Now all it does is make me stay away from town in droves. A drove. Whatever you call a group of one. You couldn't tempt me with enough percents off to get me to venture into town from now until, oooh, January 10th. See, I used to work
Oh yes boys and girls, I've put in my time in Hell. The hell that is a packed store during the post-Thanksgiving rush. Retailers call it Black Friday because for most big retailers that's the first time in the entire fiscal year their books are in the black, because of the phenomenal inrush of
I was never one of those people. I was always the poor schmuck on the other side of the register, eyes agog at the sheer volume of cash changing hands. Almost half of that time I spent in retail I spent working in toy stores. My first two go-rounds, and in hindsight the two jobs that would forever brand me with the red-hot steel of Nintento and Big Savings were the same--a little place called Circus World, in our local mall. It later became Kay Bee Toys, but the place and the shoppers were the same. They were part time jobs, filling in time between school, but they were nightmarish.
People who refused to leave when the gates were coming down. People who would rather let their squalling children pee on the floor rather than risk losing out on That One Big Bargain. And people too stupid to be at home with the ones they love. Those years were only the beginnings, though. They were all leading up to my six years spent in servitude to The Giraffe.
Toys Backward R Us.
Geoffrey The Giraffe, whose name is an anagram of "I Am All Things Unclean, Unholy and Despicable Crawling On My Belly Upon The Earth." We would make 80% of our year's gross income in one short month. ONE MONTH. It was hell upon earth. Clive Barker would have gone balmy had he spent that one month in a blue polo shirt with Overlord Geoffrey The Insane's idiotic grinning mug stitched over his heart. His books would have taken a decidedly parents-are-evil turn as he watched grown people tear each other limb from limb, fighting over the very last Nerf Bow And Arrow or the only Tickle Me Elmo left on the pallet.
Yeah, that tells you how long it's been. And STILL I wake up around this time of year screaming.
See, were I still in thrall to The Penultimate Evil, Retail, I would probably still be working my shift. I'd have been working maddening 12 hour shifts every day the week before Turkey Day in preparation for Black Friday, and I'd have spent my entire Thanksgiving feast cursing the day I ever thought it'd be fun to work with toys, and I would have been at work this morning probably around 5am, with a departure time of "Oh, around close." And a half-hour lunch would have been thrown in there somwhere, which would be shortened to ten minutes after my name was called on the overhead about ten times to restock the My Size Barbies or the Little Tykes aisle.
Ooooh, the horror.
You can't imagine, unless you've fought in a world war or been married at least three times what sort of a living hell people can wreak upon themselves and others. The sheer, indescribable nightmare that is working until your feet ache and knowing that your shift end is still six hours away. The only hell that could frighten me at all is the one that waits at my register just so they can get up to the Total and say "Oh wait, I need some more stuff" and runs back into the store while I have to face the rest of the slavering, empty-eyed retail zombies that are lined to the back of the store, clutching their preciouses in their withered, sickly arms.
It took me this long just to be able to enjoy Christmas again, and the internet to help me make all my purchses without ever having to set foot in that toilet swirling madhouse that is a retail store after Thanksgiving.
Get me in town right now? You'd better bring your buddies the Axis Powers. It's gonna take that and a circus of 101 nubile double-jointed redheads to make me even GLANCE in that direction.