December 12, 2013

I was a casualty in the War on Christmas.

'Twas last night at the checkout counter at Whole Foods. As is our wont — or Meade's wont, anyway — we'd brought back Whole Foods shopping bags for refilling. One of the bags — probably reused 3 or 4 times — a handle had torn lose.

I said, "Foiled in our effort at recycling." Then — because I'm always looking for the positive side of things and noticing the red-and-green image of a string of Christmas lights on the new bag — "At least the new one is a Christmas bag."

The cashier said: "Holiday bag."

63 comments:

Charlie said...

Has Bill O'Reilly been notified?

Michael said...

Nope. Smile. Christmas Bag.

surfed said...

And an overpriced one at that.

SGT Ted said...

The cashier said: "Holiday bag."

Jesus, they just can't let go of their "We can't call it Christmas during Christmas time" PC bullshit for one second to please a customer, can they?

I hate PC bullshit so much.

Merry Christmas.

tim in vermont said...

I have a new word for those fight the good Christmas fight: neo-antidisestablishmentarianists.

lge said...

And the cashier had to CORRECT you. They couldn't let your "incorrect" designation go unchallenged.

Fanatics never rest.

Lonetown said...

I believe its called "planned obsolescence".

Hal Duston said...

I would have responded, "Oh! Where can I get a Christmas bag?"

JRoberts said...

"The customer is always right"

Unless you're a upper middle class liberal who receives pleasure at being abused during their overpriced shopping "experience"

Gahrie said...

1) What the hell did you expect at whole foods...especially one in Madison Wisconsin?

2)How long until the Progressives demand we change the name of our holidays, days of the week and months to remove religious terms? It worked out so well for the French when they did it....

DanTheMan said...

I would have replied:
"Holy days??? That's offensive! Clearly you mean 'Seasonal' bag!"

Marshal said...

I find it interesting as an example of how PC controls minds. Why would a retail employee correct and possibly insult a customer over such semantics?
I'm currently teaching my seven year-old it's rude to correct trivialities or estimates since they are't wrong, it's simply not worth the effort to get exact. I think this a generally understood social convention, especially reinforced in customer service.

So it must have been important enough to the cashier to speak against her interest, but why would that be so? Certainly the employer wouldn't desire the employee to do so, so she's acting against interest to further...what exactly?

tim in vermont said...

I think the most egregious example of liberal intolerance towards Christianity I have personally encountered was when I was hosting a party and playing Pandora and a gospel song by Aretha Franklin came up and I got a complaint for playing religious music. That was a little much, even for Vermont.

Rusty said...

A Festevus for the rest of us!
Should have challenged her to "feats of strength"
Hell. Even the Muslim checkout lady at Target wishes me a Merry Christmas,
I wish her a happy Ramadan.
Whenever the hell that is.

traditionalguy said...

But Holy-days communicates reverence and worship... just not to Jesus.

fivewheels said...

Ahem. I believe you'll find that those were Winter Solstice lights on that bag. You monster.

Broomhandle said...

What a douche. And a perfect two word encapsulation of the creepy little facist hearts of the Left.

EDH said...

In reply, you should have said "Happy Circumcision".

The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ is a Christian celebration of the circumcision of Jesus in accordance with Jewish tradition, eight days (according to the Semitic and southern European calculation of intervals of days) after his birth, the occasion on which the child was formally given his name.

Freeman Hunt said...

"A holiday bag with red and green lights on it, eh? So you put up red and green lights for the Fourth and Halloween too, I suppose."

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DanTheMan said...

FH,
At Whole Foods, I suspect they break out the black crepe, armbands, and sackcloth on the th of July.
But they will still sell you a $35 organically grown watermelon. Or would that be racist?
So hard to keep up these days...

Matthew Sablan said...

"Christmas is a holiday."

You should try calling it an Advent bag. Or is Advent over?

jacksonjay said...


And Professor Never at a loss for Words said: ?????????

RoBanJo said...

I believe it was Dennis Prager that suggested the appropriate response would have been to say, "Oh, what holiday is that?"

Big Mike said...

Try the following:

"Please advise your manager that I'll come back to shop here when bags with Christmas lights on it is known as a Christmas bag."

Better yet, locate the manager and advise her or him yourself.

exhelodrvr1 said...

At least the cashier didn't kiss your hand.

Ann Althouse said...

It's possible that she meant to suggest a little sarcasm in that I have to call it a holiday bag.

