cultural understanding, customers, family, holidays, life lessons, shopping

What Happened to the Holidays?

When I think back to the family holiday celebrations when I was a child growing up in the 80’s, I remember the family gathering at my grandmother’s house. The food would be set around the dining room table and the desserts on her buffet. Mom and Aunt Pat would see what needed to be done in the kitchen. It wasn’t yet known if Aunt Pam would be making a guest appearance, even though she literally lived right around the corner. My grandmother would have every thing covered in that cheap plastic wrap she used to buy, the food barely covered. We’d hold hands to bless the food, one random adult selected to say the prayer. Everyone would say Amen and we’d commence to making plates.

It was a guessing game as far as the meats, pick one at your own risk. Grandpa was a hunter, so you were subject to get raccoon, rabbit, or even goat on your plate. I remember the Christmas where my Uncle Phillip, jockeying for position to get closer to the bowl of chitlin’s knocks over several of my Grandmother’s house plants, spilling dirt every where. It’s thirty years later and he still can’t live that one down.

Now we wouldn’t eat at the dining room table, so everyone would take their paper plates out to the living room. God forbid if you spilled any of the red pop on the carpet. After everyone was stuffed, we’d either see what was on the TV or the rest of the evening would be spent catching up on family events. Aunt Pam would show up with her family, right after the dishes were washed and all the clean up work was done. ; )

These holiday celebrations from years past live on only in old photographs. The kids are adults now, some with kids of their own. Uncle Junior, my mother’s baby brother has been sleeping in his grave since 1999, Grandpa followed a few years later, and this year Grandma joined them in eternity. My parents have been divorced for years, Aunt Pat is still up in Grand Rapids, and Aunt Pam and one of her daughters are hours away in St. Louis. Life happened between then and now, which is why those holidays spent together are so precious.

Those are times that we can never get, which is why I don’t understand people nowadays. Instead of spending the holidays with their loved ones, they’d rather spend it in a tent outside a store, waiting to buy some item they don’t really need. When did Thanksgiving or the other holidays become so twisted? With today’s society and everybody focused on me, me, me, and what I need, they forget the real meaning. Worse yet, their shopping habits affect the poor people who work at these stores.

My mother works for a retail giant, the head of her office which is vital to the running of the store. We can’t spend the holiday together because she works Thanksgiving morning and then has to report to work at midnight the same evening to be ready for Black Friday. Now our holiday dinner has to scheduled before or after the actual holiday because some executive who’s having his holiday meal catered by the help decides they can make a lot of money on Thanksgiving. All so somebody’s kid can have that nice new tablet or laptop, which truth be told is last year’s model anyway. It’s something you might want to consider if  you decide to venture out on Thanksgiving to shop.

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call center, coworkers, cultural understanding, etiquette, life lessons, manners, Uncategorized, workplace

It’s Secret Santa Time Again!

It happens once a year. You and your coworkers draw names for Secret Santa. Here’s a word of advice, be mindful of the person who’ll be purchasing that gift for you.

For example, last year Von had the sheer luck of drawing one of our coworkers. Now this young lady didn’t ask for a nice fluffy Snuggie or a pair of comfortable slippers. She wanted a copy of 50 Shades of Grey. If you want the book, that’s fine, that’s your business, your personal business. My question is why would you want to put someone you work with in the awkward position of purchasing a book that’s has the stigma of being ‘Mommy Porn’? Now you’re leaving a coworker with the decision of whether to gift wrap it or just throw it in a paper bag.

Being a Secret Santa is all about the spreading the Christmas Spirit. There’s nothing like the joy of picking out the perfect gift for someone you work with and the look of glee as they open their gift. I shouldn’t have to be embarrassed going to the store and purchasing an item on your list.  Gift buying shouldn’t be a life altering decision. So if the thing on your list requires batteries or has three speeds, unless it’s a blender, take it off. Yes, that even includes that paperback copy of Taken by the T-Rex ; ) Please refrain from putting personal items on you wish list. Happy Holiday Season y’all!

