Christmas – no extra pay, no day off, not even a gift card

Image courtesy of Kylie_Jaxxon on Flickr under the auspices of a Creative Commons license.

On my way to the office this morning I stopped by a local convenience store to pick up a bottle of Diet Pepsi. I had five hours of work ahead of me before I could enjoy the Christmas “holiday.”

The convenience store was open. A tired elderly woman hugging a bag of something – maybe what would pass for her Christmas dinner – struggled to get the door open and then hurried off down the sidewalk. I don’t know why but I had a sneaking suspicion she didn’t have a place to live, and this would be the highlight of her day.

I went inside just as another vehicle, a pickup truck, pulled up. A man got out and headed for the front door. He was grinning ear-to-ear. Good for him.

I found a Diet Pepsi in the cooler and returned to the register. The cashier was doing something in another part of the store, but he stopped and went behind the counter to ring up my soda. I had seen him before because I had stopped at this story many, many times before.

“How did you get so lucky to work on Christmas morning?” I asked, chuckling.

“We all have to work,” he barked back, not happy. “All of us. Nobody gets the day off.”

I made some kind of consolatory noise and he continued, “No day off, no extra pay, not even a $5 gift card. Cheapest company I ever worked for.”

He was angry.

“In 65 years I never had to work on Christmas. This will be the last time. I’ve got to get out of this place.”

He handed me my change and said, “But YOU have a nice Christmas.” I picked up my Diet Pepsi and left as the grinning man headed toward the angry cashier.

I’d like to say there’s a moral to this anecdote, or some kind of silver lining, just something that carries it to a higher level than mere observation on a working Christmas morning, but the fact is, life is life, and that’s what it’s like these days.

And I just thought I would share.

Image courtesy of Kylie_Jaxxon of Flickr under the auspices of a Creative Commons license.

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