Remember I had just acted like I cared a lot about environmentalism, so she might have astutely pegged me as overly politically correct and might have believed that she needed to pass a correctness test and that when the customer says "Christmas" the employee responds saying something with "holiday."

Marc said...

I realise you ended the post where you did purposefully. But did you respond to the clerk?

jacksonjay said...


What made the bag a Christmas bag?

Big Mike said...

... when a bag with Christmas lights on it ...

I'll get the hang of this here English language one of these days.

Original Mike said...

Might have been a reflexive response.

BTW, when did Blogger start autocorrecting spelling and, more importantly, how do I turn it off?

rehajm said...

It's possible that she meant to suggest a little sarcasm in that I have to call it a holiday bag.

I'm going with this. Whole Food's John Mackey was very vocal in his objection to Obamacare, comparing it to Fascism, so I can't imagine a fascist would want to work there, unless said fascist needs a cheap, high deductible health insurance plan, which they'll likely lose next year when Whole Foods cuts back their hours or kicks them into the exchange.

Happy Holiday

mccullough said...

Correcting the customers is poor etiquette. One thing to avoid saying Merry Christmas another to tell a customer not to do it.

SJ said...

@Gahrie,

I wonder when the English-speaking world will stop using days of the week which venerate the old pagan deities Tiw, Woden, Thor, and Frei.

Or the day venerating old Saturn of the Romans.

Not to mention the months named after Janus (deity of doors), Maia (deity of growth), and Juno (wife of Jove). Or the Caesars Julius/Augustus.

There are lots of old religious references in calendars which survived the rise of Christendom in Europe.

Delayna said...

Matthew: Advent runs through the Sunday before Christmas. At least that's what I remember without making an involved search. (It begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas.)


I just smile and wish them Merry Christmas--being a devout neoantidisestablishmentarianist! :-)

tim maguire said...

Which holiday?

Years ago, I had to go to the clerk's office in New York County in mid-December to pick up some records. The glass in front of the clerks' windows was covered in various greetings: Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings. They were all there.

Well, almost all.

PeterK said...

The cashier said: "Holiday bag."

to which you could have said Oh! I was looking for a Christmas bag, where are they located?

or "oh! what holiday does this back celebrate then?"

well it was Whole Foods what else did you expect?

then watch the consternation on their faces. during this time of the I say to all retail clerks
"Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas."

Brando said...

The correct answer is "who cares"? The cashier shouldn't have corrected you, nor should anyone make a stink about someone saying "holiday" instead of "Christmas". It's sad that a seasonal pleasantry can't be accepted for what it is--a pleasantry--and appreciated for what it's worth. But between oversensitive Christians and oversensitive seculars, they've taken the Christmas/Holiday spirit and twisted it to support their own sense of righteous victimhood.

Rusty said...

Organic doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you, Althouse.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

The cashier said: "Holiday bag."

I hope you reported this microagression to the manager.

Ann Althouse said...

"And Professor Never at a loss for Words said: ?????????"

After I was in the car, I said: "I was a victim of the War on Christmas" and made a mental note to blog about it.

I remembered my mental note when I read Instapundit this morning referring to the "littlest casualty of the War on Men."

Ann Althouse said...

Sassing the cashier over that isn't something I'd do. These cashiers are unfailingly nice to everyone, following a well-enforced company policy. They do a great job, and I can't understand wanting to do anything that might hurt their feelings or make their job more stressful. I actually am more concerned that Whole Foods might monitor commentary about the company on the web and connect this blog post to the particular cashier, who did absolutely nothing wrong. I would be very upset if that happened. In fact, my name is not on that transaction, so it would take some effort to connect it to me. Maybe there is a surveillance film showing the business with the bag with the broken handle….

Diamondhead said...

Without actually hearing the tone of voice, I would guess that the cashier was poking fun at the strange requirements of political correctness.

gerry said...

Your re-usable bag may be killing you.

n.n said...

America is still a Christian nation, barely. When in America, do as the Americans do. If Christians want to keep it, then they should reject the diversity arguments, which are an effort to marginalize the American character.

Sam L. said...

OOOOOOOHHHHH! A microagression! In the wild!

mrs. e said...

Sounds like the cashier is also a victim.

Smilin' Jack said...

These cashiers are unfailingly nice to everyone, following a well-enforced company policy.

