Corporate capitalism creates crappy Christmas

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Why I dread the holiday season

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Columnist

It’s well-known that retailers are quite busy during November and December. It is by far their busiest and most profitable time of year, and many long-term strategies rely on the winter windfall. Any sort of service business is incredibly busy during the holiday season, and it is the workers who suffer the most from it.

The holidays are universally dreaded among service workers. It’s not just that they will be working more, it’s that the work that they’re doing is significantly more stressful. This time of year means a lot more stock, customers, hours, and pressure. Service work is by nature exhausting, and it is even more tense and detrimental during these months. It is an extremely difficult time for millions of people.

Retail workers receive almost no compensation or extra thanks for the hard work of the season. They may get a gift card and/or holiday party from the company… but they will almost certainly not receive any extra pay. Retail wages are incredibly low, and most workers of that level do not receive benefits to begin with. It’s frustrating when your work becomes even harder without any incentive. They also lose out on doing many holiday things because of work. They will be working as much as possible, and will most likely have to work many days that people in other industries have off.

It’s not just the workers who suffer during the holiday season. The rampant consumerism gets all the shoppers, too. How much money is spent on decorations each year for seasonal merchandise that will be thrown out at the end of the month? How much extra do we spend on food and candy because of all the special holiday options? Perhaps most significantly, how much do we hand over for gifts every year, just because we’re expected to? The financial impact of the holidays affects almost everyone, and it’s specifically due to how much the season is capitalized on by businesses. Consumers are targeted to spend as much as possible by corporations through strategies organized months in advance. They know the pressure to spend money is on, and they’re here to get as much of it as possible.

Christmas and other winter holidays have a lot of significant meaning. For many, that meaning is spiritual, and it is universally regarded as a joyous celebration. What is meant to be a positive and wonderful time for many is turned into a season of dread and misery for so many people.

Worrying about a budget in December is not in the spirit of giving. Paying off Christmas debt months later is not a way to celebrate the holidays. The holidays are big business, and it’s wrong that consumerism has completely dominated this time of year.

 

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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