The college I attended had a six-week winter break, from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. During my first winter back home I decided to get a job, as my high school friends would only be home for a few days at Thanksgiving and not again until Christmas. There are many places that hire temp workers for the holiday rush, and for reasons that escape me, I decided to throw my lot in with Macy’s.
Macy’s hired seasonal workers at a cattle call. Thirty of us went into some windowless room where they talked at us for a half-hour about what it was like to work at Macy’s. After hearing some HR person blather for awhile about what a floor salesperson’s job entailed, I decided I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. It’s not that I don’t like talking to people, but I just couldn’t see myself giving a shit about selling somebody duvet covers or 80% rayon/20% wool men’s slacks. I don’t even think Macy’s paid commission. I wanted to pass my $8 an hour time as easy as possible, so I opted to work in the gift wrap department.
Before I started I knew nothing about properly wrapping gifts. I’d given out gifts for birthdays and Christmas and Hanukkah like anybody else, but they looked just as bad as anybody else’s, maybe worse. My first two days were spent in the back room of the gift wrap area, wrapping empty boxes with discontinued wrapping paper over and over again, until my wrapping and bow tying was considered acceptable.
As far as low-paid, low-skill jobs went, it was alright. I worked exclusively with women in their 30s and 40s, and they found me amusing. It wasn’t too busy except for Black Friday and the couple of days before Christmas, and after getting my shit wrecked in Introduction to Political Philosophy my first term in college, it was nice to turn my brain off and create something cool with my hands. I learned to wrap cylinders, oblong packages, little jewelry boxes, you name it. When I came home for the summer after my freshman year, I figured I might as well work at Macy’s again.
The worst two days I ever worked at Macy’s were the Saturday and Sunday of Father’s Day weekend that summer. It wasn’t so terrible because it was busy, though it was, but because I saw how horribly uncreative America was, and how much Father’s Day isn’t actually a day to celebrate the father in your life, but a day to check off a box. Streams of mothers, wives, and daughters came into the gift wrap department and had me wrap fucking Tommy Bahama shirts for the fathers in their life. Over 16 hours I probably wrapped 80 overpriced fucking Tommy Bahama shirts.
They seem to be decent quality, which is about the only good thing I can say about them. The father in your life doesn’t want a Tommy Bahama shirt, and if he does, it is your solemn duty to convince him that he doesn’t. For Father’s Day he wants to spend time with you, and maybe go to a sporting event or a backyard BBQ. Sure, he’ll happily accept a gift, but that’s beside the point, and he certainly doesn’t want a $100 shirt that he is never going to wear. If the father in your life has attended double digit Jimmy Buffett concerts, then sure, a Tommy Bahama shirt is appropriate, but not for anybody else. If for some awful reason the father in your life needs a Hawaiian shirt, just send him down to your local thrift store and buy one for $3.
This is where, finally, this blog gets to sports. Check out this Tommy Bahama shirt the Dodgers are giving away: this thing actually looks pretty cool!
Sportswear already look ridiculous—you can’t tell me this is any dumber than some guy wearing an NFL jersey, or a glove—so why not sit in the bleachers on a beautiful 80 degree day and sip a beer while wearing this shirt? After 20 years, Tommy Bahama has finally created a single redeeming item of clothing.
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