When I was in college, I spent the Christmas holiday working at FAO Schwarz toystore in Dallas. It was the worst job I have ever had. My training consisted of telling me I had to purchase FAO Schwarz brand t-shirts and sweatshirts to wear to work. Then, they sent me out on the floor. That's it. Each day, I would arrive and would be placed in a certain area of the store. I dreaded being put in the Barbie store. That was truly horrible. This was the year they came out with "Happy to Be Me" Barbie and people would come in asking to see "Fat Barbie." One day, they put me in the collectible doll section. People came in with perfectly reasonable questions about Madame Alexander dolls and other collectible toys that I couldn't answer because I had no training and no one to ask. In a mall where people are used to superior customer service, this type of store was destined to fail. And it did.
The worst part was that management insinuated that holiday staff would be needed after Christmas. Then, on Christmas Eve, they called people in individually and let them go. For some reason, they kept me on until I went back to school. But I remember how crushed people were to be fired on Christmas Eve.
The reason I'm thinking about all of this is because of the horrible Omaha mall tragedy. Evidently, the shooter was fired and lost his girlfriend in rapid succession. And, of course, the holidays can be hard enough on people. I don't think we'll ever be able to really understand what goes through the mind of someone like that. And I can't imagine what the families of the shooter and victims must be going through. It is so tragic and they will all be in my thoughts and prayers.