Holidays in retail are challenging. Many people fail to understand the concept of a job where weekends are just more workdays and holidays are sales days. Early in my career I enjoyed the holiday season, the excitement of helping customers find the perfect gift, hearing their stories of why they were looking for a particular item, and later hearing how happy the recipient was with their gift. Some of my favorite times were designing holiday cards, calendars, and other photo gifts because of the personal element.
This week includes my first Thanksgiving where I’m not worrying about Black Friday or even worse working on Thanksgiving, which I would have been forced to do this year. Driving by a store today and wanted to visit a store manager I know but he was coming in late in the afternoon so he could stay until 11 pm or 12 am to set up for the Thanksgiving day sale. Talking with him at that moment I was thankful this was not on my list of worries this week. My Thanksgivings in recent years either involve making my own dinner because I don’t have time to drive home or driving to my parent’s house for the day then rushing back for work. Last year driving home Thanksgiving night in a snow storm because I had to be back for work at 6 am was awesome, nothing like a 3 hour drive turned into almost a 5 hour drive.
I’m going to pull out my soapbox for just one paragraph. In my 15 years of retail I’ve seen the evolution of Black Friday from 7am to 4 am or 5 am to midnight to the most recent turn of events opening on Thanksgiving day because an entire weekend of shopping, technically a 4 day weekend of shopping if you include Cyber Monday, is not enough. I remember thinking it was crazy when stores were opening at midnight not realizing the direction we were headed. I learned to accept that for some families Black Friday was their tradition and to each their own but Thanksgiving day is for family. I cannot imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner then heading out to go shopping. Some of my best memories are the times after dinner playing board games, watching a movie, or just sitting around talking.
I think working in retail for so many years makes me appreciate the holidays with my family. I’ve worked countless days after Christmas, Christmas eves, Easters, 4th of July’s, Black Fridays, etc. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the time with my family although not looking forward to answering the same questions I’ve been answering for weeks. Why did the store close? Why didn’t you transfer? What are you going to do now? Are you transferring? Are you going to move? What do you want to do with your life?
I almost want to just have a press conference style Q & A before dinner to answer everyone’s questions all at once. Dinner is at my aunt’s house so I might have to see if she can set that up. Okay that might be taking things too far. Even though I will be annoyed by these questions and they will serve as constant reminders of my status I also know my family is an amazing support system. My hope is that home will be the perfect place to find the reassurance that I’m doing the right thing and also to hopefully find some relaxation.