Entry for December 14, 2006

As many of you may know (and by ‘many’ I mean ‘2 of the 3 people that read my blog, one of them being my mother’), I worked in retail for a disgustingly large number of years. For most of this time, I managed the cash office for a company called Marshalls. You may have heard of it. As most retail jobs go, I suppose it could have been worse. Until I worked for Evilynn (you know who you are!) those last couple of years, I mostly avoided working nights and weekends. How? Well, see, when you handle the money, you need to work when the bank is open. At least that was what I would tell each new manager as they came through, and lucky me, most of them fell for it. Despite the relative cushiness of my position, I was still expected to put in my fair share of time on the sales floor and at the registers, which is where I developed my incredible Christmas spirit. My doctor calls it Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

In the early days of my Marshalls career, back when cell phones didn’t yet exist (unless it was one of those 20 pound boxes with a handset attached like Sgt. Murtaugh used in Lethal Weapon), and Al Gore had only just invented the internet, we had a pretty simple computer system that was used mostly to send messages between the home office and the stores. The system had a rather annoying glitch in it – every once in awhile a message would get ‘stuck’, and we would keep getting it over, and over, and over again, several times a day, for weeks on end. One day an employee in one of the other stores rewrote Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer into this completely sickening “go team Marshalls, it’s Christmas, rah, rah, RAH!” song and sent it out to all of the stores in the company, and wouldn’t you know it? It got stuck. The following is what I wrote in response….though my weenie manager at the time wouldn’t let me send it out to the rest of the company…

The Christmas Blues (a la “The Night Before Christmas”)

‘Twas ten days before Christmas
And each Marshalls store
Was filled to all corners
With shoppers galore.

The clothing was hung
On the racks all askew,
And where all the shopping
Carts were – no one knew.

Two cashiers had called out.
Three more were on break.
The lines at the registers
Were too much to take.

I could stand it no more.
I just had to leave.
I went back to the office
For a tiny reprieve.

I sat at the PC,
Logged on to our host,
But what I found there
Made my blood start to roast.

Forty-two unread messages!
How could that be?
But as I pressed “enter”
It became clear to me.

Each message had come
From the very same place.
From the very same person
In every case.

As I started to read them
My worst fears came true.
They were each the same message –

What had she been thinking?
Did she think this was fun?
What was wrong with Michele
In store one-ninety-one?

Was she out of her mind?
Had she forgotten so soon
The message last year
We kept getting ’til June?

As I started deleting
An idea came to me.
I went into “send” mode
And typed out my plea.

“Oh Santa, dear Santa,
I’ve been a good girl.
If this doesn’t end soon
I think I may hurl.”

“I don’t need a toy
Or a big diamond ring.
In fact, all I want
Is this one little thing.”

“My true Christmas wish,
The one thing I need
Is to purge out our system
With the utmost of speed.”

“So please grant this wish,
Oh, Santa, my friend,
And I’ll be oh, so grateful
Until my life’s end.”

With that, I was finished.
My message was through.
I logged off and headed
Back out to the zoo.

Quite a while later
It was my time to go,
But I just had to check it,
I needed to know.

As I logged on I must say,
My hands – how they shook.
But I made myself go on.
I made myself look.

And what to my wondering eyes
Did appear?
Only one unread message.
Oh Santa, you dear!

The note read,”Dear Jenny,
I just read your letter.
I’m hoping your Christmas
Will soon get much better.”

“I’ve purged out your system
Of Michele’s silly rhyme,
And banned her ID
For now and all time.”

As I put on my coat
And went out to my car,
I thought, “Thank you Santa,
Wherever you are.”

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