Sharing My Holiday Pain

December 19th, 2009 by | Tags:

You may have noticed that 4L has been rather light on content lately. hermanos has been writing for like 50 other sites and Esther, from what I understand, has been taken down by seasonal illness. Me? I just haven’t had the energy due to my job. I’m working Barnes and Noble and we all know how fun retail can be in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

I’ve been through it many a time before and you know I’ll be back to it with the strength of a gorilla. But in the meantime, I want to show you a defining sting of the 2009 holiday season.

There’s a product called Elf on the Shelf. It’s a book that comes with a little sitting elf doll. Last year, the B&N chain completely underestimated how popular it was and the warehouses were sold out immediately. I think we sold a dozen before being tapped dry. This year, they decided to go balls out. They sent us about 180 copies of it and starting in mid-November, we put up three different displays for it throughout the store. The main display is on a table a few feet behind the big Customer Services desk in the center of the store. This area is somewhere most employees have to spend hours around during each shift.

On this table is a big pile of Elf on the Shelf boxes surrounding a DVD-playing monitor that’s been tied down by like 5 locks so nobody runs off with it. In the player is a special DVD lasting a mere 3 and a half minutes. Then it loops. This is what we’ve had to put up with NONSTOP FOR A MONTH!

Jesus Christ. It’s creepy and annoying, but I don’t know which trumps the other. Now imagine having to listen to that day in and day out for a month. It starts with that annoying theme song blaring. Then the generic holiday music is okay to take in. The talking is harsh, but you can filter it into background noise after a while. That is, until the whole thing restarts and the loud jingling bells in the intro song remind you of this hellish DVD!

Just yesterday, we were finally able to shut off the DVD player and put it away for the holidays. Why? Because we finally sold out of this shit! Yes, people actually get this… and they get it a week before Christmas! The whole point of this thing is that you use it for the weeks leading up to Christmas, so what’s the deal here?

One last thing about this abomination: I was looking it up in the store computer one day and I noticed that under the product’s information, it was labeled “Light-Skinned Elf”. Intrigued, I found that yes, we did also carry the “Dark-Skinned Elf”, though in far less quantity. I figured it made enough sense, since it’s little different from there being black Barbies. Then I came across one of them and found that by “Dark-Skinned Elf”, it was just an elf who had spent 3 hours in the sun and came out with a very slight tan. He also has orange pupils, making him even more disturbing than usual.

And that’s the story of how I saved Christmas.

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5 comments to “Sharing My Holiday Pain”

  1. Holy crap, that ad is disturbing. And why would you buy a product that outright TELLS you it’s going to spy on you? (OK, it’s not actually going to do that, but it’s still not an appealing idea: “Hey kids, it’s Santa mini-pervert friend! Yaaaay!”) That’s just weird.

    Also, I need to go hug my shop. The worst thing we had to try to flog to customers this Christmas was a crappy overpriced watch and a book of classic literature redone Twitter style.

  2. ELF ON THE SHELF. I’d just managed for forget about that awful thing. I work in a toy store, and we got a massive shipment of that last year and it all sold like crazy. We had the DVD on endless loop too, although I see that it’s changed a little bit. Last year, there was no opening song — instead, it was just a narrator reading the book. The talking head clips afterwards are still the same, though. Just the sound of that little girl going “I LOVE ELF ON THE SHELF” makes me want to jam a knitting needle into my temple.

    This year we’re not carrying it; instead, we’re carrying something that’s exactly the same, except that it’s not horrifying to look at and doesn’t have a DVD, so it’s amazing.

  3. Saved Christmas? I thought Akuma kicked it’s ass!


  5. I believe the joke Zory is looking for is “Tiny Brother.”