McDonald’s always had the proud boast that the only day of the year they were closed was Christmas Day. For some of us who worked there, that was probably a good thing. Some of us – and I include myself in this – were openly of the view that the place should open on December 25th and that we wouldn’t mind working, if only to have burgers and milkshakes for Christmas dinner.
None of which is a slight upon our respective families. If anything, it is a sign of an appalling addiction to cheeseburgers.
No matter what our wishes were, the store – or ‘restaurant’, as they rather optimistically called it – closed on Christmas Eve. More surprisingly, it closed early, at 7pm, to enable the staff to spend the evening with their families.
Or that was the theory, at least. It would be an odd sort of day to work, at times crazily busy, at times deathly quiet, as the good people of Leamington apparently tried to pack the entirety of their Christmas shopping into a couple of hours (no internet in those days, remember). At the end, there would be a mad session of rushing around to try and clean up. Four or five people would be scheduled to work an extra hour to do this. In practice, there was something of an unwritten rule that if you were still in the building at 7pm you stayed to help out. For one thing, you pretty much needed one person stood by the door to turn away people who misguidedly thought that the Christmas spirit would cause you to open up again just for them.
Once everything was clean and tidy a hardcore of workers would go out drinking. I never joined them. I liked the evening of Christmas Eve at home too much – there was family, warmth, alcohol and far fewer people. What more did I need?