RECORD STORE TALES #1033: Boxing Daze
Boxing Day (December 26) is for relaxing. After all this activity, we need a break. That’s my opinion. For others, including my wife, it’s for shopping for crazy bargains. In her defence, she doesn’t do that anymore, but I used to question her sanity. After all, I remember working Boxing Day…many Boxing Days…and it was definitely one of the worst days of the year to have to work at the Record Store.
Christmas Eve wasn’t so bad. There was usually lots of cheer in the air. Many customers were pre-spending Christmas money on themselves. By the end of the day though, the shelves were so damn bare. I’d look at them and wonder just what the hell we would have left for sale when we had our big “Buy Three Get One Free” sale on the 26th. Yet people still found things to buy.
After working straight the month of December with only a couple days off, having one day’s break on Christmas Day wasn’t enough. The 25th was always busy. Multiple visits with family, lots going on, lots to do, and no time to actually rest. Then I had to go to bed on time to be up for the Boxing Day sale. That’s exactly how I spent my last Christmas at the Record Store. I even gave up one of the days off in December to a co-worker who wanted to go see a concert. Why? Because I was a nice manager. A good manager. The kind of manager you wanted to have. Yet that guy stabbed me in the back years later when he took issue with my side of the story in Record Store Tales. I should have taken the day off and made him work! Ah well. Didn’t Green Day say that nice guys finish last?
Working on Boxing Day always felt depressing. You didn’t want to be behind the counter working 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. I would be powered by caffeine and saddened that the cheer in the air that was so obvious a few days earlier was all gone. Now it was replaced by bargain hunting. Deals. Surly door-crashers and people unhappy with the gifts they did receive. It was a different kind of day compared to Christmas Eve, and it was long. And worst of all, there was nothing to look forward to after the 26th. Just going back to work on the 27th for what was essentially a normal back-to-the-grind day, except with loads of returns. After the high of Christmas, the comedown of Boxing Day was just brutal.
I’ll never miss it, and I’ll never shop on Boxing Day. I will not contribute to that culture. I remember when stores had to be closed on the 26th. In fact the first Boxing Days at the Record Store, we were closed. The second one, we opened illegally, and working was on a voluntary basis. It was voluntary for the first few years. Then it became near impossible to get it off, though I did get it off for most years that I was manager. The rule of thumb was you could have Christmas Eve or Boxing Day off, but not both. Yet that last year I worked both. Because I was a sucker I guess. Merry Christmas motherfucker.