Holiday Music and Working in Retail

I wonder how many of you have been blessed with the opportunity of working a retail position over the holidays.

There is nothing quite like it. It can be a lot of fun, and it can be scarring. Usually both at the same time. Most of my retail experience was gained at a bookstore. For most of the year consumers of bookstores know exactly what they want, or are looking to talk to someone about a new book series that they can recommend, or just to spend time in the bookstore. They, for the most part, are kind and low maintenance.

Then there is the "kids section". Half of which is basically a toy store. But, a softer toy store. It's really isn't big enough for too much damage, but it still happens. Most of the damage is caused by kids who get left in the toy section while the mom has coffee in the coffee shop that is a part of the store. They were usually surprised that we brought their kids back to them and let them know that we were not a babysitting service. 

Anyways, back to the holidays. As family members to kids, I am sure that we have been a part of a search for one of the "it toys" of the year. Whether it be an Elmo, a Care Bear, or something else. Going from store to store in the hope that you will be able to lay your hands on the holy grail. You know the struggle of that, now imagine working where people are searching for the elusive treasure. I don't know how many times I was sworn at when I told someone on the phone we didn't have what they were looking for. Conversely, the look of relief on the person's face when they do get one was equally rewarding. 

Frequently shifts leading up to Christmas would be spent searching for a book that the customer didn't know the name of or the author, or really what it was about. Just what color the cover was. Or your whole shift would be spent wrapping presents. Or standing near the front of the store to direct people on their way in and give them a bag to shop with, or passing through the coffee shop picking up things people would bring in there and abandon. 

On top of all the stress though there was always good. Nothing builds a team quite like a grown human pitching an entire fit in front of everyone. That becomes a joke for the rest of the season, and if it's really good, for years after. I was also lucky enough to work under an amazing management team. They were there right next to us and were willing to take over for us if someone got out of control. They supported us and rotated us through the positions to make sure we didn't get burned out. 

The funny thing about this walk down memory lane is that working retail Christmas might be like giving birth. I would go back and do it again. Provided I got to work in that same store, under the same team. 

The point of this post has been a little lost, I love a tangent. If you made it this far, good work! If you are shopping this year, try to be kind. Those working in retail become the outlet for some to unload on to. They are frequently making minimum wage and deserve to be treated with respect. Be the light in their day. Smile, say thank you, and maybe at least know the plotline of the book you're looking for. 

On to holiday music. For today's song, I decided to go with my husband's very favorite. Carol of the Bells. It's a beautiful song and if you don't know the name, you know the tune. Or maybe like me, you got to play it on the handbells in elementary school. Carol of the Bells was written by Mykola Leontovych and was based on Ukrainian folk chants. It was first performed in 1916, lost when the Soviet Union took over, and then was performed again in 1919 while a choir group was performing outside of the Soviet Union. In pop culture, the song was used in the movie "Home Alone" and by The Muppets. 


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