10 Problems That Never Happen At The North Pole




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Remember when you were little and watched Rudolph or Frosty or Miracle on 34th Street and allowed yourself to  believe it was true if only for the season? That the world actually worked that way? That people found salvation with a little help from their friends, or a kind stranger in a bad beard? That on Christmas Eve the entire World was peaceful and bright? No one died? All illness was without pain? People remembered why they loved each other?



Well, I always thought that was the backstory.


What truly impressed me was the EFFICIENCY of how Santa ran his place.


Dear Lord this was a very cool angel. Baby Jesus and his Mother were certainly proud. If this was any indication of how well trained God required his minions to perform then I wanted In.


There was much to learn (With training like this I would only be a snowflake away from running my own Global Conglomerate someday and the little red mini skirts weren’t bad either).


Suffice it to say this snowy pole instruction has eluded the masses of mortals that populate our earthy gift seeking protocols- especially at this time of year.



Here are but a few of my recent observations:



  1. When you enter an establishment, DO NOT just stop mid-stream in the middle of the friggin’ doorway, or in front of the carts, or in an aisle. I know it can be overwhelming but you are not in a movie. There will be no wind machine blowing your hair back, nor is there a revelation about to be rained on your soul. Keep Your Ass Moving. Only Adele can get away with this.

  2. If you are shopping be prepared to pay with a swipe of a card, or, if you must pay in cash, DO NOT seek exact change in your little button change purse. This is not the time of year for exact change. This is the time of year for paying with efficiency or don’t be surprised when the people behind you start a chorus of, ‘You have GOT to be kidding?’ of which I will start.

  3. Why, oh WHY do stores not train seasonal help BEFORE the season? How many among us have had to train the associates ourselves? At the register. Can’t pack a bag. Can’t find the keys on the screen. Don’t know about the discounts. Have no idea where the departments (or, bar the doors Nellie, the restrooms) are. As much as I admire your mother for shaming you into finding temporary employment, your time would have probably been better spent at remedial math tutoring, which brings me to my next point;

  4. God FORBID someone actually has to make ‘change’, Holy Sweet muscular Jesus the shit hits the fan. I have actually seen check-out people struggle with an $11.57 purchase paid for with a $10 and a $5. Did they get it right? They’re not sure. Better count it again. No. That doesn’t seem right. Should they call the manager? What’s that larger silver coin worth again? Shit. This calculation has a 7 in it. That’s an odd number right? Do we count up or down? As they struggle, I am either pondering the future of our country or dipping into the register myself and counting it out FOR them- and no one objects, because the store managers are in the back on their cell phones ordering from Amazon.

  5. Self Check-out. What spawn of Hell decided this was a good idea?

  6. Ya know what I love? When all of the shopping carts are out in the parking lot and nary a one inside, dry and available. Of course ’tis but a matter of actual competent management that the boy who is in charge of keeping the carts at the customers ready is, in fact, in the parking lot but not actually gathering the carts.

  7. How many of us praise Hallelujah when the customer in front of us opens up an in-store credit card to save $5 on todays purchase? You too?

  8. Don’t we all look forward to the season of the Bait-and-Switch whereby you are lured into an establishment with the promise of the Lowest Price or Unlimited Availability only to be offered a Rain Check? If I wanted a God damn rain check I would have worn my waders to navigate the bullshit. Do you see waders? No. You, see my backside as I walk out of your store and you don’t make your monthly nut.

  9. I especially admire the woman (it’s always a woman) who compromises the entire staff into doing her bidding. She’s got one associate hunting down items, another challenged to convince her that THIS is the latest ‘must have’, yet another complimenting her on her choices, and then there’s the request for special gift wrap and the escort to her transportation because she looks like she might tip. Problem is: she never does. Never.

  10. But, I know I’ve really fucked up when I see a person approach my check-out line with a new register drawer. Oh oh. The dreaded Shift Change is about to be engaged. I could probably answer all my emails and shave my legs before they’re ready for the next customer.



Instead, maybe I’ll just write another letter to Santa, begging him to let me apprentice, because he’s checking his list and agrees with me about the whole naughty and nice thing.



