Slow down a bit today

Published 9:04 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

Unless you’re extremely lucky or remarkably well organized, there’s a good chance you’ll be out on the road today — maybe on your way to or from the grocery store or a convenience store for some last-minute ingredients for Christmas dinner or a carton of eggnog to help you through a long night of wrapping presents.

If you’re a procrastinator, you might even be headed out to buy some or (heaven help you) all of the presents on your Christmas list.

The streets and parking lots of downtown Suffolk were full of near-last-minute shoppers on Monday, and merchants have been reporting a busy season that has suddenly moved into overdrive. That’s great news for retailers and for Suffolk in general.

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But the rush of last-minute Christmas shoppers also has its drawbacks for retailers, and one of those drawbacks is the frustration of serving folks who are short-tempered and hurried as they rush to try to get their errands done and their lists completed. It’s often said that retail workers have some of the hardest jobs, because they’re required to be polite and helpful, even when the folks they’re serving are surly and rude. The Christmas rush just makes a hard job even harder.

When you’re out today, try to remember that the folks working in those stores probably have things left to do on their lists, too, and whatever work shift they’re on will likely make it much harder for them to finish everything they’ve got to do. Take a moment to wish them a Merry Christmas — or, if you’re so inclined, a Happy Holiday — and thank them for helping you and give them a smile.

And while you’re on the road, be careful and take your time getting to your destination. Slow down a bit, and avoid the temptation to let your attention wander from your driving. Far better to skip the eggnog entirely than to wind up in the hospital — or worse — because your holiday distractions caused you to wind up in a wreck.