Monday, December 20, 2010

The C Word - And Why My Kid Doesn't Have Pink Mittens

Well the Christmas season is in full swing. And even if the use of the word Christmas is politically incorrect, I am still enjoying a lot of it.

Here at Fire and Grace, this is my 495th blog, the start of my 5th year behind the keyboard, and truthfully I am not feeling inspired to write about Christmas again. I have written about it a few times before. One of my very first blogs in 2006 was a Christmas Rant about the usage of Merry Christmas in public - shallow.

Recently I wrote about the 5 things I enjoy about Christmas including some traditions that have nothing to do with Jesus - I know, virtually pagan. Yes sir, in 2009 I was on fire and I wrote about the 5 reasons Christians hate Christmas - and I sarcastically defended it legally! I wrote about reindeer games and things that make Christmas fun - and in 2008 I was sentimental about Christmas, pouring my heart out about the real meaning of Christmas.

Then there was the one I wrote about one of the most powerful Christmas service I have ever been at; it still brings a flood of emotion. I tried to lighten it up Christmas by writing about re-gifting and I also tried to make it more spiritual by writing about the spiritual gifts.

I believe I have covered Christmas pretty well.

This year I intended to go shopping with a good attitude. My first time out I had a fight over a parking space; sitting there my signal on while some snake, who was obviously not a Christian, pulled in nearly taking my bumper off. An hour later my credit card was shut down cutting short my excursion by a few stops. I went home and got that taken care of, and set out on shopping trip numero dos a few days later. I skated through Best Buy picking up a gift that I had ordered online; saying Merry Christmas to the girl wearing a cross. I thought I would avoid the crowd at the mall; and an hour in traffic, and see what was in store at Wal*Mart.

Charlotte and I went and shopped for her grandparents, and my wife had asked me to pick up some winter clothes for her because we are supposed to have a storm coming. This kid eats virtually nothing, while outgrowing clothes at light speed. We have already returned the clothes we got her for Christmas because she outgrew them.

Insert sound of screeching brakes, shattering glass, and smashing cars - just a sound effect of course.

We were doing pretty well until we got to the toll booth during rush hour - err... I mean the registers. 4 open, each with about 16 or more folks in line. OK, I am here with the little one, it's Christmas and she thoughtfully picked out the gifts - well, with the threat of going home if she asked for one more thing for herself! I found a pair of mittens and a hat that fit (without Dora the Explorer for half the price!). We'll tough it out, it's Christmas, right?

We struck up a conversation with a woman ahead of us in line. She had a cart full of toys. It turns out she has a daughter the same age as Charlotte, so she put on her connoisseurs cap and rated each one for free. There was a boy toy in the cart, which she flatly rejected. The woman laughed saying it was for her nephew not her daughter.

Meanwhile in the register cave, Register Boy was moving along at a bureaucratic pace. You can see where this going.... Charlotte started to whine, sit on the floor, roll her eyes and play with everything breakable on the shelf next to us. The giant TV is playing some video with the tune It's Begging to Look a Lot Like Christmas. The woman 5 or 6 ahead of us needs a dang price check. Register Boy starts this passive aggressive thing, mumbling under his breath and walking away from the register pretending to look for a manger, holing his hand above his brow like Captain Hook. The woman cancelled her order and walked away leaving her cart right there. The customer in line behind her pushed it to the side and the line started to move again like a scene from Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. Down to 3rd in line - so exciting after 30 minutes of this.

Then Register Boy couldn't find the UPC code on some item. The woman in line grabbed it out of his hands an scanned it herself. BEEP! "I am done," she in a sort of annoyed tone.

Just 2 left! It's are turn now, PTL.

Beep, Beep, our stuff is being scanned! B-Deep! What? Register Boy is trying to scan the hang tag on the pink mittens. There really is no UPC code on the mittens! "Can you just put them through?" I asked.

"I'll need to get a manger," said our friendly cashier. (I thought I heard the guy in line behind me threaten to kill someone, but it wasn't loud enough for me to hear.)

"I don't want them, then." I said.

BUT DAD! Those are my favorite pink mittens!, Charlotte whined and sat on the floor.

"I don't want them." I said.

"BUT DAD! Mommy is going to get you in trouble," Charlotte said.

"I DON'T want them." I said. "I would just like to ring out and leave."

"Everyone is so short tonight." said Register Boy.

"Well, we've been in line for long enough to get on Space Mountain." I replied in as sweet a voice as I could muster.

"I don't know what the problem is," said Register Boy.

"Frankly, they need more cashiers, and you are very slow. Try to have a Merry Christmas."

I can believe I said it!?!?!

I drove home, Charlotte was upset about the mittens, and I almost cursed Christmas.

I walked in the door defeated.

"No honey, I didn't get the mittens."


photogr said...

Soooo! You had the Walmart curse of waiting in too few open Checkout lanes.

Used to in Kmarts we had a slogan, "over 4 call for more cashiers". Sadly that was dropped in the latter years due to the cost of extra payroll expenses which was the stupidest cost cutting idea any one in corporate ever came up with.

Sadly, we know where Kmart went, ( down the tubes). If you don't have extras to ring up sales, you loose sales. Not everone is going to wait in line for hours to make a purchase. Why have 24 or more checkouts in the store if you can't put live bodies on them to ring up more sales. It seems logic went out the window this time of the year at these stores. No wonder there are profit issues with these companies.

Now on to the customers stranded in these long lines. As hard as it may be customers have to understand these cashiers are over worked, underpaid, and stressed out by not being able to have extra help with the long lines.

Some have to work with out even a potty break much less a lunch break because there is no one extra to cover for them. Cost cutting policy in effect by corporate executives that take 2 hour Martini lunch breaks every day. Wonder if they could handle the stress?

So give them a break and smile while you are stranded in their lines. Cheer them up and be patient. They have no control of operating the store the way it should be run. What would you do if you had to work under these conditions? As a matter of fact, what would Jesus do?

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

gut wrenching story.

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