Memories of Retail Past

I only spent one year working in retail at Christmas.  About eight years ago, right after I finished college, I spent a year selling arts and crafts at a Michaels in western Massachusetts.

There were a lot of things I hated about that job.  For one, it wasn't exactly the sort of thing I'd imagined myself doing with my degree.  Also, about one in every three customers was certifiably insane.  I once had a hippie ask me how often we had to water the artificial trees.

However, I have to say that, despite everything, I really loved working around Christmas.

The hours extended, so I was there until after 10 half the time.  The seasonal Christmas merchandise was coated in a layer of glitter so thick that by the end of some days I looked like I'd applied it to myself (good thing that was before the days of Twilight: I'd have hated being mistaken for a cosplayer).  And they'd play the same half dozen cheesy Christmas songs day in, day out.

But frankly, if I hated the gaudier aspects of Christmas, this site wouldn't exist.  Plus, most of the job wasn't overly thought-provoking, so I had time to think while I worked.  I probably dreamed up half of the plot for For Love of Children while stocking shelves with Christmas supplies.

All things considered, it was good inspiration.

Plus, there was a nice energy to the whole thing.  Yeah, people get stressed around the holiday.  They'd get angry when the plastic trees marked down to $19.95 are sold out.  But that's all part of the charm.

Sometimes I miss salting the sidewalks in the middle of a blizzard or helping people locate something they were looking for.  Even running to the back room to haul a plastic tree to someone's car was good exercise.

That said, I think I'll stick with the nice desk job.

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