Thought of the Week: The Week Before Christmas (An Ode to Retail)

As a veteran retail employee, I know just how hectic it can be for anyone in the service industry in the days leading up to Christmas. One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how much time people spend spending, and how little time they consequently must be spending with the people for whom they’re shopping in the first place. Wouldn’t it be better, perhaps, to spend a little less time at the mall, and a little more time with your family … ?



The Week Before Christmas: An Ode to Retail

’Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the mall
The creatures come crawling, come one and come all.
With haste and with greed, their lust must be fed,
While visions of bargains do dance in their heads.

“How can’t you have this?” they cry with great angst;
“All my hopes on this gift of the season were bank’d!”
Then they rush—then they run—then they fly with great speed!
O’er shoppers and tots do they tramp in their need.

“P’rhaps the next Best Buy will have what I seek;
“Or even at Apple—with a Genius I’ll speak!”
Again and again they will try without rest
To find that which their children just might love the best.

Speakers and headphones do fly off the shelves;
Deep in their wallets and purses they delve.
They borrow and steal and cajole all the banks
To pay for the toys oft’ for nary a thanks.

And when their poor feet cannot take one more pace,
They scamper to Starbucks without patience or grace.
“A latte for me,” they demand, “on the double!”
And minute by minute our faces they crumple.

To shout and to scream has become quite the norm,
But to be shouted at—it does so much more harm.
For you see, without us, well your season would waste
Away to a sliver of nothing with haste.

We toil and slave and serve without end
To cater to ever-increasing demand.
Yet scowls and frowns are oft’ all I can see—
Is no one in all of this madness happy?

For cert’, we are not, away from our homes
And loved ones and pets and Christmassy gnomes.
And how can you be, when all day all you do
Is complain about how no one cares much for you?

This season of hope, this season of joy
Has come to mean nothing but trinkets and toys
And things that will oft’ be forgot in a flash
And tomorrow be tossed in a sack with the trash.

And the time that we spend with our loved ones has come
To mean so much less in the drear and the glum
Of a shortening day and a darkening night
When the difference ‘twixt sorrow and joy is so slight.

A moment, p’rhaps two, is all that we lend
To the ones with whom all of our time we should spend.
So lost we become that we then cease to live
And forget that the greatest of gifts is to give

Not presents or ‘tronics, but time—precious time!
And were there to be any point to this rhyme,
It is this: do not waste the small moments there are
In fighting and bick’ring for plastic toy cars.

Go home! Please, go home! And you might just decide
To give family, and friends, and loved ones a try.
Bake cookies! Bake cakes! Carve turkey and ham!
You can even surprise them with a can of tinned spam!

And maybe, just maybe, it might come to be
That St. Nick will be pleased with the kindness he sees
And exclaim, loud and clear, ere he drives out of sight—
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Featured image taken from

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 6.46.37 PM

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