Friday, October 23, 2009

Holidays, Retail, and why this time of year sucks!

Halloween is almost upon us. The trees are starting to shed their leaves, kids are getting the final touches on their Halloween costumes, and then there is me, ramping up for a busy Holiday shopping season in retail [or so we hope].

When most are happy with coming home and raking the leaves into the tree lawn for whatever municipality to come and pick up, there is me, lining my tree lawn with dog poop to teach those little brats a lesson for ruining my carefully racked leaves by jumping in them.

Look what retail has done to me. I'm jaded and bitter.

When Halloween is over I feel like, every year since 2006, I kiss my wife and child [now children] goodbye until New Years Day. 50 hour work weeks, going to work when it's dark outside and coming home when it's dark outside are all part of the hell of the holidays.

Most people are making plans to spend the holidays with their families out of town, I am busy trying to figure out how to get extra rest.
Not only do I have to manage my time with my family, but my situation is further complicated by Audrey's mom and her schedule. I play a balancing act between my work schedule, my wife's work schedule, and Audrey's family obligations on both sides, and the list goes on. The holidays are a subject of much anxiety for me every year, and I can feel that uneasy feeling coming back as November 1st approaches.

My wife likes to see her family on the holidays. Who wouldn't? But with her family 5 hours away, getting enough days off to make it to Thanksgiving is tough, let alone getting back to Ohio the next day so I can work is nearly impossible. We did it last year, and it was tough, but this year I have zero control. I am at the mercy if my manager.

This year, I had to tell my wife I didn't get the day before Thanksgiving off, thus squashing our plans unless I can convince a co-worker to switch with me, which will be nearly impossible because I think he got his days in the request book just minutes before me..

You don't know the hurt that causes. You have no idea what it feels like to tell the most amazing woman in the world sorry, but I can't get time off. It's like drowning a kitten. It puts my wife in a position to travel without me, causing endless guilt on her end for traveling to see her family while I spend my nights working.

It sucks that I have a job that prevents me from taking vacation days after November 1st-December 27th, but I'm not alone. There are millions of Americans who work retail and can't get off on the same days and I'm sure some are in the same boat.

So if you read my blog and I seem a bit grumpy, now you know.

Welcome to the holidays in retail, I hate them!


Vodka Logic said...

I had this whole comment written about how you aren't the only one.. but I'll let you have your misery. A new baby and all, I know it sucks.

I hope you get some time off. (at least where you work is closed on Christmas)

~Kenny said...

Hey I know she misses her family and of course being post-partum and weepy central does not help. However, you are a family now too and it is Ok for people to come to you. It is also OK to start having certain holidays with just YOUR family and starting your own holiday traditions that YOUR children will talk about when they bring their spouses to visit. Why not do what we do when all the family cannot be together. We setup a webcam with Yahoo or Skype and then we get everyone together via the web. We leave it running for an hour or so and people pop on and off saying hello, waiving, showing off kids, etc. Sure it is not being there in person , but it is the next best thing.

Will Burke said...

Yeah, retail holiday time sucks dirt. "Jolly," my ass! But dog turds in the leaves is hilarious!

Kelly Muys Wood said...

I've worked crazy hours before, but never with children or a spouse to consider. I think the fact that you're so concerned about POSSIBLY causing your wife to feel badly speaks volumes. Your post makes me want to bring a present to the guy at the theater on Thanksgiving or the girl selling t-shirts at the mall on Christmas.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that your colleague switches days with you.


Pseudonymph said...

You said it.
I said it a few weeks ago. I sometimes want to slap those who trot out the old line 'but it's Christmas! Aren't you excited?'
Not when I'm so tired that sleeping out the back of the shop is a viable option for the 11 hours between closing one night and opening the next morning.

Loredana said...

I feel your pain! I work in sales and it is the busiest time of year for us. We get a 1/2 day off the day before Thanksgiving and off the day after. We usually like to travel to see family about 6 hrs. away but it's such stress on me when I have to come back to work. And like you, I feel like I kiss my husband goodbye from November 1st-January 2nd. It's so busy and insane and depressing too to go to work in the dark and return in the dark.