I’m well aware of the fact that we’ve not had much good news stories of late, what with the weather, a seemingly steady stream of job cuts, the rollout of Universal Credit, bank closures and other things that could turn the smile of even the happiest of people.
But when did people get so angry and aggressive at this time of year?
The reason I ask this because I was taken aback at the sheer nastiness of one shopper in particular this week in the Kirkcaldy branch of Toys R Us.
You know the shop, the one which has been earmarked for the axe and will see its workforce facing the prospect of having to find a new job in the New Year.
Well, just 24 hours after that announcement was made, I was in there trying to finish off the Christmas shopping – aye right – only to hear a woman, who was clearly perturbed about something or other, verbally abuse a member of staff and come up with the vicious riposte: “No wonder your shop’s shutting.”
Thankfully, other customers challenged the woman there and then and kindly pointed out that the staff had just been told they’ll be out of work only weeks before Christmas – prompting the villain of the piece to slink off into the night.
But the whole thing left me wondering, firstly why anyone would do such a cruel thing regardless of the customer service they had, and secondly about others who will face similar types of abuse over the festive season.
I know people have their own, often stressful, situations, and can especially get wound up at this time of year.
But this is supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men and women.
It won’t just be shop assistants on the receiving end, and we’ll inevitably hear the shocking stories of train ticket collectors, police officers, emergency service personnel and healthcare workers among those verbally and physically abused while just trying to do their job.
Then there’s what goes on behind closed doors.
No matter what the cause or the catalyst, there’s never any excuse for that sort of behaviour.
So like the right-minded shoppers in Toys R Us this week, I hope everyone adopts a zero tolerance attitude to it.