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call center, coworkers, finances, life lessons, manners, money, Uncategorized, workplace

The Workplace Cash Grab

For some odd reason, my co-workers always find a way to finagle me out of money. Yesterday was Boss’ Day. The team I’m on works parallel with another team and each team has its own team leader.

“Here they go again.” I mutter under my breath when I get the email, which shows up in the middle of our pay period. The folks on the other team want to collect money to get gifts for the two team leaders. They’ve even made a list of the possible Detroit Tigers ties they want to get for the male team leader, i.e. their team leader. Oh and they’ll get something nice for our female team leader too, treating her almost like a second thought. I know the game they’re playing. The gift they want to get him is expensive, so they think they’ll involve our team to get more money.

Now I don’t have a problem with the team leaders, I like them both and they’re good people. I don’t understand why they feel the need to collect money when passing an appreciation card around will do.  My coworkers ask for money more than PBS.

A month ago, we had finally had our pot luck, which had been delayed probably about five times. Now me, I go to work to work. If I want to bring a snack or something to munch on, I do that. I work a 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. shift, so I don’t like eating anything heavy, otherwise I’ll be sleepy and miserable for the rest of the evening. I’m also funny about pot lucks. Unless you let me come over and inspect and clean your kitchen, I more than likely don’t want to eat your food. I’ve seen too many of my co-workers walk out of the bathroom without washing their hands and how do I know if you don’t have animals at home that walk all over your kitchen counters? Call me a kitchen snob or anti social, but it’s just me. Anyway, I was able to get away with not participating in the pot luck and I thought I’d have a reprieve before I was hassled for money again.

Over the past year several members of my team have lost loved ones, including Von’s father and my grandmother. Our team has the routine of passing the sympathy card around and giving it to the bereaved when they return to work. Now the other team had a member who experienced a death in the family and they wanted to go all out collecting money for flowers and giving the remainder of the funds to their teammate. The members of the other team participated, but most of our team refused. No one collected money for us, so why should we give her money? Not trying to be funny, but the truth is the truth.

Earlier in the week, I got stopped by a couple people on my own team who want to have a Stuff Your Face At Work Day in the next couple weeks. These are the hungriest people I’ve ever met. We just had a pot luck only a few weeks ago. The only difference is that this event will only include our team. Why are we planning yet another meal at work? I don’t come to work to hunt up food and I’m not really interested. I use a stall tactic and say I’ll think about it and I quickly disposed of the emails pertaining to the event. Today I discovered the Stuff Your Face At Work Day falls on my off day, so they can eat all they want and I don’t have to spend a dime. Though I know that the holidays are approaching and they’ll be trying to set up yet another Stuff Your Face Day before the end of the year.

Getting back to Boss’ Day; I ignored the emails concerning the gifts hoping they’ll leave me in peace. Unfortunately they sent one of their bounty hunters out to gather more funds. I know how the game goes; I refused to participate in the pot luck, so she asks me face to face to pour on the pressure. They might as well have sent two mafia wise guys to pay me a visit because it’s the same effect. It’s one of those situations where if you refuse to cooperate, you’ll have that stigma of being antisocial or uppity, not that I care what they think anyway, but I gotta work with these people everyday. Submitting to peer pressure, I say yes, but I won’t have the money til payday.

Now before the money was collected, we got emails with all the details. Today when I come in, there are no mentions of the gifts, or what was even bought for the Team Leaders. Now I’m pissed. You take my money but you can’t send a simple email telling me what I actually paid for? They got what they wanted from me so they don’t need me any more.

Let me set the record straight; in no way am I cheap, I in fact have very expensive tastes. But it’s my money and I like spending it on what I want to spend it on. I don’t like feeling pressured that I have to spend my money on some stupid event at work, just to avoid being ostracized or fitted with the label of ‘doesn’t work well with others’. Yeah, I don’t care what they think about me, but I want to get along with the people I work with. Like everybody else, I’ve got bills and other stuff I’d rather spend my money on. I know one thing: whatever they cook up for the holiday season, if I have to pay for it, they can count me out.

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