Monday, December 13, 2010

Bookshop Babylon PSA: How Not to Piss off Retail Workers at Christmas

A lot of people seem to have real problems not pissing me off at Christmastime. Me and lots of other poor sods who have to work in shops at's hell, we know. It's hell for you, it's hell for us.

Christmas music blasts continuously from tinny mall speakers, reminding you, that Santa Claus Is indeed Coming To Town, so you'd better get those damn presents PERFECT!

Not one air conditioner actually works, they buckle under the weight of the globally warmed air, so everyone walks around sweltering in the recycled, tepid atmosphere.

The shops seem to have run out of what you want every single time you step in one.

We know.

But think about it for a second. We have to stand, with the music and the heat beating down on us for freakin' hours on end. Our lives do not revolve around you and whatever shit you want to buy for your annoying relations. Our jobs don't even revolve around that.

BUT we are very appreciative of nice people at this time of year. If I like you, I will help you out a little more than I perhaps would if you piss me off. So, here are some handy tips to make all of our lives easier.

1. There is a queue. There is always a queue, it's Christmas. Jesus has to queue at Christmas. Don't take it as a personal affront when I point this out to you. No matter how confused you pretend to be, we all know that you are an impatient ass, so get to the back of the queue already.

2. Shops are not like the Tardis. It is not the mythical Argos of Bill Bailey's dreams (in joke). We cannot stock everything on earth. I'm dreadfully sorry that we don't have the obscure history of the Ukrainian Sewage system you're looking for (this actually happened), but we need room for all of the Dan Brown books. I hate it too, you know.

3. It is not my fault when other shops fuck up. I am sorry that there is no one manning the calendar club stand, but we cannot sell you something that isn't ours. I cannot change this. In other words, it ain't my problem, lady.

4. Unless you are Amish, you have been in a shop before. We expect you to have some rudimentary level of knowledge about how things go in a shop. Shops are owned by people, who are sometimes corporations. Corporations run on Capitalism. Capitalism wants your money. It is unlikely, therefore, that Capitalism will let you have stuff cheap. When there is a sale, the discount will not apply to already discounted items. This is not a rip off, as you so often tell me, because it's ALREADY DISCOUNTED. You're already getting it cheaper, so quit freakin' moaning.

I'm sure I'll think of more tips as the 'primary gifting period' continues, but that'll do for now.

Please try not to piss me off.


  1. Haha, glad you wrote this! I've been working in retail almost four weeks and I've already experienced some of these annoyances. ESPECIALLY the ones about stock and discounts. If ONE MORE PERSON says 'Oh, don't you have a 'new' one?' NO THERE ARE NOT MAGICAL COPIES OF EACH ITEM OF STOCK WAITING IN A HUGE STORE ROOM OUT BACK.

    And <3 you for the Argos comment.

  2. Welcome to the miserable world of retail <3

  3. How about, if I offer to gift-wrap said item for you, please don't stand there tapping your toes impatiently, or take the wrapped gift, look it over and then ask if I can do it again using a different coloured wrapping paper. I wrapped it for FREE.

    I am so happy to not be working in retail this Christmas.

  4. GAH that sucks. Ungrateful bastards.

    Lucky you! :) I take solace that xmas is nearly over.