During the second-to-the-last day before Christmas, we made our final stop at a mall to pick up a framed pic that we had ordered. It was almost ten in the evening and the crowd had begun to thin out significantly. Some of the clerks in the other stores, those with few or no customers, had resorted to milling about at their entrances trying to coax a few passers-by into coming in, but having little luck, made small talk instead and jigged to the mall music.
As we entered the framing shop, we asked what time the mall closes. The lady said 12 o’clock midnight. So, instinctively we asked, “so there’s a sale going on?” In the past years, it had been standard practice that if ever a mall closed at twelve midnight, a big sale therefore was in the offing. To our amusement, she replied, “Midnight it is, but no sale!”
For the regular employ, the extra hours might have meant overtime wages, and that might have been fine. However, I am at this time really curious how it is for those contractuals who do not have the same benefits. Also, as mall policy, tenants renting mall spaces cannot opt to close shop earlier than the imposed 12-midnight schedule lest they be fined and asked to pay penalties for doing so.
The up-till-midnight schedule had been going on for four straight days already, a salesclerk had added. Four days, up till midnight, and no sale. It may be quite understandable if one saw unsmiling salespeople as you walk the aisles at ten, as all are visibly exhausted by the super long workday. Multiply by four, and add “consecutive” , how much rest hour have you got? To top it all, you have to be back by 10 in the morning the following day. A clerk told me that whenever he got home, a quick sup and a bottle of Colt 45 (a very strong beer) did the trick. He’s out cold, then refreshed the next morn. Warrior.
Point of all this is, at this yule hour, as we celebrate with our beloved families and dear ones, let us likewise give time to honor the noble workers for seeing to our every whim, insignificant as some may seem.
Oftentimes, one may come across cranky customers snarling at the mall clerks. These workers do not deserve this, with the already-present state marked by ling hours of catering to our needs. At the very least, let courtesy, respect and a smile be the simple gifts we could leave behind as they wait for 12 o’clock to be over.