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  • Karina -My Letters of Transit - I really enjoyed this post, it had me laughing out loud. You have a great sense of humor, and made some of these all too real and annoying situations more humorous.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Karina. Humor and annoyance are my stock in trade!ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - The new register drawer. Oh honey. I feel your pain. And why can’t they wipe those carts off? How come the cashier has to pause to read the headline on my Nat’l Inquirer?Am I the ONLY customer who buys them? Surely not! Oh, I have to stop because I just checked into my hotel rm in San Francisco for two days and have to go eat.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Eat? San Francisco? GO. Now. Have one for me!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa at Grandma's Briefs - I know I should shop local, but everything you said here is exactly why I prefer to shop mostly online.

    I, too, wish I could get back the magical feel of the season. I’m trying to focus less on stuff and shopping, though, and that helps a ton.

    May your Christmas be merry and bright despite the knuckleheads you encounter.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Good word “knuckleheads”. That’s what’s all around! You too have a lovely Holiday Season.ReplyCancel

  • Karen D. Austin - I avoid the whole thing by not shopping during the holidays. It’s just too much for me. I guess people can call me Scrooge, but I just can’t deal with things as described above. My best to the brave who go “out there” at this time of year.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Ha! You couldn’t pay me to go shopping during the holidays. It would make it too easy to hate all of humanity!ReplyCancel

  • Rosalind Warren - “This is not the time of year for exact change.” Amen, sister. Fun piece. It’s funny because it’s ALL true.ReplyCancel

  • Alana Mautone - That is what amazon.com is for. Except I was out there, like an idiot, on Black Friday. Had an encounter with a clerk at CVS that still has me shaking my yead.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - Yikes! We’ve been in the same lines! Next time, bring a thermos of hot chocolate. I’ll do the same and we can sit and sip and snigger over everyone else in the line. Without ever – you know – getting in the line orselves . . .ReplyCancel

  • Roshni AaMom - I’m with your readers who doesn’t shop during the holidays, but I must say that your post tells me how much entertainment can be derived by just stepping inside a shop and observing!! Maybe I’ll do that next week!! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Katie Knapp Hill - Hahahaha that was hilarious and I could not agree more! My last two Christmas’s have been AWESOME. Nothing like missing the whole nightmare by living on a small Caribbean island for 4-6 months during the winter.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - The joys of shopping online become clearer every year. Yes, indeed. Then there is other lovely part. Most of my receipient of presents want money. Good. I just put the amount I would have spent inside a Christmas card. They are happy and I’m happy. No huge bills arriving after Christmas. Oh, by the way, my view of Christmas as a child was so totally different. It hasn’t changed, but you should have gleaned that from the novel you read. If you are curious, I’ll answer, otherwise just wonder about it.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - Online shopping is my newest best friend and as much as I love the feel of Christmas since childhood (you try not celebrating it in a town with no Jews!) people seem a little crazier this time of year. Sheesh!ReplyCancel

  • David Butler - I take it,you have been Christmas shopping.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - You crack me up! I love that you can skate from hair blowing back in the wind to the devil’s self check out to making change with such ease and grace. Thank you for ending my day with a chuckle!ReplyCancel

  • Salma Dinani Dewji - Lol, this made me laugh. And I totally agree with the self-check out, horrible invention and takes WAY longer!ReplyCancel

  • Lee Gaitan - Hilarious and too true! Love #5–spawn of hell! And re: #4, if you really want to jam an icepick through your brain, try givng them them “the penny” (like if the total is $5.66 and you give them $6.01) and see how long THAT takes them to figure out without the aid of NASA’s computers! PS Do you really still shave your legs? Impressive.ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - I went down this list going, “yep…yep….fuck yes that, too…”ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Nothing said that isn’t fucking true. And the list could go on and on and….ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Great list Cheryl and it made my day today. Now that I’ve read this I don’t dare go out shopping unless I shave my legs first. Merry Christmas.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I figure if Mrs. Klaus can maintain her personal grooming habits- we all should. ANd a VERY Merry Xmas to you too my friend!ReplyCancel

  • MJM - Ho Ho Hilarious! Knocked it out of the park as always my friend.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank YOU! And a VERY Merry Christmas to you my friend!!!ReplyCancel

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