DCU Student Laments The Nightmare Of Working In Retail This Christmas

DCU Student Laments The Nightmare Of Working In Retail This Christmas

Cathal McCahey is a final year DCU journalism student who has been driven to the brink of madness from working in retail this Christmas season...


For most people Christmas is about entering a new season with spirit of joy and giving. Ask your friends what they think of Christmas and you’ll see a sparkle in their eyes. But ask someone who works in retail and you will see true darkness in theirs.

What little joy I held for the Christmas period has long been extinguished thanks to retail, look, I even refer to it as ‘the Christmas period’ how commercial. I’m not the only one in this boat either, retail workers will know the true pain swarms of shoppers bring coming up to the big day.

Before I begin I should say that not all customers are bad. You get the occasional person who shows real sympathy which is greatly appreciated but when they’re bad, they’re bad. For hours on end you stand at a till shouting ‘next please’ in an attempt to keep a mile-long queue flowing, taking abuse on your employer’s policies because quite clearly you, behind the tills, run things.


It’s like some sort of crowd mentality, one week you went from having cool, calm and collected customers acting reasonable to having waves of people tearing up the piles of clothes you spent all morning folding, thirsty for some sort of sale.

Recently I was tagged in a post referring to me as a ‘scrooge’ due to my hatred for Christmas songs but you mere citizens cannot possibly understand, this is the worst bit. For hours upon hours you listen to the same muck played by shops in a bid to impose this shopping frenzy on customers. ‘Get in the giving spirit! Oh you haven’t bought your gifts? Don’t worry we’ll help you out!’ It’s the first of December, shush now.

It’s for that reason I believe ‘Fairytale of New York’ to be the anthem of all retail workers during Christmas. Its gritty lyrics resonate among us. Our hopes and dreams is to one day not face Christmas as a retail worker, but as a customer, gently picking out our desired items and neatly folding it back on the pile if it’s not suitable. We’ll nod at the caffeinated, sleep deprived employee in a show of unity that says ‘you can do this’.

So when a customer sarcastically wishes me a happy Christmas between now and then because they didn’t get what they wanted, it’ll take all I have to not sing back ‘Happy Christmas, your arse I pray God it’s our last’.

Mark Farrelly

You may also like

Facebook messenger