'Tis The Season To Be Grumpy
Well folks, Christmas is upon us with Black Friday just four days away. As any normal human being knows, it's the time of year when all shopping etiquette is thrown out the window and replaced with plain old survival of the fittest. Can't beat those crazy early openings, Christmas bargains, door prizes, ect. Now, I could go on and on for hours trying to figure out just why we do this to ourselves. But I won't, because this post has an all together different point to be made. Nothing a silly little, obscure blogger such as myself is going to say will change this decades old tradition of half killing yourself and others during Christmas shopping. I merely to wish to remind the general populous of one thing: you might feel alright with being a little crazy and or picky about your shopping because it's just this one time. But remember, those employed this Christmas season have to deal with you plus hundreds of other people just like, or worse, than you. Probably worse. There's not really a limit on how bad people can and will be. All of this during one shift.
Is it not true that every year people will try to think of a special way to spread the Christmas cheer? Well, here is my way. If you happen to read this, dear shopper, please keep these few points in mind as you make your way through the jolly masses this next month:
1) If you have something specific you are looking for, please, try to find it yourself before you ask an employee to help you. We are very busy juggling various tasks for various customers all while trying to keep our repsective stores clean and organized. Nothing is more annoying then watching someone walk straight in, not stopping once to look around, and use the words "Could you help me find..." when you know that they don't really want help. They clearly just want you to find it for them. We know that you're in a hurry and have probably been shopping all day. But we've been in a hurry all week, working extra hours and extra hard to make our stores customer safe. Let's all just try to be a little more self-reliable before you ask for help.
2) Clean up after yourself. If you pick something up, look it over, and go to throw it back on the shelf, just think about this: I work in a small store, but during December, we usually end up taking a few hours before or after work just straightening up. What takes you a split second to carelessly put away takes us hours to fix. Just be aware of how you take care of the store.
3) There is not a store in this country, big or small, extravagant or simple, who can keep everything straight and accounted for during Christmas. I don't care if they hired the best organizer in the world, it just isn't going to happen. Extra product, extra orders, and Christmas decoration clutter make it impossible. So, if you have something in mind that you need, and you find that the store is out of it, even if it's advertised in their catalog, what have you, please keep your temper in check. Trust me, if they have it, they are going to sell it to you. I'm fairly confident that most businesses are not in the habit of hiding their product from customers. Just take their word for it and don't nag. Chances are, 10 minutes before you showed up, they were being nagged by someone else for the same thing.
4)While you should always think twice before you are mean to anyone, think four times before you are mean to a retail worker, for three reasons:
1-They will be more likely to help you if you are nice. And if you can't be nice, simply be firm. Sometimes we can't do what you want us to do because it's company policy, not because we are trying to personally sabotage your Christmas. I promise, a worker will be ten times more likely to go out of their way to really help you and exhaust all resources if you treat them with respect. They are working long, extra, and sometimes Christmas Eve hours to help you. Show them a little love!
2- Be aware that if you are mean to an employee, your story will be told to everyone that works at that store, along with that employee's whole family and their friends. And if you were really mean, then your legacy will be shared for years to come, because they will never forget. If your goal was to go down in jerky customer history, well done!
3- If you can't remember the first two reasons, then please remember this one: it only takes one rude customer to ruin a workers day. I speak from countless personal experiences. Not much is worse then being spoken to like you are an idiot or yelled at in front a whole store full of people because you can't find a book that someone just has to have.
So if you have had a long day, if you have been to three different stores looking for that one gift, if you are tired and hungry, if you are looking into the face of a store employee who can't find that product and you see before you a perfect opportunity to release all that frustration, consider if your situation is worth ruining someone elses day over.
This will be my fourth year working retail during Christmas, but four years is all it took for me to start loathing this holiday months before it arrived. This is the season of giving, people. How did it morph into this awful time of year where the two extremes of being kind to your fellow man but also stepping all over their metaphorical toes coexist? Nothing I say in this little post is going to end Christmas stress. But if I can help you gain a little bit of appreciation for what workers deal with year after year, on top of having to do their own shopping and Christmas preparations, maybe it won't be as easy for you to think of only your own troubles during the next few months.
So next time you're out Christmas shopping, take a second and thank whoever is helping you, because as I also know from personal experience, they will not forget it.