In the UK, ‘Boxing Day,’ December 26th, has become synonymous with sales. And for hundreds of thousands of retail workers, that only means fear, dread, and wishing for the end of the world. This is going to be my third Christmas working in retail, so I wanted to share some of my experiences to help you get through it all, if you find yourself having to shake your Christmas Coma off early to pretend to be nice to the hordes of bargain hunters.
Maccies MIGHT NOT BE OPEN
Last year my friend and I thought we’d grab a quick McDonald’s breakfast before we started. But apparently, even their 24-hour restaurants aren’t open at that time. We were gutted! So if you feel like you might need a good old breakfast, just check beforehand that McDonald’s will be open. Avoid the disappointment if not, and bring your own.
Energy Drinks can be your friend
Yeah, so, on the other hand, at 5am, maybe the last thing you want to think about is having breakfast. But you’re going to need something to get you through your shift. Sugar is a great pick me up. A lot of places will also either let you take sweets on the shop floor or already have them out for you to keep your energy up during your shift. But I’ve found that bringing a bottle of energy drink really gets you through it all when your face feels like it’s about to fall off and it’s only been 2 hours but you want to saw your feet off, and get a spine brace. My only warning is to be prepared for the crash – although by that time you’ll probably want to sleep the rest of the day away anyway!
Don’t kid yourself the night before
You’re probably going to reach about 8pm on Christmas Day and start thinking, ‘if I want a good night’s rest, I’m going to need to go to bed soon.’ However, even if you only head to bed around 10, you’re more than likely still going to spend about three hours lying there, wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. I’m not saying to pull an all-nighter, but don’t be too caught up in getting a full 8 hours in. Do something relaxing, have some warm milk or something, but keep in mind that you might not fall asleep until about two hours before you need to get up.
Your co-workers are your support system
Maybe they’ll snap your head off first thing, but chances are they probably only got to sleep two hours before their alarm went off, too. Even if you’re the new kid, don’t be afraid to go up to someone and be like, ‘dude, I’ve just had the rudest customer ever.’ Or, ‘what’s your biggest sale been so far? I just did one for £400. You should have seen the receipt!’ Almost everyone will come back with an understanding nod and tell you about their worst customer too. (Pro tip – do this when you’re off the shop floor. Not when non-staff members are within earshot..!) I’ve made quite a few of my good friends this way. Tough times bring everyone closer together!
Don’t overthink it – it’ll be over soon
It looms in the future and fills you with dread, but honestly, Boxing Day itself is just one day. And most of the time, you do a reasonably short shift. Just keep your mind on the sweet sounds of you finally clocking out at the end of the day! And try not to think about the returns period..!