8 sinister thoughts you’ll have working in retail at Christmas time

Illustration by TwylaMae

Words by Alyce Cowell

Please get out of my store.

I have had my fair share of sinister retail thoughts, let me tell you. I worked at TARGET in the LAYBY section during the TOY SALE and at CHRISTMAS TIME for SIX BLOODY YEARS. I’ve been accused by angry mums of stealing scooters out of layby parcels, and accused by my boss of eating all of the Christmas-themed treats before any of the customers had a chance (partly true).

It’s meant to be the most magical time of the year, but for retail staff who’ve been forced to work in the middle of the night and won’t get to see their family on the best day of the year, it’s more like… hell on earth. The polish has well and truly worn off. We are less happy and shiny bauble on the tree, and more sad, abused tinsel that’s been put in the discount bin before Christmas Day has even arrived.

If you’re currently trying to get through your own retail nightmare, I dedicate this article to you. Know that when you have one of these deep, dark sinister thoughts about Christmas, I am with you in spirit. Not jolly Christmas spirit. Just spirit.

I would rather drink hot wax than listen to this Christmas carol CD one more time

Please… Santa Claus, Rudolph, Baby Jesus. I will do anything you want, if you just change the damn song. I can’t handle one more carol about sitting around a fire when it’s 35 degrees outside or about mums having an affair with Santa. Except Mariah Carey carols… she can stay. 

Please restrain your child before he/she becomes a gift with purchase

I promise your child will become a gift with purchase if they open another change room curtain on a naked lady, pull down an entire VM display I just spent all morning creating, or ruin another piece of clothing with their sticky little fingers.

FYI, I’m only saying “Merry Christmas!” because it’s my job, and I’m still drunk

Look, from months February through to November, I say “Hi, how are you today?”. In December, I say “Merry Christmas!”. And in January, I say “Happy New Year”. The only difference is for the last two months I’m probably still drunk from one of my many end-of-year celebrations so I won’t get as mad when you flat-out ignore me. 

Watch the sass, or I might accidentally misplace your layby containing all of your Christmas gifts

You might think I’m just a young, worthless retail employee – and maybe I am. But I am also the keeper of your entire Christmas list. Your family’s happiness literally depends on me. Be nice.

Helping people pick out a speaker for their dad at 3am instead of sleeping like a normal person? Sign me the f**k up.   

Who doesn’t LOVE checking their roster the week before Christmas and realising you’re working the graveyard shift? I’m sorry, but I half got a job in retail so I could swan out of there at 5pm (the other half for the discount). Never in my life did I assume I’d be serving customers and dodging teenage gangs in the middle of the night. I think I’d rather work at an actual graveyard.

No, there isn’t a problem with the bank. It’s you. You’re broke.

Don’t blame the bank – the lines aren’t down, ok? Us retail staff are well-versed in EFTPOS codes and we know a code 51 Insufficient Funds when see one. The truth is you’ve spent all your money and you are now broke. It’s time to go home. (Don’t worry, I’m broke too.)

Oh, your whole family goes shopping together on Boxing Day? What else do you do for fun?

So, you cleaned up on the Christmas money front and you are ready to make it raaaaaain at the Boxing Day sales. But does your entire family need to come along too? Like, your dad, your brother, your cousin that’s visiting and doesn’t want to be there anyway? They are all taking up valuable space across the footpath and there are literally no husband chairs left for anyone else.

Hey guys, come and check out this guy who wants to return his present without a receipt.

Unless you live in an extremely remote part of the world and have never been shopping in your life, you’d probably know by now an essential part of returning an item in exchange for your money is the receipt. No receipt? No moula. By attempting to dodge the system, you risk all of the staff members laughing about you in the break room.

Also, why are you trying to return this today, on the busiest day of the year? Come back tomorrow. Or next year. Or never.

… Merry Christmas!

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