Santa vs. Santa

By Megan Robb

I’ve mentioned before how holiday shopping brings out the craziness in people, but there’s one story I’ve been saving until now. And that is the tale of two Santas.

I was a cashier at a department store in the mall. All right, it was Sears. It’s on my resume anyway, so it’s already lurking around the Internet. Besides, the fact that it was Sears and not Nordstrom or even Macy’s makes it funnier, in my opinion. Anyway, I was working in the “home fashions” cash wrap among the soon-to-be dusty popcorn tins and snowman-themed toilet paper covers when two Santas came to my register.

Sears is close to where you can get your picture taken with Santa, so they probably worked there and were probably on lunch break. That’s the only reason I can think of for why they were still wearing their beards and hats. I couldn’t see their faces. One of the Santas must have really loved his job, because he stayed in character during the entire transaction. I think he thought he was acting cute, but I refused to acknowledge his act.

I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

Then I asked him if he wanted a gift receipt.

“I don’t need a gift receipt!” he said. “I’m Santa!”

“I wasn’t sure,” I said, “seeing as he’s Santa too.” I nodded toward his cohort.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s a good thing you don’t have a gun!”

That’s when I cracked up. I couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah, it is,” I said. Yet it seemed appropriate to change the subject. “Do you want a bag?”

“Sure! Or maybe a sack?”

I handed him the sack and that was that. The talkative Santa, the silent Santa, and I exchanged Christmas greetings and they left. For the rest of the day I wondered if I ever did have to put a bullet into the Jolly Old  Elf, how would I know which was the real one? It’s cheating to say, “Well, you wouldn’t have to shoot anyone, because there is no Santa.”

That’s not how this dark version of Miracle on 34th Street works. I have to shoot someone. If no one is the “real” Santa, then anyone on planet could be shot. And that’s not very merry. So the question remains. I still can’t answer it, but at least the sheer ridiculousness of my encounter with the Santas gave me some Christmas cheer that day.

Holiday shopping brings out the craziness in people, but in its own twisted way, it brings out the good in them, too.

 Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at,, and, as well as her personal website,