There’s nothing more soul destroying than working in retail on Boxing Day

It’s hell


This week a petition with over 200,000 signatures has called for retail shops to be closed on Boxing Day. 

Opponents claim the petition to be pathetic, arguing other professions don’t get 26th December off. But only the sales assistants, advisors, shift managers and others who work in retail on Boxing Day will truly know how hellish the first day of sales can be. 

From constant tidying, un-festive customers, to the blood, sweat, and tears – whether you’re in a clothes shop, department store or supermarket, here is a list of all the BS people who work in retail have to put up with on Boxing Day.

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You feel like everything you do is pointless

You’ll question why you’re spending your day tidying, folding and organising the store for some chocolate coin over-dosed child to come in and ruin the whole display. What’s worse, their hungover parents are doing exactly the same thing. There’s tags missing, folding paper scattered and most of the stock has fallen to the floor off the hanger.

You’ll have a minor breakdown 

The till has frozen, the card machine has stopped working and you might actually have to manual trade on the busiest day in the calendar year. The shop is rammed, three people have already blamed you for ruining their Christmas and your manager is telling you to be more friendly – cue tears.

Customers start vocally pitying you for working

Your day is already bad enough thanks to your festive spirit being ripped from your soul in the name of corporate greed, but now customers who are in store are telling you it’s “such a shame you’ve had to work the day after Christmas”. Thanks, like I didn’t know already.

People will complain that your rival store has a better discount

Give. A. Fuck.

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Nope nope and nope

You constantly think of everything you’re missing out on at home

Your family are sending you pictures in your family Whatsapp of them on a walk, by the fire, in the pub, having a mulled wine, watching Shrek 2. When you get home you’ll be so tired the last thing you want to do is play dad’s new Bird Bingo game.

Shoppers throw the refund policy handbook out the window 

“You can’t get a full refund if you’ve only got a gift receipt” – the rule that all customers already know, but think because it’s Christmas there is a special exception. They’ll throw a tantrum when you tell them they can have a credit note for the new sale price, which is 70 per cent off what it’s actually worth.

…This then gives you a lot of satisfaction

Sweet, sweet revenge.

Your boss has no intention of being nice to you 

They’re pissed off and in a bad mood all day, which only strengthens yours. They have a go at you for everything from taking too long with the queue to rolling their eyes when you ask to go on your break after six and a half hours on the shop floor with no breakfast. The reason? They’re not with their families on Boxing Day, and they’re hungover from the Christmas Day celebrations. The irony is deafening.

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Christmas songs are STILL being playing in store

Stfu, Mariah, you’ve had your time.

No, we can’t get more people on tills

It was hard enough to get the bare minimum amount of people to come in and now the customer is complaining that “you should have more people on tills”. Claiming “it is a disgrace” does not enlighten me, or make me want to work faster in any way.

You’ll remember this isn’t your only holiday shift 

You get halfway through your Boxing Day shift, then you remember you’re working New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, haha, lol x

You couldn’t even stay up and watch late night Christmas films the night before

Your nan is on her seventh glass of port and has taken herself to an early bed. The family wants to play board games or watch TV but you can’t. You have to worry about the hell you will have to work at the next day and so a early night after Christmas dinner will set you right. You’ve essentially turned into your nan.

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Haha it definitely will never look like this on Boxing Day

Customers think they can barter a better price

“How about you knock off another 10 per cent? It is Christmas after all” Who do these people think they are? More importantly where do they think they are? This is an established shop, not a Souk.

You start to not care about the extra pay 

At the beginning of the month you thought working Boxing Day would be sweet for the 1.5 extra pay, sometimes double. Three hours into your shift you would pay the extra money not to be here.

Shoppers have a nasty ‘I’m on holiday’ mentality

The idea that Christmas is a holiday goes to people’s heads and messes with the way they treat people. You must be the slave to them for you are the unlucky one toiling away whilst they enjoy all the spoils. Manners are gone, etiquette is out the window, and a material state of nature descends on any outlet you are working at.

People try to mug you off and swap the sale stickers

But most of the time you’ll just let them have it because you dgaf.

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If you rely on public transport to get to work, you’re screwed

Your mum and dad despise you for not refusing to work Boxing Day because now not only is your Christmas ruined, but theirs is too as they’ve got to drive you to the store for 10am.

Customers will ask you to “watch their bags”

You’ve already got to do a stock check, replen, locate someone’s keys and serve a whole store, and now someone is demanding you watch over their sales shopping – as if you have the time to become a personal security guard on top of all your other roles.

Is it sale, or is it not?

Everything is hectic. People wanted to get home early on the late shift on Christmas Eve so they rushed with the labelling of everything for the sale. Come Boxing Day, when they’re relaxing at home with their families, you have to pay for their consequences. People come rushing to the tills with their so-called sale items only for you to scan them through and it to be full price. An hefty discussion always leads to the manager coming over for them to tell the customer exactly what you did, but to give them the £2.50 off anyway.

Contributors: Leah Phillips, Lucy Woodham, Kyle Farrell, Beth Gonoud, Meg Long, Isobel Cotogni