Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The best fun ever

We are right in the thick of it now, us retail monkeys. Thus begins the next level of retail hell; the late night trade. Everything gets a little more frantic past five'o clock, a little more desperate. But today, I don't want to focus on that (says she who begins her deep descent into the late night trade), today I am trying hard to remember what it is that I used to love so much about Christmas, and I reckon it all goes back to when I was a kid and I'm pretty sure Mum, you are the main key here, so you sure did good kid so why don't you treat yourself to a big punnet of raspberries? (My mum doesn't really drink ok? she prefers expensive raspberries, go figure..)

My memories of Christmas as a kid are off the hook! It's kind of hard to know where to begin!! Seing as my dads side is Polish we always used to go down to his house and then to my Babcia's to have Christmas with the traditional Polish xmas eve dinner. This in itself was pretty good for a kid, getting to have two christmases. My Mum would then come pick us up late and we would always spend the night at my Nan and Pa's on xmas eve to wake up there for the big day. On the way home I can remember always counting the number of trees we could see lit up. For some reason me and my sister always shared a room on xmas eve and sometimes when more of the family were crammed into nan and pa's, even a bed. We would be beside our little selves with excitement and really not sleep at all. To help us try and sleep we would usually play a game which we invented called "celebrity pet". Kind of like 20 questions but it had to be a famous animal. Think Napolean, The Real McCaw, Milo and Otis. (I know, we were weird little kids.)

We would be up AT THE CRACK OF DAWN. Maybe the earliest time on record was in the 4am bracket. Nan was an excellent one at facilitating this, even now she is the first one up trying to rouse surly older grandchildren. She would let us sneak up ("Go and see if he's been") and grab, you are going to love this, our "little" sack of presents (it was a pillow case!!) to open in bed with her and pa. We then would then creep up the stairs (all three of them) and make our way to to the main event; the tree.

"HE'S BEEN!!!!" We would shriek and see in all it's glory the amazing delectable loot that Father Christmas had left. My memory is pretty sketchy at the best of times, but I always remember just seeing like a sea of presents under the tree, dwarfing the little plastic christmas tree. It was awe inspiring. There were a lot of us I guess but to a little kid those presents just seemed to go on for miles and miles. It still remains one of the best things I have ever seen.

Pa would also go to elaborate ruses to keep the Father Christmas jig alive. One year he got his hands on some horse poop and left it round the pool. "Look what those damn reindeer have done to my garden!" By now everyone would be up and tearing into presents. The rest of the family would be on the way over and Christmas would be in full swing by now. This is also in the days when Christmas day was HOT. HOT! Who can remember that? I can remember one year there was an awesome progression of about six of us kids going absolutely beserk doing a progression of cannon balls one after the other for a good hour or so. (By the next day Pa's pool levels were considerably lower...)

Lunch was always (and still is) amazing. Ridiculously delicious. There is everthing under the sun, paper crowns, bad jokes and of course the famous ice cream cake. Again, one of nan's inventions. Three layers of different ice cream flavours all with a magic ice chocolate top. It changes every year but goes along the lines of peppermint with peppermint pieces, apricot, cherry ripe or violet crumble. So, so good. Everyone fights for this. But then as a little kid you are torn because you know if you get pudding there is likely to be money in  it and what little entrepeneur of a kid doesn't want cash? (you usually end up getting both and just fishing the coins out of the pudding. Somehow Pa always got the gold....interesting...)

So as you can imagine if you are up at 4am, hyped up on sugar and present overload, you are pretty cranky come two o clock. The day is so exciting you dont want to miss a bit, but trust me mum wants you to take a nap badly as your crank level is through the roof.

Christmas day really is the best ever. I know this from my excellent childhood. I only hope that I can create these if I have kids. Or maybe for my friends kids, save me from turning into the grinch. So today (last night I actually dreamt about work, just pick the god dammned tea already!!!) as I grimace my way through another ball breaker of a day, I'm going to cram another xmas pretzel in my mouth and remember the memories of being a kid in my family over the christmas time.

Well thats the plan. Lets see what really happens and who feels my wrath today.....

Friday, December 6, 2013

the end is nigh


It's right around the corner. If you have been listening to any kind of retailer they will have been telling you exactly how may days there are to go till the fat man hits the town, having us all on some kind of demented countdown till his arrival. There will be lines upon lines. There will be screaming fits thrown (and not necessarily by the toddlers). There will be god awful christmas carols pumped out across the airwaves. There will be bouts of insane shopping madness. There will be my sanity walking out the door. And if you are very lucky you may even get to see it happen.

It will start innocently enough. Start of an especially long ball breaking shift in retail, my spirits will be high and sugar induced but it won't take long for reality to come crashing in. There will be a line snaking around the store for gift wrap, a ridiculous division of who wants what gift wrapped and in what colour, someone WILL yell and abuse you. Tea WILL be spilt. Teenagers will swarm through the store much akin to locusts, eating you out of house and home all while reminding you of just how uncool you are. There will be the ass that enters the store at 2 minutes till close then demands giftwrap on 27 items. There will be the ultra rude woman who insists on being on the phone while you serve her. She will mouth "sorry!" to you but both you and I know that is utter bullshit and you aren't even a glitch on her radar. You are just the sales robot. Greet. Sell. Add on. Wrap. Repeat.

Soon it starts to get louder in there. There is no clear path to walk in the store, you are constantly crab walking your way through the store, or my personal favourite, 'ghosting' the customer as they walk at a snails pace as you have a handful of six full tea pots, trying to make it to the hungry locusts. Pretty soon that apron you are wearing starts to weigh you down, you feel the oppression of your sisters in sales before you, is it hot in here? (of course it is centre management are tight arses and the air con is off), you start to sweat. All of a sudden, before you know it, you are lowering yourself behind the counter, cramming your fist into your mouth in the silent scream, teapots are crashing down around you, the giftwrap has gone to hell, who knows where Aunty Glenda's gift is anymore, the ice machine has spontaneously combusted and the sirens are going off (of course no one heeds these piercing alarms going off but customers scream over the top of the wailing "does this come with an infuser?!"). Get out save yourselves, the christmas apocalypse is here.

So spare a thought for your brothers and sisters out there doing time in retail. Give em a break. Don't bust their balls. It's a pretty simple equation here, you be nice to them, they be nice to you. Don't be a christmas jerk. In the words of the great time travelling man himself, Rufus;

"Be excellent to each other".

It's that simple.

Oh and by the way, I wasn't always this jaded about christmas. Trust me, I want the wreaths, I want the sparkly ornaments, I want to gorge myself in gingebread and I want the scent of pine needles so far up my snout I'm breathing needles for weeks. I want all that I do, and there was a time when it was all that and more, but thats another story for another day.