In the spirit of full disclosure, and as you may know, I am employed at a Big Box Super Store. It does not provide me with a great deal of money, but I have a very good Health Insurance plan, and a nice enough discount on purchases that I consider it part of my salary.
I worked 8am to 4:30pm on "Black Friday", and was very busy. But because many of our customers had already been and gone by the time I got to work and we were well staffed, it was not, what we refer to in cashier parlance, "crazy busy". Saturday was the same. I expect it to be thus all the way through to Christmas Eve.
Years ago, back in Ohio, I worked as a receptionist at a small company owned by a couple who seemed elderly to me; I think maybe they were in their sixties. The wife was the office curmudgeon. I remember she used to lament, daily, "Vat's the voild comink to?"
As I watched the T.V coverage of the BF openings all over the country, I felt pretty curmudgeonly myself. Pepper Spray violence, gun play, shouting matches, fist fights, and perhaps the saddest of all, a report of a man who collapsed from a medical condition as shoppers walked by, and in some cases, stepped over him in order to get on with their shopping.
I'm disgusted. I'm appalled. I'm sad, deeply sad. What's the voild comink to. Have we forgotten?
Instead of celebrating the return of light after the shortest day of the year by joyfully giving gifts to each other, are we fighting each other for a five dollar savings off a video game? For Christians, is the meaning of the holiday completely lost in the shuffle for the lowest price?
After I wrote the above words, I stepped away for a little bit. I reviewed the mission statement as expressed on the faceplate of this blog, "As I enter the last trimester of my life, I am working hard at having fun."
Sometimes it's hard work to have fun, but as I spend my holiday workdays ringing up gifts, I try to see the giving spirit in the items in front of me. The guest who just put $300 worth of toys on my conveyor belt, smiles broadly when I ask her if she would like them placed in an opaque "hide it" bag. She is relieved that we have such a thing.
Another explains what the "elf on a shelf" (http://www.elfontheshelf.com/) story is, shares a giggle with me as I lament that I am so old that that tradition wasn't invented yet when my children were small.
Last year, one of my favorite moments occurred just a few days before Christmas Eve. A gentleman in a suit, brought me a stack of gift cards and, list in hand, told me on much should go on each card. He had apparently put as much thought into the design of the gift cards as another person might have in picking out an individual gift. This person likes the Santa card, that person likes the one with the Snowman. A group of persons on his list got the ones with lights, and yet another group received the cards that can double as toys themselves.
Finally, a mental hug goes out to the almost elderly couple who put twenty dollars worth of canned food on my belt. Ten cans of corn, ten cans of green beans, etc. They too had a list. They grouped all the cans together so I could ring them up efficiently.
I'm here to observe, not here to preach. I observed that this couple did not look particularly prosperous, and I am observing that, depending on your circumstances, ten dollars is not a lot of money. I'm here to tell you now that ten dollars buys a lot of canned food. I know, I bagged it all. And they were having lots of fun!