A good reason to be happy
HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all. Yours truly is happy anyway. Because the shopping nightmare is over for another year.
As I write, I’ve just picked up the last of the Christmas presents, and the weight off my shoulders is so immense it’s as though Elvis in his final hamburger-eating days had been sitting on me.
No more racking the brain about what might suit as gifts for family members and loved ones (not necessarily the same thing), or what you’d have to try fob off in the ‘it’s the thought that counts’ bracket. No more traipsing through aisle after aisle in the forlorn hope of inspiration. No more fruitlessly going from one place to the other, when you know the one thing that somebody would love, but which is proving far more difficult to find than you’d expected. And no more wondering if you’re going to too much trouble trying to find something ‘nice’ for somebody, when all you might get back from them is a pair of socks and a packet of biros. But most of all, no more having to deal with the one thing that makes shopping more of a nightmare than anything else: people. Other shoppers, shop staff, and even store managers are all to blame in different measures, and if you don’t believe me, allow me to riddle you with examples: There are the shoppers who hold up queues after they’ve been dealt with, by standing in the same spot to sort the coins in their change into one compartment of their purse, and the notes into another, before then fastening the purse, putting it back in their handback, fastening their handback, and only then gathering up their purchases to make way for the next customer. Look missus, can you PLEASE just take a step or two sideways before doing all that, to allow the next person in to be served? Such a simple thing can make a big difference to everybody else behind you.
Maybe you’re a shop assistant who believes in the personal touch, but doesn’t realise that while there’s a time and place for everything, there are also times when it doesn’t suit. You know the sort who continues to chat chirpily to the customer at the till after the purchases have been rung up and the change handed back, when there are other customers waiting to be served. Surely the first priority in any shop is to serve all customers as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and that can’t be done if you hold them up for the sake of chatter. And if it’s the customer who’s continuing to chatter even as the staff member is trying to end the conversation, they shouldn’t be afraid to say ‘sorry, I’ve more customers waiting’ - you might annoy the one poor soul who’s there with nothing better to do, but you’ll have the gratitude of the many more in the queue behind them, so it’s better for business overall.
Unless of course you’re the sort of store manager who doesn’t want to serve customers, as was the case in another shop just last week. There were three tills at the counter, and three staff members there - seemingly perfect to deal with the ten or so customers who were waiting while one of the staff dealt with questions from the person at the top of the queue, except that the other two staff were stacking shelves instead of manning the tills.
After a full five minutes (a long time to be standing waiting) of the queue getting longer, one of the other staff finally beckoned to the person second in line and said ‘I’m not supposed to be serving customers, but I’ll let you off anyway’. Fair play to him - but what sort of store manager would give that order anyway, to not serve customers at a peak hour and do something that could be done at a quieter time instead?
Oh, woe is me as I relive those frustrations - but happy I am now as I remind myself it’s all over. And next year, shopping online is definitely the way to go!
The weight off your shoulders when the Christmas shopping is finished as is though Elvis in his final days had been sitting on you...