As occasions for gift-giving draw nigh, it’s common to experience stress. All the running around, the crowded stores, the maddening search for the ideal present — thoughtful and appropriately priced. Now, ask yourself who is sacrificing their last few seasonal shopping days to help you along in that odyssey. Retail workers! The lovely, patient folks who make the consumer economy something much nicer than blankly ordering crap off a website. For many, this is the hardest stretch of the job all year. Think of it: All the same holiday pressures you’re dealing with, plus they can’t just coast to the new year like lazy office drones. They’re in the heat of battle, dealing with every complicated return, each loud request to speak to the manager. It’s intense.
So do them an easy favor. Grow the fuck up and wrap that gift yourself.
I’ve heard the excuses. “But they offered! There’s a whole station set up for wrapping! This is part of the gig!” Okay, bitch, do you enjoy all the extra little duties you take on at work to make people happy? The ones that make you go, Jeez, this isn’t really my problem, but I guess if I don’t do it, no one will? Because that’s what wrapping is for the overstretched salesperson who found you the right book, the good pants, whatever. “Uh, can you wrap it?” you ask, like a little baby. Should you have hands, and no serious phobia of scissors, and it’s a gift you are giving, then you wrap it. Wrapping is a deep annoyance for them, and a small responsibility for you.
And look, forgive me, I’m gonna get misandrist now: The offloading of gift-wrapping labor is often a gendered process. You’ll see a guy buying a present and requesting that the woman at the register also make it pretty, with a bow, thus relieving him of any effort additional to spending money. He’ll watch the woman do this well, and briskly, and he’ll say, “Buhh, I wouldn’t know how to do that.” I assure you he has never tried. Nor has he thought of searching how-to videos on YouTube, as he does for literally every other task in his life. Why bother? The cute girl at the store can take care of this for him, for free, and she doesn’t even mind! What an awesome deal.
Go ahead and flirt a bit, too, while she’s wrapping that perfume for your fiancée.
Enough. This barbaric practice must end. I’ll give you a secret I learned from my mom, since some will continue to insist that cutting, folding and taping is an unattainable talent: Buy a bunch of gift bags. Put the gifts in the bags. Put tissue paper in the bags, covering the gifts. Bravo, you’re Martha Stewart, and you didn’t have to measure out an appropriate square of Santa-patterned paper.
Not to be all reason-for-the-season here, but a present that you wrapped sloppily is better than one a retail worker was semi-coerced to wrap at the exact moment they were juggling 10 more important things. You’ve imbued it with a special touch beyond the transactional. You have marked a loving, personal intent. When you lose that, you’re left with an emptier ritual.
I’m telling you, wrap the damn gift. It shows you care. Don’t you care?!?!
Fine, all right, I’ve said my piece. I can’t make you change your habits, though I heavily recommend you give service people a break in this regard. You can and will be judged for passing the buck on wrapping gifts. Yeah, whoever’s behind the counter might hand you the finished product with a smile. They’ll just slightly hate you as well.
Figure it out, shithead.