Because I spent over eight years as a retail slave, I know what its like to do this. I'm not proud of my tenure in hell and I'm happy to say its over.

In retail hell, the holidays were murder, especially during the summertime. Here are two reasons why.

Canadian Tire
It was a frantic place normally, but Thursdays and Fridays before long weekends were absolute hell. Everyone'd come in and buy camping gear, auto parts and home improvement materials to keep themselves busy for the weekend, while we watched the lineups get longer and longer.

Customers were always irate due to low stock levels and lineups. Us part-time teens would be the ones to deal with it.

We'd curse the other staff who had managed to submit their requests not to be scheduled those weekends, but would be rewarded on payday for our efforts.

Christmas and Father's Day were two other bouts of trauma that I had to endure. Nearly every Canadian man loves Crappy Tire and their friends, wives and children all know this. I've seen housewives fight over tool and fishing lure sales and I've been told to fuck off on Christmas Eve.

As a cashier, I feared these times. Customers would bring out wads of Canadian Tire Money that were rolled up tight and my thumbs would cramp up while counting 5¢ coupons into 20 piles of $1 each while I stared at the lineups that were 20 people deep.

It made me bitter.

Business Depot
Back to School brings hundreds of thousands of dollars per day in over the course of two weeks. Its like Christmas-and you thought those "most wonderful time of the year" commercials were cute...

The company does not let anyone take any time off during the last week of August and the first week of September as the stores are chaotic and product arrivies by the truckload faster than anyone can get it out onto the sales floor.

My least favourite memories of working at BD during this time include but are not limited to Running around in polyester for 8 hours and dealing with the parents of children who attended private schools with prescibed lists of product that must be purchased.

They'd find us (we'd usually be throwing cases of binders or looseleaf paper on the floor) and give us the lists. They'd then throw fits of rage when we denied them service due to the fact that we were busy serving everyone else who was shopping there.

Needless to say, I do not work in retail any more and I am grateful for that. I'm sure anyone who works in the field can give other tales of working the holidays in retail.

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