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The Wrapper

by Jubbly 

Posted: 24 December 2004
Word Count: 405
Summary: A Christmas flash - also another in the Heather Haliday series.

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The Wrapper

It’s very unusual to get cash in hand job these days but Heather had one. She worked in a large shopping arcade as a seasonal gift wrapper; there was really no call for her expertise any other time of the year but Christmas. There she stood day in day out at her little makeshift booth right outside Sock Shop and opposite Doodles Donuts – more than a hole in the middle.

Her feet ached and her calf muscles throbbed, but still she wrapped.
“Any colour preference for the ribbon Madam? Silver with snowflakes or the gold with bells Sir?

Her shift began at nine and finished at six, sometimes she did a double leaving for home at ten, after all £5.75 an hour was not to be sniffed at.

There were several booths dotted around the arcade, all far enough apart to keep each wrapper permanently at the ready with cello tape and scissors.

The wrappers were mostly school leavers or grannies, Heather was the exception. She wasn’t really a people person but even she noticed there were many different types of shoppers.

Happy, gregarious people who loved Christmas and all it stood for, they were few and far between. Stressed parents who wished there really was a Santa Claus so they could dispense with the responsibility and save a fortune in the process. Old ladies spending their pensions on goods their relatives would never need nor want. Secret lovers with a twinkle in their eye and expensive jewellery as their offering. Rude customers who wouldn’t look her in the eye and ignored her helpful requests while chatting away constantly on their mobile phones.

That’s when it began, what Heather refers to as her ‘Christmas Swapping’. After the customer had left their goods in her care saying they’d be back in an hour or so, Heather would get creative. They needn’t necessarily have offended her; sometimes it was just pure devilment on her part.

Digital cameras in boxes were exchanged for scented bath salts just the right size. Computer games became recipe books and sexy gossamer stockings - gardening gloves.
Oh what a surprise they’d all get come Christmas morning and what a terrible fuss there would be on Boxing Day when they came back to the store fuming and flustered, clutching receipts and demanding an explanation
But Heather would be long gone, after all a Christmas job – is just for Christmas

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 08:31 on 24 December 2004  Report this post
Oooh how mean! As someone who has just this morning received some essential presents ordered by internet, I don't feel very well disposed towards Heather's 'joke'!!

That aside, I love the echange ideas.

She wasn’t really a people person but even she noticed there were many different types of shoppers. = this line felt a bit like exposition. I think you could re-word it - something like 'She noticed all the... and then launch into your list (which I enjoyed too)

Great seasonal piece of flash, Julie and I wish you all the best.


anisoara at 09:39 on 24 December 2004  Report this post
I love this, Jubbly!!! What a great Christmas Eve chuckle this has given me!

I didn't know about your Heather Haliday series. So there are more of these gems????

Wishing you a happy holiday!


SamMorris at 11:09 on 24 December 2004  Report this post
What a great idea for a flash. On the one hand a very mean thing to do, but on the other very generous. Depending on whether the person has benefited or not, either way - definitely very mischievous. Very enjoyable and festive too.

After reading this I remain ever hopeful that Auntie whatsherface might surprise me with something special this Christmas. I'm running out of shelf space for Avon's finest fragrances (how ungrateful - I know)!

Quick potential typo, is there an 'a' missing in the first sentence (a cash in hand, or perhaps plural for job(s))?

Happy Christmas


bjlangley at 14:10 on 24 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie, I really enjoyed this. I could see the tears on Christmas day this would cause. Very mean, and the last line is fantastic.

All the best,


crowspark at 15:43 on 24 December 2004  Report this post
Christmas hell with a punchline. I like it.
I wanted to know more about Heather, wanted to feel her anger and frustration. Having said that, a great flash.

Merry Christmas

Jubbly at 17:02 on 24 December 2004  Report this post
Thanks everyone for commenting on this one. I thought it up the other night from beginning to end, it was so clear that I didn't bother writing it down, thought I'd wait til the morning and what do you know I completely forgot it. I only remembered yesterday when I was wrapping up pressies. Anisoara, Heather appears in another flash called Heather's Hobby, so the series as such, is just the two but I think I'm going to come up with a few more. Psst, Heather is my alta ego. Have a great festive time everyone.


Bianca at 15:57 on 27 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Jubbly

Bit late I know (been tied up for a couple of months) but this gave me a giggle. Having worked in retail, I can sympathise with Heather and wish I had been as brave.

The last line used in this context, is brilliant.


me at 02:08 on 28 December 2004  Report this post

An interesting piece of devilment. Made me chuckle. Bringing light to an otherwise dull experience... albeit only her own. Very nice


Prospero at 10:19 on 19 October 2007  Report this post
Hi Jubbly

Picked this up from the Random Read. Loved it. You ought to offer this to a magazine as a Stocking Filler.



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