In case you didn’t notice, it’s Christmas


  • Lucian Milasan / Shutterstock
Halloween candy is on clearance, incomprehensible turkey and ham promotions are posted, and a heavy aroma of cinnamon-pine is wafting through the store. It’s time for the holidays.

You’re preaching to the choir; I know it’s too early to think about Christmas, Hanukkah doesn’t start for another month and a half, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and it was damn-near 70 degrees yesterday, but none of that matters.

The retail industry decides when the holidays start. And it’s always early.

It’s certainly not because we employees enjoy this time of year — there is absolutely nothing worse than the holiday season in the eyes of any sensibly minded grocery worker. We’ve been brutally stripped of our holiday spirit.

After the Scary Sour Patch Kids and Goolish Grapes are emptied from the shelves, we have nothing but January 2 to look forward to, and spend what little time we have building our mental preparedness as we toil with tinsel and glittered decorations. You’re never really prepared, though.

The coming of the first poinsettia pallets and Christmas-colored Hershey Kiss displays mark the beginning of the suffering season for grocery workers far and wide. “Joy” and “cheer” are systematically distributed in the form of ornament-shaped cookie cutters and “gift card trees” throughout the store, while stacks of dried orange peel, citron and green cherries are built for the one person who actually makes fruitcake. The most tedious, meaningless, backbreaking and downright asinine seasonal jobs will be delegated through the store ranks, and that’s all before Thanksgiving.

At midnight, Thanksgiving morning, the full-on holiday assault begins.

An almost inaudible blip interrupts the store’s usual Matchbox 20-esq soundtrack and jingling bells from off in the distance begin to dance closer through the overhead speakers. Christmas carols put the final nail in the coffin of any holiday cheer we have left. I mean, really, how many variations of Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer do we need?

In the weeks to come you may notice fewer smiles on the faces of your local grocery clerks, it’s perfectly normal. Only those still wet behind the ears or with some kind of emotional force field can withstand the seasonal salvo of the modern retail holidays. Santa’s little helpers don’t know the struggle.

— Thanks for shopping with us.

The man behind the apron is Craig Lemley, digital content coordinator here at the Indy. The Colorado Springs native spent nearly a decade working in grocery stores across the Pikes Peak region before retiring his produce knife for a surprisingly less-stressful media career. Follow him on twitter (@_CraigLemley) or send questions/comments to

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