Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Tale of Two Santas

So I'm currently slaving away, working for The Man. The Man being Santa, of course. I'm currently running a Santa photography set in a shopping centre in a pretty dodgy town. It's been... interesting, to say the least. Particularly the things I have noticed about those who live in this town:

1. Shoes are optional.

2. Mullets are still cool, and I have a feeling that in this town, they never went out of style.

3. Teeth are a privelege, not a right.

4. Parents wish for their children to be Younike and dif'rent, so their names and spelling variations should be a reflection of this.

I originally applied to the job because I knew that I'd be out of work during Christmas through to February, as the work I've been doing for the past 6 months has been childcare/school related. I figured that at least it would be 6 weeks of fulltime work and I could get a bit of money behind me to not have to worry too much over the school break.

Also, I kind of thought it would be like being in a David Sedaris story.

The ridiculousness of the work is the same, but that's about the only difference.

My main disappointment is that I don't get to dress up as an elf. I wear a T-shirt and black work pants, and the only Christmas-y thing I do is wear Rudolph earrings, and if the shopping centre aircon is working, a Santa hat. So I don't often wear the Santa hat.

Then there's the Big Man himself. Santa. Oh, Santa.

See, the problem is, we have two Santas. One is the most lovely man on the planet. He's 78, he has grandkids and great-grandkids, he buys me milkshakes, he gives me gardening advice, he jokes with kids and makes them comfortable, and he reminds me so much of my granddad. I want to adopt him.

Then, there's Bad Santa. Bad Santa is a DICK. An absolute arsehole. He spends his days whinging about everything from his costume, to his hours, to his boredom, to the uncomfortableness of his chair. He never smiles in photos, which, despite the beard covering half his face, is very noticeable. He doesn't do different poses so I can try and convince the parents to buy the largest pack with all of the photos. He takes long breaks, longer than he's allowed to, and when it's quiet he will just get up and go for a walk without telling me, leaving to me make excuses about reindeer and Mrs. Claus to the kids and their parents. He makes my shifts unbearably long, and I've been so close to just screaming at him, "You know what?? You get paid twice as much as I do and do half as much work, so shut the hell up!"

It's not like someone who dresses up as Santa particularly needs the work - it's seasonal. How have they been living for the past eleven months? It's something you do if you LIKE KIDS and Christmas, and want to make a little extra money this time of year. When there's no kids about, and he hasn't gone walkabout, he spends his time looking at his reflection, whinging about how much better last year's beard was.

The really frustrating thing about all this? There's nothing I can do about it! It's not like I'm his boss - hell, the company I work for aren't even his bosses. He's contracted out by a company that trains Santas for this time of year, and he's contracted out by the shopping centre.

I have four weeks to go. If you see Santa being thrown off a roof, I've finally cracked it and I've done away with him.