It’s Christmastime at Schlaples, Or: Are They Playing “Home for the Holidays” Ironically?

There are many things about my new position as a Schlaples tech associate that I resent. There’s the fact that, having been hired at the start of the season and as a probationary employee, my holiday work schedule resembles the sadistic scribblings of a deranged HR employee named Mr. Grinch. Or the fact that my status as a tech carries with it not a higher salary, but instead a weeks-long intensive training schedule. Or that this training is not done face-to-face with another human being, or even by being thrust headlong into the daily workings of the store, but by sitting in front of a computer for five or six hours at a time and trudging through endless online “certification” courses. Or that these courses have never seen the righteous pen of a copyeditor, and therefore before the end of my training I fully expect to be found lunging at the screen in a fit of proofreader’s anxiety, red Sharpie murderously in hand (Seriously, it’s downright cruel. There’s a vein in my eyeball that bulges when I read the demand to “Hold you mouse over the an image*). Or that my uniform shirts are the dorkiest things I have ever worn — and for the duration of fifth grade I willingly donned an ankle-length denim skirt that buttoned down the front. Or that the same fifty or so holiday songs are piped into the store in a cruel loop, and that most of these songs are “remixes” of classics — at one point, for example, I heard the beginning of “Happy Holidays” from Holiday Inn and, for the first ten seconds, thought to myself “Wow, this sounds like the original! I love this movie. This almost makes me feel like not committing hara-kiri with this cordless telephone! Merry Christmas, everyone!” And then in swept the overlaid beatboxing, as hip as acid-washed overalls, and my last wincing ounce of holiday spirit slunk out of the store.

As many things as there are to complain about, though, there is one thing that I can appreciate. Almost everyone I have met so far is kind and outgoing and energetic, and I’ve already met one person who still has a dream (that doesn’t involve working for Schlaples). Many of the employees are passionate about their work, and losing their holiday to a major retailer is just a sad fact of life. At least I find myself reassured that if I am to be held hostage this holiday season, I am in good company.

*This is not an exact quote, but a very close approximation of a commonly used sentence in a training module, and very representative of the state of Schlaples’ training courses overall. They read as though they were written by particularly demanding and moderately tech-savvy two-year-olds.

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