Yup. I missed a few days. No surprise, really. Work – sleep – work – sleep….lather, rinse, repeat.
I began this holiday blog series as a way to share some holiday cheer with each of you, but also to bolster my own merriment, which has historically been lacking. We all have our own reasons for finding this season to be tough. We work to long, are exhausted, feel insufficient in our attempts to gift just right, aren’t able to spend time with friends and family, miss loved ones who can’t be with us due to distance or loss, or simply dislike what the holidays bring out in our neighbors.
In the last few days I have been cursed at, ridiculed, demeaned, and asked if my employer required me to have a degree in dog shit. I have had TWO near misses as I walked through the parking lot, because people are in too great a hurry to simply look behind their car as they back out. I’ve seen holiday novice co-workers cry, and even the most jaded of us is ready for this to be over. Why is this season, when we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ, NOT about humanity and love. We have broken it. Rather, we have allowed it to be broken.
This is the point I have to pause and remind myself that if you are reading this, you likely already understand, and might even agree. I will leave it at that. Instead I will share this memory of turning the tables on a holiday customer’s bad behavior.
It was Christmas Eve…4 years ago. I was helping a family select fish. They had done everything right, preparing the tank and allowing it to become stable for the fish they would pick together as a FAMILY. As we discussed what groups would be good to start with and what direction they planned to go in their stocking, a middle aged lady approached the cricket podium decked out in head to toe holiday finery. She approached the podium, and it was clear she was in a hurry. When I didn’t jump off the ladder as fast as she expected, she cleared her throat, raising her eyebrows and pursing her lips in agitated expectation, tapping her foot anxiously.
I only had one more fish to catch for the family who, noticing the lady’s frustration, had already apologized (unnecessarily) for holding me up. As I explained that they were no problem and a pleasure to serve, the lady took her bad behavior a leap forward. Making direct eye contact with me, she snapped her fingers twice and whistled at me as if I were a dog. Something in my head snapped. It was Christmas Eve after all. The edit button in my brain malfunctioned and the words just rolled out of my face. Touching my neck, I said, “Oh. I’m sorry. I must have left my collar and rabies tags at home today.”
Someone else must have helped her, because a few minutes later I noticed her in line being checked out by my supervisor. I approached jovially and let the manager know that I was sorry if she received a complaint about me tonight. When she asked what for, I told her the story….right in front of the lady who did it. She was looking at me with bile in her eyes as my supervisor said, “What kind of jerk does something like that on Christmas Eve??” She handed her the bags with her purchase and wished her a Merry Christmas. I simply smiled.
To this very day, I consider that a win.