Home > Observations about people > The Season of Giving…

The Season of Giving…

January is once again upon us and with it, comes the inevitable giving of calendars.  I am not referring to just any old calendars, of course.  I am talking about a particular event that occurs at my place of work.  Every year around Christmas time we, the front-of-house staff are burdened with the unimpressive task of handing out free, Chinese calendars; an event that, in my observation, causes an extreme outbreak of ‘Freebie Syndrome’ amongst the usually normal(ish) customers.

Freebie Syndrome apparently occurs when an item, (any item) is provided to the general public free of charge.  The known symptoms can include, but are not limited to frothing at the mouth, extreme greed, irrationality, lying, swearing, loss of speech, inability to form full sentences and kleptomania.  The disorder can render a previously normal, fully functioning human into a hysterical, blubbering wreck in severe cases.

Like a bad smell in a warm room, Freebie Syndrome can linger for months after the initial freebie disappears, leaving its sufferers in a state of delirium.  For example, just yesterday I was asked for the billionth time whether we had anymore free calendars to give.  I had to smile as usual, and tell her no – we did not have any more free calendars.  Not the daily kind, not the scroll kind and not the yearly kind – in fact, we had none at all.  This was met with the bizarre response of, “well then, can’t I have that one on the wall?”  Maybe the next time I go to an ATM and it’s ‘out of service,’ I’ll turn to the nearest passerby and ask if I can have their money instead, and see how well that works out for me.

Something about free calendars has the ability to rob certain individuals of their rationality.  They will lie, cheat and deceive their way into obtaining one.  And usually, the temptation gets too much and they will come back for a second, and a third.  I had one customer who collected an impressive arsenal of 7 calendars, because her friend who is ill, her friend who has no transport, her friend who lives at the end of the Earth, her friend who has a broken leg, her friend who doesn’t speak, her friend who has diabetes and her friend who is dead, all asked her to ‘get one for them’.

And perhaps, I wouldn’t find the whole fiasco so distasteful if people could just retain a few shreds of decency when they asked for one.  But in the few short weeks of calendar-giving, you really do get to hear it all.  I have been sworn at, grown men have threatened to cry and people with calendars visibly stuffed up their shirts insisted that they hadn’t got one yet.  Is this normal?  Or just limited to those in our community who have a peculiar penchant for calendars?  Heaven forbid that the free item is something useful like butter or napkins.

I made several New Year’s Resolutions this year; some I’m determined to keep, others…well I am not misguided enough to ignore my limitations.  But one of them is to never have to endure another year of calendar-giving.  And I’m going to stick to that one.

Happy New Year, people.

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  1. January 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    That’s not a calendar in my knickers….I’m just pleased to see you!

  2. haggisthesheep
    January 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Wow, how can I resist reading a blog with such a great title! I look forward to many more witty posts about the strangeness of human nature and the futility of trying to understand life. Being a simple sheep, I am always amazed at the complexity of you humans. It’s all about the food, man, nothing more.
    Stay cool,

    Haggis x

  3. January 12, 2010 at 1:22 am

    You have been awarded a blog award! Come to my blog to accept it!
    http://everythingcherrychan108.blogspot.com/2010/01/haute-mess-award.html

    • January 12, 2010 at 1:31 am

      YAY! Thank you! I will post it up some time tomorrow! 😀

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