‘Tis the Season

Heather Brown

Well it’s that time of year again; time to get together with family and have fun around the dinner table; time to head out to the mall or sit down at the computer to purchase all of the things that will make your loved ones smile, a.k.a. the holiday shopping season, has officially begun.

This is my fourth holiday season working as a customer service associate at JC Penney in North Attleboro, Mass. I must say that, under normal circumstances, I love my job. This being said, it’s usually right about now that I begin to consider jumping from the third floor escalator to ease my suffering.

Something happens to people during the holidays. They get meaner and pickier and nastier and ruder. Lucky me.

While many students around campus are happily discussing their Thanksgiving holiday with exclamations of all of the food they ate and all of the family they saw, I get to talk about going to bed early and getting up early to go to work.

Having worked four “Black Fridays,” it still amazes me the sheer number of people who come out to the stores to shop. The economy being in the shape that it is currently in, I for one was not expecting the season to start on a very high note; average maybe, but not high.

Every year, JC Penney gives away mini snow globes to the early bird shoppers. To estimate, my store alone had 500 of them. We opened at 3:30 a.m. and the globes were gone by 5:00 a.m. (just to give you an idea of the ridiculous number of people who were up that early).

One gentleman came up to me at 11:00 a.m. and asked where the snow globes were. When I told him that we were all out of them, he threw his items down on the counter in front of me and left in a huff, saying that he wasn’t going to buy anything from our store since we had none left. I thought there was a hidden camera somewhere because the entire encounter was just so silly.

There were many customers upset that we ran out of video game stands (both for the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox) and they had no problem letting me know about it.

Despite this insanity, I did have one woman absolutely ecstatic to be able to order two marshmallow blasters through our catalog.


When an associate answers your question with something you don’t like, it’s not because we like to create arguments. We are telling you what our store policy is. As an associate if I violate store policy, I will be fired.

Yelling at me will do you no good. Will I call over a manager? Sure! I will be sure to let them know through the tone of my voice to be ready for you and that you have given me a hard time. Don’t expect to get any preferential treatment just because you are a customer. Any national company will be able to open its doors the next day without your purchase.
Still disagree? By all means continue to argue. Let me just get security on the phone and they will be more than happy to talk to you…and escort you out of the store if necessary.

Have you ever seen the inside of the loss prevention room? Well I have and let me assure you that there are more cameras than any person can watch at one time. An added bonus would have to be the pictures of the people who are no longer welcome in our store. If you don’t want your face added to this collage, don’t argue enough to get escorted out.

Remember: If something doesn’t ring in correctly, I do not work in Texas and don’t program the computers (even if I agree that they are a royal pain in the ass at times). When the store is out of something, believe me, I would love to get it for you. Sometimes after looking in all of the stores in the district, online, and in the catalog it just isn’t around to get.
And most importantly: even if you wait in a long line, you get to go home after you pay. I have to stay for at least nine hours dealing with more people like you.
-Heather Brown, Staff Writer