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It’s that time again for the retail world to skip a few holidays and head straight to Christmas.  To me, it makes me wonder if every retail store should have a Christmas corner in their store so that people who can’t wait for Christmas can stock up on items of their favorite holiday season. As retail stores prepare for the season, let’s review the do’s and don’ts of shopping during the holidays.

Black Friday: the day retail workers love to hate!

We don’t like it. We leave our families (if we saw them on Thanksgiving) to come early to a store to offer good customer services on sought out items at the best prices. That’s what we’re paid to do. Our position description is not that of a bouncer, an auctioneer or child retrievers. When we are at work, we are there to work. Yes, we will do what we can to make the experience a positively memorable one but we are not there as a punching bag, a bartering post or as a listening opponent in a one-sided shouting match. Keep the attitude at home. We don’t need it.

The store hours usually do not change on regular days until about two weeks before Christmas. Stop thinking they do!

I’ll say it again, the store hours usually do not change on regular days. So if the store is open at 9 am on Monday morning, do not case the joint at 7 am thinking that the store will open earlier. If the stores choose to open up earlier, they will advertise it. They will say it. They will let the world know their hours of operation. They will post signs. They will put it on social media. They will say it to their customers as they come through the checkout line. The customer will know! With that being said, stop coming in two minutes until close. We want to go home! We want to get out of a place that we’ve been in for hours on end. Let us have that last 15 minutes to straighten the store and focus on leaving the store. Stop this coming into the store during the announcements we make 5 minutes before we close to look for a supposed one item just to come through the line with a shopping cart full of things because it seems that the sale we’ve had all day only happens during those last 5 minutes. That’s just rude!

Christmas music gets old so we tune it out. Don’t expect us to enjoy it or be cheerful about it.

It doesn’t matter who sings whatever song, it gets old when we hear the same ten songs over and over again from November 26 until December 25th. That is four whole weeks of the same songs in rotation. It does not always grow on us and, in all honesty, it may make us a little angry because we’re stuck with it. Our customers can leave but we have to stay until break, lunch or until the shift is over before we get relief. It’s even hard for us to go to other retail establishments after work or on our off days because the music is still there. Realize that we are most likely tuning out the music in order to make it through our day so please don’t ask us how do we like this rendition of whatever song is playing. We’re not here for that and we don’t get paid enough to listen to it either.

Conversations with sales associates: Limit them to questions about items in the store.

We are typically on our feet from the time we get there until the time we leave. We have to ask and answer many questions. We have to continue to make the store beautiful for our customers so they will return. If you see an apron, a team shirt or a name badge, nine times out of ten, we’re working there.  It’s not a typical thing to wear a store identifying item in the store in which we work on our off day.  If the store is open on Christmas, stop telling us that it is wrong we’re open and someone has to work that day, especially if the reason the question was asked is to put it on a list of all the stores that will be open in case something is missed.  Stop thinking that the long lines are audiences that are there to listen to a story no one asked to be told. Also, understand this: what a customer thinks should be policy because it would suit their needs does not make it a policy. Refrain from telling us our policies and procedures. We’re trained to know them and are paid to abide by them.

Again, refrain from telling us our policies and procedures. We’re trained to know them and are paid to abide by them.

In my particular retail operation, we are trained over policies and procedures quite a few times in a year. This is apart of our pay. We learn them and we follow them. Just because a customer disagrees with them doesn’t mean we’ll change them. Get over it! It’s like when a child is told that they must eat their vegetables before they get dessert. They may not like it and decide to throw a temper tantrum in an effort to get their way. However, that usually does not change the fact that the vegetables still need to be eaten before they get dessert.  Same with retail stores. If we say that we require a receipt for exchanges or refunds, it will not change because a customer conveniently forgets it or it’s completely gone. Suck it up buttercup.  We understand that it is an inconvenience to our customers but what is often overlooked is how it is an inconvenience to us. We have to account for why we accepted a return without proper documentation. If we do that and it turns out that we didn’t even sell that item to you, it could be considered a loss for the company. This could be a bigger loss for our customers because that’s one reason why we’d raise prices. So either chuck it up to a loss or keep up with the receipts.

The epitome of what boils a sales associates blood…

Look, we’ve all done it but once a person works in retail, this is what really sends them overboard. The item is on a hanger. The customer takes it off the hanger to really check it out.  They try it on to see how it fits on them. They decide against it and throws it on top of the rack instead of putting it back on the hanger. RUDE!  Often times I wonder if the customer allows for others to come into their home, look through their closets, take things off of their hangers just for them to throw it back into the closet haphazardly. If that happened, they would think it to be a rude action too. We try to keep the store beautiful because as one is said to “eat with their eyes” (eat items that are visually appealing), the same can be said about shopping with their eyes. Customers love shopping in a place that is beautiful and has great deals. That’s one reason of many while malls get many to come their way. So stop coming into our stores and messing them up because of laziness. We are not here to be maids and butlers. Yes, we are here to make sure the store looks great but we will not follow customers around the store to tidy up after them.  Customers need to do their part to ensure the store they enjoy remains an enjoyable place for all.

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To my comrades in the retail industry, I salute you! We will, once again, get through this busy time together. It is my sincere hope that we make it out with great sales and a better experience than times past. May we have patience to deal with all of our customers, both internal and external. May we have the knowledge needed to handle the questions. May we have Dr. Scholl foot pads in our shoes and icy hot or ben gay at the ready.  Let’s gear up for the holiday season!

 

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