That's was the number at the bottom of my cash register tape Saturday night: 209, as in 209 customers served. I can now say I've survived two Christmas Eve's at Wal-Mart, and I'm in no great hurry to do it again.
Saturday, Christmas Eve, was truly horrible. The desperation, the anger, the futility of all these people at having to wait in line at the holidays just boiled over and was like poison.
I had two middle-aged white women start a shouting match over who was in what line. I looked up, asked "Can I help someone?" and one lurches forward. The other snarls, and yes, it was a lupine snarl: "I WAS NEXT." Yowza. And they went at it.
People sent all kinds of money. I had eight MoneyGrams, all of which take time to do and slow the line down more.
People were already returning Christmas present, decorations, candles, etc. "Oh, my mother said she already got one." "He got one at a party Friday." yada yada yada.
I returned more than $4,000 worth of merchandise, and didn't have anything big, like a huge TV or a digital camera. Then again I probably had 150 refunds on the day. And after all that, I was only short one penny.
And the good thing is - I don't have to work Monday, the "I'm going to return everything" day!