I’ve been noticing more and more lately that I’m getting more and more angry and aggressive and it’s the city that’s doing it.
It’s not Boston in particular, it’s just…living in a big city where people can be rude and thoughtless and exceedingly annoying. I don’t think cities especially attract awful people; the same percentage of awful people live in the city as they do in the country (20%). But 20% of 600,000 people is a metric shitton of people no matter how you look at it and you’re going to be bumping into those people on a regular basis, especially if you work in retail and especially if you take public transportation to get to your retail job.
As a result, I’ve been more surly with people and more liable to get ornery at real and imagined offenses. Some of this change in behavior is necessary. I’ve never been a very forward person and never been very liable to stand up for myself. I was always more likely to take the quiet, passive way out of a conflict. Now, I’m finding myself looking forward to a combative argument. I got to kick someone out of the store the other day and I was thrilled. I hope he comes back so I can do it again.
This is where it starts becoming more of a problematic thing and where I need to start reining myself in the tiniest bit. Still, I’m pleased that I can actually argue with someone as opposed to just grinning and bearing it.
Also, I’ll fight you.
I stare into the mirror and wonder if I’m ready for what’s to come. It’s a time that will try the souls of countless retail employees, a day of reckoning for those of us who make our trade peddling goods to the Horde.
There are no customers on this day, there is just the Horde. One massive Allmind that consumes everything in its path. They are not looking for food or books or clothes or anything material. They are hunting for Deals, in all shapes and all sizes. “Buy one, get one 50% off!” “Buy 2 get the third one free!” This is what the Horde is truly looking for. And when the day has passed and night has fallen and the Horde has fallen apart and broken into its base components, they look at what they have bought and wonder at what their madness has wrought.
“Why did I buy three pairs of cat warmers?” they will wonder. “Why do I own the boxset of “The Nanny”? I don’t even LIKE The Nanny!” They will look upon what they did while they were Horde and they will weep.
But all of that will come later, after the shopping fugue has passed, after the madness has passed and they have left a trail of broken and sobbing retail employees behind them. They will not remember the terrible things they do today.
I cannot think of them as people, as individuals, or even as customers. They have gone beyond that and below that. They are a force that cannot be stopped. Their demands must be acquiesced to. The only thing I can do on this day is give them our Deals and hope that that will be enough to survive. For that is the goal today: survival.
I look in the mirror and wonder if I will still be here when the Deals are done. I wonder if I’ll be the same person.
It’s November 26th, 2010 and it is Black Friday and I am so very afraid.