By Eliza Hamizah
'Tis the season for grand light-ups, heavy discounts (or mark-ups), and three-hour queues! Christmas is the time to be jolly, spend some good ol' quality time with the family, or simply to kick back our shoes, crack open a can of soda and enjoy the day off.
Christmas, however, also happens to be one of the busiest periods of the year so, naturally, we need all hands on deck to make our holiday season smooth sailing. Unfortunately, while we're busy wrapping our gifts and making last-minute celebratory preparations, we tend to forget those who make the Christmas magic happen. What would we do without them? We pick four groups of people we should show a little more appreciation to.
Serving customers on a normal day can already be quite difficult but the stress level ratchets up even more as Christmas approaches. Playing Santa Claus, panicking about last minute plans, and trying to accomplish our to-do lists can turn even the most Zen of people crazy.
Sadly, retail assistants are more often than not at the receiving end during this hustle and bustle, dealing with unpleasant patrons who mess up the store during the search for the right gift, and not to mention, a fair share of unreasonable customers.
"Customers tend to demand for discounts and free wrapping service when they buy in bulk even though it's not allowed. I've also had customers asking for gift recommendations and they come back after Christmas to ask for a refund!" says 23-year-old Fadhilah, who spent two years working in a bookstore.
Food & Beverages (F&B) Staff
The next best thing after presents about this festive holiday is the food. So on Christmas, we feast like royalty. So, spare a thought for the F&B workers who give up their public holiday to serve those who prefer to dine-out on Christmas and work tirelessly to meet the influx of orders.
21-year-old Nurul Natasha, who works in a coffee company, reveals that Christmas brings in more effort than usual. "There are a lot of new offers and additions to the menus that need to be memorised. Decorations need to be done and customers are definitely grouchier due to the long queues," she says with a laugh. "On the bright side, the sales is picking up. It might be more tiring, but I love my job and I love the Christmas mood!"
We spend the night wolfing down log cakes and turkey drumsticks, taking swigs from beer bottles, and before we know it, we're on the ground drunk as a skunk. Those of us who are smart enough not to drink and drive opt for the safer way home: The Cab.
Unfortunately for the cab driver, some of us cannot contain our Christmas joy and decide that the car carpet would be a good place to share it.
"We were 19 and drunk. I threw up one along the bushes before getting into a cab. My friend 'merlion-ed' after declining a plastic bag from the driver. To make it up, I gave him an extra $15 for the mess!" recalls 32-year-old Sylvia Lee.
19-year-old student Kenneth Tan also shares his not-too-sobering experience. Although he did not vomit in the cab, he admits that it was not an entirely pleasant ride. "Not only did the poor driver carry me into the cab, he had to put up with my incessant blabbering. Plus, my breath reeked of alcohol," he says.
Nurses and Doctors
Just like cab drivers, nurses and doctors have the unfortunate responsibility to clean up our X'mess and save us from our plights.
20-year-old nursing student Harry Lee says that drinking and road traffic accidents are common causes of head injuries, contusion, and hemorrhages. "Christmas, like every other festivity, bring in more casualties. We had a patient who got so drunk he fell off the parapet of a bridge. He fainted and was diagnosed with subdural hematoma," he says.
"Drink moderately please," he advises. "At least have a friend stand by you!"
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