the satanic behaviours of the Boxing Day customer. 

Please don’t elbow me out of the way, there is plenty of discounted Benefit mascara for both of us. Please don’t have a fit because you can’t get a refund on your unwanted gift, everyone knows you need a receipt. And please don’t skip the queue, you might have a child in tow but I really need this bucket of hot chips to get through the rest of the day.

It’s Christmas. Let’s all try to get along, OK?

Illustration by Twylamae.

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