To mark the New Year, I got to go to work today (and I was there Boxing Day too). I don’t mind working either day, but I have to question the wisdom of having the store open on either day.

Last year, the store was closed on both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, owing to poor sales the year before. This year, head office, in their wisdom, decreed we should be open on both days, despite the evidence of 2012’s figures.

Unsurprisingly, neither Boxing Day or today were great ones for sales.

It’s pretty obvious to me, a lowly team leader, why being open is futile for us. The company has a sale but, compared to bigger retailers, we don’t shout about it. No one knows what we offer, and where I live, public transport barely runs on bank holidays. Combine this with other retailers running shorter hours (or just not opening), and the footfall drops off dramatically.

Instead, the powers that be decided we had to be open 10-6 both days.

There really is no point in us being open to 6 (or at all). We took just barely £1,000 on both days, so, factoring in the cost of staff wages, heating and electricity, we would have actually run at a loss both days.

And the company wonders why we’re not making a profit. Well, perhaps next time, we won’t pour money down the drain?

It would seem the scourge of Black Friday (traditionally a day when America goes nuts over every tiny deal) is now infecting my country. I cannot speak for everyone on this fair isle, but the UK could do without the hysterical scenes typically witnessed on Black Friday across the Pond.

We are normally above the sort of frenzied behaviour that is quite common in the US on this day. Sadly, as Black Friday becomes a bigger deal over here, it seems we are degenerating into the same sort of behaviour.

Why?! Are we just animals now, reduced to rabid creatures foaming at the mouth for things we probably don’t even truly need? Are we not a nation of more calm, considered and rational human beings?

Thankfully, where I work, I have not so far witnessed such mayhem. No one has been fighting in the aisles to get to the nearest deal. No one’s been wrestling with laptops. The fury that’s greeted some retailers has been astonishing.

 

This morning I received a tearful phone call from the wife of a man I knew, via work, for the past five years, informing me that this gentleman had passed away. I was stunned, and saddened, to learn of his passing.

I can’t claim to have known him thoroughly, as I knew him mostly via his being a customer of the store (and occasionally I would go round his house to help him set up his laptop/printer, or solve a tech problem), but what I did know of him is that he was a good man, a proud father and grandfather, and that his death has shocked me. I hadn’t seen him for a few months but this was not unusual – sometimes I wouldn’t hear from him for ages. It occurred to me the other day that I’d not seen him, and sadly, now I know why.

I was touched that his wife got in touch to tell me though. She didn’t have to, and in return I hope I can offer support to her if she needs it, in any way shape or form. God speed friend, God speed.

Goodbye Robin Williams

Robinwilliams

 

I awoke this morning to the shocking and sad news that comedic genius and all-round great actor Robin Williams had passed away. News outlets are reporting that he took his own life after a long battle with depression.

It’s such a shame. Williams was a naturally funny man who gave us the manic and dazzling Genie in Aladdin, the cross-dressing Mrs Doubtfire, and heartfelt performances in films like Patch Adams and What Dreams May Come. He was brilliant in Bicentennial Man and lets not forget Toys, Jumanji and The Birdcage.

I wish his family well, and hope they can somehow come to terms with this terrible loss. Rest in Peace Robin.