After all of the Black Friday madness, I’m more than glad I didn’t work over break. I work at Walmart and I opted not to work during my breaks from school and it was the best decision I’ve ever made because the holidays are perhaps the craziest time of the year to be working in retail.
My boyfriend and I went through Walmart to grab something quickly on the way to his mother’s house for Thanksgiving and we barely made it out without running into someone. It was insane, and that was on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t even Black Friday yet and it was already terrifying.
I don’t do Black Friday shopping mainly because of just how much of a madhouse it truly is. And I really don’t need to spend my time fighting through crowds to get something at a discount. In my opinion, watching people climb over each other and throw punches over discounted children’s toys and $1.96 DVDs is not something I find entertaining.
I remember when I was a child, just how different it all was. How much time I got to spend with my family without having to worry about them running off to work. Both my parents worked at Walmart when I was little, but they didn’t have to work so much during the holidays. They had Christmas off quite often, but that’s now a thing of the past.
Families are having to change their plans to accommodate work schedules because very few people have Thanksgiving off. That was the same in my family. And it was shameful that some businesses, including Walmart, started their sales on Thanksgiving.
Because of this year’s sales trend, hundreds of Walmart employees protested and simply didn’t show up to work for the sales days. To be honest, I don’t blame them in the slightest. I think the holidays are for families, not for discount televisions.
I was contacted over Thanksgiving and asked to go in and work over Christmas break this year; my boss informed me that my department is short-handed (which it has been since it was created) and that they needed me for the holiday season.
And because this is Walmart I’m talking about, I would have been pulled from my department to work the registers. And that is the worst place to work in retail during the holidays. I wouldn’t have even been in my own department if I decided to go back.
I said no.
Because shoppers don’t think of what employees in retail go through just to save a few bucks. Those extra dollars could be replaced with extra hours spent at home with loved ones.
After losing my mother, the holidays have become a very important time of the year. And while I have the chance to do so before I enter my future career, I’m taking all of my holidays off. And I’d much rather spend my time with my family than with angry customers who didn’t get all of their items on sale.
Instead of packing into the car just to wait in hours-long lines, maybe the general public should pack into cars and head over to Grandma’s for dinner. Or get together with friends and watch some holiday football (not my thing, but it works).
Whatever you do, take a moment to think what you need more. That discounted sweater, or a few extra hours with someone you love?