And of course part of that company policy is not to use the word "Christmas," or tolerate those who do. Cashiers who do not comply with that policy are sent to a WF re-education camp. For 10-15 years.

natatomic said...

I'm confused. There isn't some other holiday associated with the colors red and green, is there? If it was a blue bag with a menorah on it, I wouldn't think it some generic "holiday" bag. When will this madness end?

natatomic said...

I'm confused. There isn't some other holiday associated with the colors red and green, is there? If it was a blue bag with a menorah on it, I wouldn't think it some generic "holiday" bag. When will this madness end?

Marc said...

What Diamondhead said-- Even here in the People's Republic of Eugene, most everyone will respond to my 'Merry Christmas' with 'thanks' or 'you too', even at the public school where I work. One or two a season will insist on whatever their version of the correct phrase is.

Eugene doesn't have a WF because the local grocery stores and their friends and customers were able to persuade the city not to grant the tax breaks WF 'needed' to move into the downtown area. I think I have that story right, more or less.

David said...

"Holiday bag."

"Fuck you."

Sorun said...

I'll call it a Kwanzaa bag and see if I get corrected.

Paul Fraker said...

This reminds me of a Christmas day broadcast of the PBS News Hour mid-90's when Jim Lehrer opened the show by saying "Happy Holiday".

MadisonMan said...

Your re-usable bag may be killing you.

Correlation is not causation.

Birches said...

Never correct a customer over word choice.

I had my own experience with "War on Christmas" this week. Over Thanksgiving, Sesame Street aired their Hanukkah episode. I let me kids watch as normal. I listened a little more than I normally would while I was cleaning up breakfast because I was interested in what they would say. I was a little surprised because they told the story of Judah Maccabeus and talked about how important the Temple was to the Jewish people. I liked it. Thought it was great.

This week, Sesame Street did a Christmas episode. I paid close attention because of how detailed the Hanukkah episode was. They did call the holiday Christmas, I'll give them that. But it was all Santa Claus and ho ho ho. No segment on why we celebrate Christmas. We're living in an increasingly secular society. It would be nice to just educate children raised without any religion (or those who are non-Christian) about why Christmas is celebrated. I did not feel affronted by "Jewish brainwashing" during the Hanukkah program. In fact, I thought it was a great educational opportunity. Why deny that for Christmas?

ken in sc said...

Before I saw Ann's comment about the clerk's possible sarcasm, I was going to comment pretty much that. I think the clerk may resent having to call them Holiday bags, and used that way of expressing her resentment, communicating in a more human way than just as clerk and customer.

Moderation in all things.

PianoLessons said...

Anne - I love that you are second guessing the way others gauge or judge our "appropriate" levels of PC language.

t's possible that she meant to suggest a little sarcasm in that I have to call it a holiday bag.

Remember I had just acted like I cared a lot about environmentalism, so she might have astutely pegged me as overly politically correct and might have believed that she needed to pass a correctness test and that when the customer says "Christmas" the employee responds saying something with "holiday."

Orwell - and I - would have bellied up and said "No - Christmas bag for cry eye"

You doubt it all Ann - and so caught in the "in between" land of PC Academia and the freaking real world.

Larry Nelson said...

I'm not religious, and it was never a big deal for me until the PC busybodies couldn't control their impulses.
Now it is always a heartfelt and emphatic:
Merry Christmas!

amielalune said...

My problem has always been with the hypocrisy of the retailers. Although I'm not surprised by it, I won't patronize a store that heavily advertises "holiday" sales when the only reason so many people are shopping is CHRISTMAS. Especially in years, like now, when Hanukkah is nowhere near the Christmas season (not that Hannukkah gifts represent a large percentage of December spending at any time).

They want our money without having to acknowledge our existence. That is discrimination, and they won't get any of my money.

jaed said...

If I had gotten here earlier, I would have requested that Althouse relate l'affaire bag to the earlier incident at (some Madison food co-op?) where she tried to unfold a bag sitting on the checkout counter to hold her ice cream, and was sniffily told that that's the compost bag.

("Of course the co-op has bags of slime at the register! Where were you raised?")

salvage said...

Yes.

That happened.

At any rate it's truly bizarre that you or anyone thinks that someone saying "holiday" rather than "Christmas" makes a difference to anyone.

I suspect the actual issue is y'all like to feel persecuted for some twisted reason and need to find something to whine about.

Or perhaps you think your god weeps when its fictionalized birthday is marginalized.