Over the river and through the woods, or “how to ruin someone’s Thanksgiving.”

I was once told that, if you’re pissed off about something, sleep on it. If it still boils the blood the next day, then by all means, let ‘er rip. It’s much better to let that anger out rather than let it seethe within, poisoning your guts.

And so, without further ado, I am letting ‘er rip. I slept on that bitch, it was like a lumpy mattress, and I’m still pissed.

The husband has to work on Thanksgiving. This, in and of itself, is nothing new. He has worked in retail and customer service for many years, except for his years employed in a lumber mill. We have both worked on Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and various other holidays that are sacred to most people but in our different lines of work, it was necessary. In this case, “necessary” means that he will be manning the store floor on Thanksgiving while assholes lose their fucking minds over TVs, toys, $5 holiday sweaters, and hover boards this year, right after they’ve stuffed themselves with their own Thanksgiving feast. He is made of sturdier stuff than me, having done this for 3 years now. I did it last year, and thought to myself at the time, “I never want to do this again.”  It was disgusting, watching grown people fight over $1 hand towels and stomp their feet with disappointment because they didn’t get a wrist band for one of the 6 drones available for the low, low price of $296. (Let’s just gloss over the fact that I am on medication for my inability to deal with people.  Let’s also gloss over the fact that most people should be medicated in order to make them acceptable human beings.) Then I accepted a managerial position and pretended that I was a company player for oh, about 10 seconds. It was not for me. Voldemort’s evil retail empire was not for me. I escaped the horror. He has not managed to do that. Yet.

Every year, Voldemort provides a meal for its associates since they are spending their entire day girding their loins for the whackadoodle shoppers who find it entertaining to make a mad dash into the store to do their shopping instead of hanging out at home, enjoying family, friends, food, and football. You know, the shit the associates would much rather be doing, but a paycheck is a paycheck, even if it’s from a monster retailer who begrudges them a living wage. The meal is all the usual Thanksgiving fare, which, by most standards, is not the most expensive meal to put on. Labor-intensive, yes. Budget-wise? No. With turkeys being available for .48 a pound and potatoes and veggies and even pumpkin being offered on the cheap side this time of year, a turkey dinner with all the trimmings is actually very economical, in my humble opinion. It was a pretty decent meal last year, catered by a local company, who was pretty good about replenishing throughout the day for all the incoming shifts. Let’s just say that no one went hungry as long as they got a moment to come back to the break room to sit down and eat. You know, providing that meal is the least that Voldemort can do, having demanded that its associates sacrifice an entire holiday away from their families to provide customer service to unapologetically demanding asshole shoppers. The husband will be working from 1pm-10pm, which leaves him absolutely no time to spend with our kids and grandkids, eating some turkey, maybe catching a few minutes of football with my sons, and enjoying a day that marks being thankful for what one has. Furthermore, I will miss him. Very much. And so, I wish I could point my wand and spit out “Avada Kedavra!” and blow up the entire store. Sans associates, of course. Customers who are there for Thanksgiving, though? Collateral damage.


But this. THIS is what has made my blood boil, if that weren’t enough:

This year, each associate will get a meal ticket. They must turn it in and eat their meal, and then they are done. No snacking at breaks, no furtive snatching of a cookie after they make a bathroom run; you get your one chance and then you’re done. Supposedly, they are attempting to “make sure everyone gets their meal” because “last year some people took advantage and there wasn’t enough”. And that, my friends, is utter bullshit. I was there. I saw the food. The food that sat out all day and was picked at by associates. I saw the spread for the overnight crew. I saw the replenishment. At no time was there not enough food. Are there people who take advantage and fill two plates? Sure. But so fucking what? It’s a holiday, a sacred holiday, and it’s a retailer that orders enough turkeys for its customers to require another freezer trailer be set up outside the facility. Begrudging your employees a chance to stuff themselves in the same manner that they would at home, if they were able to, is not too much to ask.


An inaccurate representation of a catered meal in the break room.

But therein lies the rub. No, one would not think that a massive, big box corporation such as Voldemort would have a problem with providing a meal for its valued associates. Associates don’t get Christmas bonuses, or paid holidays off, or anything, really. Oh, they get 10% off everything around the holidays and a 25% off coupon good for one trip through the cash register IF they work that Thanksgiving, but if you aren’t a full-time associate, you don’t get the full, quarterly bonus that associates get; you get half. And that ain’t much, if you want to know the truth. Full-time isn’t a whole lot, either, if your store didn’t turn as big a profit as it had hoped.

The little “extras?” This Thanksgiving meal, for example? It comes out of the store’s bottom line. More importantly, it comes out of the upper management’s “bottom line”, in the form of their bonuses. Which are significantly higher than those of the associates’. See where I am going with this? We wouldn’t want to feed people more food than we have to if we can cut corners somewhere! Ya know, the store manager might need a new car or something, because last’s year’s model started depreciating the second it was purchased, and that extra plate you’re eating might force him or her to have to get a model with unheated seats or *gasp* a factory sound system.

Oh, the humanity!!!!!

So, when you’re excitedly standing in line on Thursday night at your local Voldemort, waiting for the latest video game for your kid, who will maybe play it twice; when you’re angrily asserting that YOU were in line FIRST for the $9 coffee maker; while you complain bitterly that you had to get there at 4pm to get in line for that 55″ TV that your daughter “needs” for her room for Christmas; remember, please, those associates you refuse to make eye contact with on a regular basis and who you ask to “go look out back” when the shelf is empty of your favorite brand of soft drink. When you’re lazily burping up your pumpkin pie that you were able to sit, languidly, and enjoy, before rushing to Voldemort to get a good parking space, that associate out in the cold, pushing those carts, got one plate of food and was rushed through that plate because YOUR LAZY ASS needed a cart moved for your car.


Remember that, as little as you think of them, their upper management thinks even less. 








One thought on “Over the river and through the woods, or “how to ruin someone’s Thanksgiving.”

  1. Pingback: F is For Friday

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