I WORKED in retail for 10 years and let me tell you this: I used to HATE Christmas. As the 25th crept ever closer, each day I’d find myself on my way to work filled with more and more dread. Then I’d sit in my motor outside the shop trying to psychologically prepare myself to face the baying hordes inside.

‘Chris,’ my boss would exclaim as I walked in. ‘You’re late.’

‘I know, am sorry,’ I’d reply.

‘I, eh, slept in.’ Knowing fine well that I was late simply because I was sitting in the cold with my head in my hands for 20 minutes.

Before I’d even have time to take off my jacket, I’d have customers vying for my help. ‘Where’s the Boca Juniors taps?!’ some desperate da would shout at me. Mate, this is a wee sports shop in Easterhouse that barely has any Celtic or Rangers tops left, why would we be selling a team from Argentina’s strip?

Getting grief for something being out of stock was fair enough, I could handle that most of the time – I could offer an apology and try and get the item from another branch or offer an alternative.

But sometimes that just wasn’t enough for some people and it was as if the only thing that would appease them and stop Christmas from being ruined was if I plucked whatever it was they wanted right out of my backside.

It was good at times though, sometimes an old couple would wander into the shop bewildered and as if by mistake. ‘I need something fur ma grandson, pal,’ they’d say. ‘We’ve nae idea wit tae get him.’

This was my time to shine. I’d find out what the wee guy was into and sort him out. New fitbaw boots, a baw and maybe pick him a trackie. Chances are though that the grandweans in question that I’d picked presents for over the years absolutely hated them and blamed their poor grannies and grandas.

Eventually though, after the trials and tribulations of Christmas in retail, five o’clock on Christmas eve would come around. The dust would settle and the doors were locked.

‘Just before yous go,’ my boss would say. ‘We need a few bodies in early on Boxing Day to get the sale ready.’

The tension was palpable. We all looked at each other, wild-eyed. Stricken with panic. No one wanting to do it, no one wanting to be the first to deliver their ridiculous, made-up-on-the-spot excuse. I of course buckled under my boss’s stare and agreed to do it almost every year. Telling myself it was because I wanted the extra money but really it was because I love nothing more than having something to moan about. Honestly, it’s class.

Christmas would be spent with my maw, wee brother, granny and granda.

‘Want another can, son?’ My granda would ask.

‘Naw, I better no,’ I’d say, looking all forlorn and sorry for myself. ‘Working early the morra. It’s shocking, int it?’

‘It is,’ my family would all agree, indulging my moaning.

My pal tweeted the other day saying that going shopping on Boxing Day is, to her, the same as crossing a picket line and makes you, effectively, a scab. And I have no choice but no agree. Why do so many folk do it? Queuing up outside the shops before they open, some people going to Next at 5am, arriving even before the staff. Give yourselves a break, man. You’ve spent the whole month of December trailing around shops, running about daft and spending a fortune only to have one day off then get right back to it. It’s madness.

I thought I’d become a permanent scrooge after my time in retail but since I’ve become self-employed (or simply not having a real job) I’ve started to enjoy it again.

And I can’t think of anything worse than dragging my swollen, hungover self out to the shops on Boxing Day. Out to buy all the stuff that the shops couldn’t shift in the run up to Christmas. All the stuff even the most desperate of shoppers looked at and thought, ‘Naw, I’m no inflicting that upon any of my loved ones,’ only now it’s been reduced by 15% and has become irresistible to those same people.

Take a break from the chaos and stress of shopping next year and stay away from the shopping centres and high streets and retail parks on Boxing Day. Have a lie in, eat hunners of left overs, tear into selection boxes, play with your presents, laze about, change from one set of new jammies into the other and don’t move from the couch – you’ll have a far better time doing that than traipsing about the shops.