I worked yesterday and that means I worked on Christmas. A day where morale was obviously low (no one wanted to be there) and even the manager on duty (there was 1) gave us vague directions and didn’t bother to manage me or my co-workers most of the time. This led to a 5 hour day in which I maybe did 3 hours of work.
My feelings on the matter were not positive. While Christmas isn’t necessarily my favorite holiday (it’s overly commercialized to death) it’s still a holiday and workers should at least get one day in the year guaranteed off. But many retail workers (including myself) aren’t so lucky. The most we get is that the store starts closing at it’s normal time instead of staying open until midnight which is in effect for the few weeks prior to Christmas.
So like I said, moral was pretty low and it was made even worse by the fact that I couldn’t work at the front. This meant that I couldn’t read as much as I wanted to (though I still got a little bit of reading done) and that I also had to wander around the store and play a game of cat and mouse with the manager, whether they knew it or not.
I was pretty bummed out that I had to work and although I had one of my favorite co-workers with me for a few hours, it was still pretty miserable. We faced the store a little bit but mostly we just goofed off and talked. Well, to be honest they did a lot of the work and I did most of the goofing off. To be fair though, the work wasn’t particularly hard and I did help. But at the end of the day I felt bad because my drive to work was abysmal and so it was a 75/25 split.
Still, they didn’t seem to mind and they said they were just happy to have me around. I tried to do at least some of the work but it was quickly demoralizing to the point that I had trouble seriously focusing on anything.
Even the projects that my manager gave to me later on were done fairly messily, though to be fair I have more experience on the register than on the sales floor and resetting displays. Even still, I had to have my co-worker make it look slightly nicer because it was practically a mess when I did it. My attention to detail mixed with my poor sense of space are not a good combination, especially with a low working morale.
They helped out a little and then the manager did the rest for one of the projects. My co-worker and I worked a little more closely for the next project but they still did the majority of the work. I wanted to help them out and do more but I felt exhausted just from being there and it just felt so…wrong to be working. Again, I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas but working on it…I mean, has the moral of A Christmas Carol really lost its power these days?
Eventually my co-worker left and I went on my break.
And this is where I kinda snapped.
I decided to do the trash and sweep as I told the manager I would…but then I shut myself in the back of the stockroom. I sat on a stool and decided to just watch Youtube for as long as I could. I got away with it for 20 minutes (it was great, though a little tense) before I was called to the front…to cover the person at the front as they moved their car.
But I had totally had it.
I only had about 30 minutes on my shift so I just decided to stay in the back of aisles and keep watching Youtube at my leisure. I’m pretty sure my manager noticed me with my phone and perhaps even the book but if so, he didn’t say anything about it. He probably let it slide, because, you know, it was Christmas and we shouldn’t be working.
One of the other reasons morale was so low was that there was really nothing to do. There was facing when I got there but even that was pretty minor. The resets ended up happening but when they did it felt like the manager was just making up things for us to do (not that managers have ever done that!), that didn’t even necessarily need to be done.
And of course the number of customers was fairly low and I couldn’t even read my book most of the time. I took advantage of the fact that the manager was new and likely didn’t know about the rule for me having my phone. I actually took out my phone pretty early in the night and just started talking to friends online or checking Facebook.
All of these things were pretty tense in the moment but I was really glad I did them. It made the night go by faster, it gave my brain something to focus on that it actually wanted to focus on.
And best of all, I just didn’t give a shit. I was tired of working on a day where I really feel like I (and anyone else) shouldn’t be. I decided for myself on that day to turn in the worst possible (but still practical) performance I could.
I think I succeeded.
If you enjoyed this article, consider donating to my Patreon!