Seeing Scrooge's point of view

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I'm 17 now and that means the spirit of Christmas is slowly being sucked out of me as the years go by. When I was young, it was all good. I would go to bed on Christmas Eve, so determined to stay up all night and catch Santa in the act that I put bells on our back door so I could hear him. Of course, I never made it past 10 o'clock. In the morning, I'd wake up, run down the hall to the living room and scream in excitement when I saw the load of gifts under the tree. What happened to those merry Christmases?

Whenever I was younger (last Christmas) I'd borrow money from my mom and go buy her a gift. Now that I'm the one that has a job, I'm the gift buyer. There goes all my hard-earned money.

Working in retail during Christmas takes all the joy out of the holidays for me. People literally turn into animals while shopping.

Normal scenario:

"Excuse me, sir? Where's this Barbie cell phone that was in the sale bill?!" a customer frantically asks.

"I'm not seeing it anywhere, ma'am."

"Could you check the back?!"

"Sure ..." (checking back on my neat little gun-looking machine) "Nope ... no more in the back either."

"But it was in the sale bill!" (threatening look)

(Nervously looking around) "Well, I ..."

"Forget it! Just forget it!!!" she screams.

The customer usually ends up hating me in the end because I guess they think I'm the evil Barbie collector who has a secret stash of millions of Barbie cell phones ... and I do.

Before I worked in retail and I had an item I changed my mind about, I'd lay it down in some spot and say, "It's their job to put it back." It is our job. Now take that one incident and multiply it by 253,000. That's the number of items we put back at night.

We've also got these great automated machines that are triggered by movement. After wasting my time walking across the store to put up an ornament that someone will most likely either break or put somewhere else, a toy screams, "LEARN TO READ! PRESS THE YELLOW BUTTON TO BEGIN!"

"Ahhhh!" So after being scared thinking toys were possessed, I finally get the ornament put in its correct spot.

Well, there you have it. It's taken me 17 years to realize that Christmas has basically been blinded by money and spoiled kids. I'll admit that I was one, but now that I use my own money to buy gifts, it's completely different. I always want to discuss the situation when giving a person a gift.

"Here you are, the complete second season of the Simpsons!"

"Oh thank you so much!"

"I wasted seven hours of my life to buy that for you! I deserve more than a lousy thanks!" I'll say shaking my fist.

"Oh, just a second I've got a call coming in on my cell phone ... my Barbie cell phone that is." (evil giggle)

Sam DeReign is a senior at Oran High School. Contact him by e-mail at sdereign@semissourian .com.

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