22 December 2006

Winter Solstice and the final holiday shopping days

Today was the shortest day light day of the year, and the longest night. Generally, I dislike this time of year. The darkness comes early and its cold. While my midwest blood remains thick, there is a chill in the air you cannot ignore.

Still, I won't give up the flip flops.

And here, in Southeren California, the days are always short. Once the sun dips behind the hills, it gets dark very fast. That is when I'm jealous of the folks who live near the ocean. They see the sun until it passes beneath the ocean.

Of course, the days begin to lengthen after today, though it will be at least 6 weeks before you really notice the difference. And the that is good. I like spring -well here anyway - and by mid March, when new Day Light Savings kicks in, the days will go on.

The best part of IPT is that today was my last day dealing with Christmas shoppers. As soon as the store opened this morning, people poured in. The last minute shoppers seem to be growing every year. When I was a kid, Black Friday WAS the day you went shopping, finishing 60 to 70% of it. Then over the next few weeks, you took the time to enjoy the colorful lights, prepare for family and friends and getting ready for their trek to Church.

Now, though, people avoid that day after Thanksgiving, maybe because for years it was a battle; the long lines, the day and half look for a parking space. And over the last few years, retail stores have panicked, and to draw folks in, started putting things on sale. Its worked, so now more people wait.

But they have very little patience, as do I.

I will admit, I hate chaos, which is no big surprise to people who know me. All these folks running around with only bits of information and expect us to solve their problems. But this just adds to my anxieties. I mean, how do you go out shopping for that special present for what ever relative or friend, with only the merest of information?

It's one of the reasons why I have to get out of retail. After 26 years, I'm burned out. I can no longer tolerate the idoicy of people and a company that will almost throw its cash registers open and ask for an honor system just so its convient for the customer.

Sadly, after working in retail for so many years, this holiday means very little to me. But there is a host of other reasons, beyond that. But, I will be glad when I return to work on Tuesday, that all the madness will be over.

It's still busy, as returns, those lovely gift cards that need to redeemed ASAP and calendars that are half price drive people into the store, but its like a balloon that has lost most of its air. The tension and fustration is gone, replaced with a more slower pace. It's like a summer day after a brief summer thunderstorm.

Of course, the realization is that if I don't get a new job by next Christmas, I will be working Christmas Eve, something I've not done in years.

Oh, boy.

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