I am working today, believe it or not. Just a somewhat short shift and I’m not opening or closing, and I’ll be done by early afternoon. I’m not expecting the store to be too busy, maybe some last-minute purchasing of forgotten ingredients and a visit from a few of our regulars, but that’ll be it.
For the most part, I’ve always worked through the holiday season, quite often on the holiday itself, or the night before, so I’m quite used to it. It is what it is. Even during the Former Day Job when business was as dead as it could possibly be, I was on the clock ‘just in case’, and maybe the managers would let us clock out an hour early. [I did have a not-so-friendly conversation with a former manager once about trying to get some holiday days off but was told “it took me twenty years to be able to get Christmas week off.” To which I responded “yes, and I’m in my 40s and older than you, and I really don’t want to have to wait until I’m 60 to get a chance at it.” But I digress.]
Working retail during the holiday season isn’t always for the weak of heart, especially at certain outlets geared specifically for it. My years at HMV were always crazy from late September until the end of the year. Even working in a warehouse like I did at Yankee Candle was exhausting. Thankfully my current position at a shop geared just towards the local neighborhood lends itself to a finite amount of volume. We might have a torrent of shoppers, but never for extended periods of time on the daily.
I’ve learned to enjoy working the holidays, to be honest. Exhausting as it might be, I love the connection with the public. In my Boston years, I’d make work fun and then feel that link when I rode the T back to my apartment. At YC my coworkers and I would occasionally go to the local diner or bar for brunch after our shift. I kind of lost that during the Former Day Job years to be honest, but it feels like the Current Day Job will give that to me once more.
Hope everyone has an enjoyable, safe and sane holiday season!
The downside to working in retail once more is that I’m no longer able to listen to what I like listening to. I can only listen to KEXP on days off or before/after work. Which means that I’ve been listening to a lot of slightly tinny harmless current pop and retro tunes from the 80s and 90s. Some of it’s good, some not so much, but thankfully the level of oh god not this song AGAIN is at a bare minimum.
I am curious, however, as to whether or not the work tunage will be holiday-themed come this Friday. [Which, by the way, I don’t think I’ll be suffering another Black Friday as we’re not that kind of store. We’re more of a “you mean you forgot cranberries too?” shop.] I’m not complaining mind you, because I actually enjoy holiday music at work. It’s just the right amount of Christmas cheer that isn’t intrusive or distracting. And it’s a theme that crosses all sorts of genres and bends the playlist rules on radio stations and workplace music loops.
Either way, it’s going to be a pretty good year’s end here and I’m not going to complain.
Taking this week off from the music blog because why not? I felt like relaxing on the days leading up to Christmas. The shopping is done, the boxes are put away, and the nog is mixed in with my morning coffee. Life is good.
In the meantime, here’s the London Symphony Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. We went to see San Francisco Ballet’s performance on the 12th — we go every single year (and streamed it from their site when there were none due to Covid) — and I’ve come to love this work from one of my favorite composers.
Happy holidays! See you next week for the year-end mixtape and best-of lists!
I’ll totally admit to having a soft spot for Christmas music, whether it’s pop, alternative, or classical. Even during my retail and warehouse years, and especially during the HMV years. I never quite got all that cynical when it came to hearing holiday music. On the contrary, it usually gets me in a good mood, even when the streets and the malls are packed with far too many people.
Wishing all and sundry the best of the holiday season! Thanks for sticking around Walk in Silence all this time! 🙂