Dealing With The Rudeness of The Holiday Season
I went to Walmart today to grab a few things (I’m at Walmart often because it’s close and I can quickly run in and out). While there, I ran into an employee that I often converse with. He’s from Detroit, so whenever I see him, I yell, “Hey DETROOOOIIIT!!!”, and he responds, “Hey SAG-NASTAYYYYY!” (Sagnasty is a slang term that means Saginaw, Michigan, which it where I’m from). Since we are both Michiganders who live in Tennessee, that’s how we address each other. I’m sure that at some point, we introduced each other with our real names. However, I don’t remember his, and I’m sure that he doesn’t remember mine.
As always, we stopped to shoot the breeze in the produce section. During our conversation, I saw a middle aged man walking near us; he was carrying a gallon of milk. Seconds later, a young woman approaching the corner of the isle with a shopping cart inadvertently bumped into the man with the milk. Detroit and I jumped as we heard the SPLAT and saw milk pouring over the floor. Immediately, a mild argument commenced.
Let The Craziness Commence!
Woman with cart: I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you.
Milkman: yeah, you should watch where you’re going!
This man was livid! He was not trying to hear any apologies. Obviously, the woman did not intend on bumping into him or cause him to drop his milk. Nonetheless, the milkman didn’t care–he was pissed!
After they finished the short, but angry exchange, both parties went about their business. I assumed that the angry man went to grab another gallon of milk, and the woman continued her shopping as planned. However, neither of them tried to tell anyone that a mess had been made. They just left it there for an innocent person to slip and fall on. Since Detroit had witnessed the ordeal, he grabbed a mop and began cleaning up the mess.
As he cleaned the milky mess, I said to Detroit, “People are so awful during this time of year. Supposedly, it’s about love and goodwill towards mankind, but the reality is that people become major assholes around Christmas!” . He agreed and told me that he really dislikes working during the holiday season for that reason exclusively. I shared with him that I’d been dealing with the same kinds of entitled, insistent, rude people over the phone as a Customer Service Agent. After a some brief banter on the subject, we parted ways.
Last Year Around This Time…
As I walked towards frozen foods, I remembered that it was around Christmas last year when I was in the same store, and as I was walking down an isle, and I saw an elderly woman on one of those Amigo scooters who had run into a hanging rack and had gotten stuck there. Even though five or six people had witnessed this, no one tried to help her. Mind you, Tennessee is known as the “Volunteer State“, however, no one volunteered to help her. I abandoned my cart (leaving my purse vulnerable to other kinds of “volunteers”) and rushed over to lift the rack so she could break free without injury. All the while, the same five or six people stood by as though entertained, without offering help.
After I had removed the rack that she was attached to, she just rode off without expressing the slightest bit of gratitude, and the onlookers continued shopping as if none of that had happened. I reattached the rack to the structure that it was originally hanging from, informed another employee that it was in a dangerous position, and told him what had just happened. After that, I continued to shop without giving thought to the rudeness of the elderly woman, or the onlookers. Even though it would have been nice if the woman had been even a little gratuitous and acknowledged that, out of six or more people, only one person cared enough to protect her from injury. I know better than to do anything for anyone unless it comes from the heart and without expectation; I had made the Gods happy, and that I felt good about that. I didn’t need confirmation.
Why Are People So Mean During The Holidays?
As I continued to shop on “The Day of the Spilled Milk” (as it shall forever be called) and recollected on the Christmas of yesteryear, I questioned: Why are people so mean during what is known as the “Most Wonderful Time of The Year“? I then remembered that Christmas isn’t the only time that brings out the worst in humans. Ever been in a grocery store or a restaurant on a Sunday after church? I’ve never understood how people can leave a house of worship, and treat others so horribly after spending the last few hours listening to “The good word“. What happened? Maybe it is because of the same reasons that I can be mean after work: I’m tired and I’ve spent the last 8 hours putting up with things that were not enjoyable. Even though working that job is a choice, it is necessary as bills have to be paid. Going to church is also a choice, but it comes with more freedoms. If these people attend a church that alters their disposition to the point where they can’t be nice to others, why don’t they find a new church that has a better effect on them? I’m sure that finding a new church would be easier than finding a new job. As for why people are mean during Christmas, I think I understand why that happens, even though I don’t condone it.
I usually don’t enjoy my birthday. It’s been that way for 20 years or more. I’ve tried to make plans, but they usually fall through. Eventually, I decided not to make plans or even give much acknowledgement to my birthday. A few years ago, I finally figured it out. The reason why I don’t enjoy my birthday is because there is too much pressure. Everyone is wishing me a good day and telling me to enjoy “my day“. If not that, people are asking me how I intend on spending “my day“. This leaves me with nothing to say because I have no plans. Then, I begin to feel bad because I don’t have plans, and obviously, me having plans would appease those who are asking. In the end, I’ve not only let myself down, but also those who have nothing to do with my birthday. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.
I believe that people who are mean and rude during the holiday season are also responding to pressure. The holiday season can be a very intense time. There’s shopping, spending money that we ordinarily would not spend, overcrowded stores, traveling, and traffic is even more ridiculous than usual. Perhaps when people begin to express their more unfavorable sides, it’s in response to all of the pressure that they’ve decided to take on.
“Decided” Is The Operative Word
Since partaking in the traditions and stereotypes of the season is a personal choice, no one has the right to direct the discomfort that they’ve decided to take on towards the rest of the world. If you are someone who is guilty of this offense, you should check yourself. If you don’t, someone might do it for you. Conversely, those who find themselves on the receiving end of this type of behavior, try to exercise restraint and consider that there are some people who have trouble dealing with the conformist decisions that they make (such as following traditions that brings out the worst in them).
Remember, ‘Tis the season to be jolly!
In all cases, it is divine to be kind, regardless of the situation. As I’ve said in previous blogs, what you give unto to universe, the universe will give unto you!