Black Friday is coming. As you stand in line clutching gifts for Little Suzy and Grandpa Pete, irritated and ready to move on to the next chore, remember to be nice to the employees.
I spent five years in retail, and I can assure you the frustrations you are experiencing are worse on the other side. Remember these few things to help you keep your cool in the holiday rush. After all, staying calm will keep your stress under control and improve your overall shopping experience.
While you may have to wait in line for 30-45 minutes, the sales associates are having to deal with a constant stream of unhappy people for eight or nine hours. For the associate, it is endless unhappy customers tossing credit cards at them, arguing over the correct price, and trying to use an unfair amount of coupons.
Messy fitting rooms
While you may have to try on clothes around mounds of discarded clothes all over the floor, the sales associates are responsible for actually dealing with the monstrous piles. The associate must often rehang, sort, and walk the clothes back while answering customers questions. The racks get completely unorganized as the crowd shops the season’s full-store sale, so finding the garments proper place is a chore in itself. The eight hour shift becomes walking around in circles, dodging customers and children, a constantly replenishing pile of clothes.
While I understand your frustration that something you bought didn’t work out, remember the customer service associate is the most unlucky employee in the whole store. After memorizing the convoluted rules of the company’s return policy, they must deal with the grouchiest grumps yelling harassing them. If it was up to them, they’d probably give you whatever you want, but they have to follow the rules.
They’re fumbling, slow, and obviously uncomfortable working the register and you really need to get your errands done. Totally annoying. Stores have to hire extra staff around the end of the year to deal with the extra flow of customers and unfortunately, some of them are handling your money. Remember though, these poor employees are trying to learn how to operate a new device under the pressure of an ominous line of impatient employees. Be gentle, even if they make a mistake.
Overall, try to keep in mind these employees are most likely making close to minimum wage. A nice customer can really be the bright spot on an 8 hour shift. It is a pretty easy way to make someone’s day and stir up some good karma.