m&s christmas sale

Flickr/Matt Brown, Twitter/RichyCraven Remix by Daily Dot

Thread about teen saving Christmas goes viral and warms our hearts

This is a movie plot.


Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 27, 2020   Updated on Nov 27, 2020, 2:06 pm CST

With the holiday season in full swing, one man took to Twitter to tell a tale of wit and daring about the time he snagged an entire Christmas feast for only 23 euros while working at British department store giant Marks and Spencer (M&S).

The most stressed out I've ever been about Christmas was when I was 16 and I got my first ever job, working at M&S in Dundrum. As soon as I started I kept hearing these myths about the Christmas Eve Waste Sale, where all the food that wasn't sold on the 24th was marked down 90%.

Richy Craven (@RichyCraven) was 16 years old and working his first job with M&S when the rumors first reached him—a Christmas Eve sale just for staff, where everything that hadn’t been sold already went for 10% of the original price.

Understandably, his father wasn’t entirely sold, and they argued back and forth for weeks before they decided to risk it all for the chance at a deeply discounted Christmas feast.

Everyone I worked with kept telling me not to get anything in beforehand because there was so much left that you could get your whole Christmas meal after the shop had shut on the 24th. Dad & I argued for weeks about it. Going back & forward on whether to get a turkey beforehand. Eventually, we decided we were going to risk it. I was working until close on Xmas Eve anyway so my Dad said we might as well give it a go. Before I went into work that day he told me 'Just at least try and get a turkey, no matter what happens'

When the time came, Richy was expecting some kind of Hunger Games-style free for all, where people fought bloodily over a handful of turkeys. Turns out, he was very wrong.

It was the most stressed I've ever been working in retail (which is saying something). I worked in Home & Gifts so every chance I got I would sneak over to Foods and see how busy it was, how many turkeys were left. It was so busy I was convinced that there's be nothing left.
Eventually closing time rolls around and all the staff clock out and wait for the sale to start. Now comes my next heart attack. I thought it was just whoever was working Christmas Eve that was able to go but the entire workforce has trickled in since closing and is waiting. I'm 16 years old and I feel like my family's entire Christmas is riding on me. I swear to myself that, no matter what happens, I'm going to come out of this with at least a turkey. No matter who I have to bludgeon to do it. Even if it means not having a job on the 26th.

There was so much food left on the night of Christmas Eve that everyone could take at least two birds home, as well as all the trimmings. His supervisor even ended up putting more food in his basket before he made it to the counter because otherwise, it would all just go to waste.

The main Foods manager comes out and ceremoniously announces that we can go in and I stick the head down and charge. I don't go quite as far as to trample anyone but I can't say I wouldn't have itf it had come to it. I'm convinced it's going to be an all out brawl and... It's like something out of a Harry Potter Christmas scene or the end of Fantastic Mr. Fox. There is *so* much food left. Everyone there could have taken 2 turkeys and there still would have been some left. This was Christmas 2006 btw. The height of the Celtic tiger.
I start to drift towards the tills and manager asks me what I'm doing. I think I've taken too much, there's some spending limit I haven't heard of. Instead he's asking me why I'm wasting food and throws pork crackling and sticky toffee pudding into my basket.

When his Dad, who, in charmingly old-Dad fashion left his mobile phone at home, saw his son schlepping the pounds of food all the way up to his car, he was horrified. Not knowing quite how cheap everything as he thought his son had gone overboard and spent more than he’d saved. On learning the whole feast cost only 23 euros, however, he changed his tune and turned up the car stereo to blast Bruce Springsteen all the way home to celebrate their victory.

I go to the till, expecting this to be the big reveal where it will actually end up costing me my entire month's pay. It costs 23 euro. Now my only problem is that I have about 16 kg worth of food and I've arranged to meet my dad 2km away because Dundrum parking is extortion There's also no point of ringing him and asking him to come closer because my Dad comes home from work every day and puts his phone in the kitchen drawer & that's where it stays until he leaves for work the next morning. Does this defeat the purpose of a mobile? Yes, yes it does
Anyway. I schlepp this bounty all the way to where we are supposed to meet and I see that he is literally pacing, at 11.00 Pm in December, outside his car. He sees me and he looks like a husband waiting for his wife's operation results. When we went through the shopping bags in the boot of our Corolla I swear I got some inkling of what it must be like to win Wimbledon and then do that thing where you climb the stands to hug your parents.
He was instantly like 'Rich, this is too much. How much did you spend? The whole idea is that this was supposed to cost less!' I showed him the receipt and we ended up driving home blasting Springsteen the whole way.

The best part for Richy was how proud his Dad was of him, hyping him up so much that by the end of dinner he felt like he’d pulled off “some sort of Oceans 11-style long-con.”

Anyways, the food was great and the best thing was thatdad made a big deal about me providing it. Any time someone said they liked something he'd give me an elbow in the ribs. By the end of the dinner you'd have sworn I'd taken the job as some sort of Oceans 11-style long-con

Richy’s story struck a chord with many at the end of this long, miserable year where a lot of people are broker than ever before.

This has broken me, I'm sitting in my car in floods of tears because this Christmas is gonna be, well not Christmas, lost some of the core parts of everything that is Christmas this year and now I can't stop crying. Wonderful story, thank you for sharing. Hope u have a good one
This is the modern “A Christmas Carol” I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR MY WHOLE LIFE. What a great story. Thank you for sharing
Given your eloquence & ability to paint a vivid picture, you're well-equipped to turn this Christmas into something magical, whatever the situation.

Including some other former M&S staff who also shared their wild Christmas Eve stories.

In Body Image
@SingaporeSal 'Years ago at M&S, long before ordering online was around, customers would queue from the early hours for a turkey. As soon as the doors opened it was every man for himself. Staff called it the ‘Turkey Trot’. @mummabish 'A couple of years ago, I was in our local M&S on Christmas Eve, and the queue was forming for half price turkeys. But they weren’t going to reduce any, and had to call the police during the ensuing punch-up!!!!'
@mummabish @singaporesall
I use to work in Marks and the shopping to be done at xmas was legendary, especially when we had bomb scares in Belfast 3 chickens for a pound!!! Steaks for everyone!
@mummabish @singaporesall

It’s clear the real message here is that we all need to be way more afraid of retail workers. After you’ve broken up a fistfight over a half-price turkey on Christmas Eve, there’s probably very little you can’t or won’t do to get what’s yours. On the other hand, if you’re nice to them, maybe they’ll show you where the recently discounted things are stashed.

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*First Published: Nov 27, 2020, 2:05 pm CST