It's that time of year again... the turkey is thawing, the cupboard is stuffed with delicious food waiting to be turned into late November nirvana, and the table is covered with battleplans so detailed they put Macarthur to shame. Black Friday (or Thursday, for some of my more unfortunate friends) is here again. As a retail employee, I encourage you to get out and shop if you enjoy it, to have fun with your family and friends, and I hope you score big. But I also hope you keep the following in mind as you spend your money this holiday season:
1. Please remember that retail employees are people too. Just like you, we have families waiting for us at home. That person standing in front of you is a lot more than just a corporate name. He may be pulling a second job to put his daughter through college, or maybe she's just trying to earn money to guarantee a nice Christmas. It may be that kid's first real job, ever, or maybe he's balancing finals at school with a holiday work load. We could be your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, or your child. Please treat us the way you'd want them to be treated.
2. It's been a really long day. Maybe the store just opened, but considering I worked until after 11pm closing- it still feels like one big, long day to me. We're going to be tired. Our feet will hurt. We'll miss lunches, breaks might be non-existant, and trying to fight our way through the crowds for a bathroom break? Inconcievable. But every time we're going to do our best to give you a big smile and ask how we can help YOU. Do us all a favor- smile back. That's it- just smile back. You'd be surprised at the difference it can make.
3. I promise, we're not plotting against you. We're not trying to hose you. We can not control the fact that we only received a small number of the hot deal that you wanted and that you missed out on. I am not the person who put in that order... heck, my manager didn't even put in that order. Those numbers were predetermined before you had your maps and lists made, or your special t-shirts designed. Take a deep breath. Listen to our other suggestions. You may find that it's better than what your initial plan was. And those accessory items that we mention? We're not just trying to get more of your money, and it's not because we're forced to... we KNOW what will make that product work the best. We get to play with this stuff ALL the time. We know what works and what doesn't.
4. What day is it? Is it Black Friday? Then understand that quantities are limited, and there's nothing we can do about that. I totally understand that you didn't want to camp out for two days to get that television- truly, I do. But the day is what the day is. Play the game if you want to score. Same goes for those few days before Christmas. Waiting until December 22nd brings to mind a saying my grandma used to say- "You get what you get, and you don't pitch a fit." Can I suggest a giftcard for the total amount plus tax along with a printout of that item we've been out of for a week and a half?
5. Have you ever heard the phrase "you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"? Well, you'll get me to help you a whole lot faster and with a whole lot more determination if you treat me with respect. Calling me names, rolling your eyes, and insinuating that because I am working rather than shopping means I'm somehow less than doesn't exactly make me want to unleash the bevy of tricks I've learned over the years. Sometimes I *can* make magic happen... please give me a reason to.
6. But sometimes I can't. And I'm sorry. Sometimes that product is simply NOT available, and there's nothing I can do to make it happen. And I really, really am sorry.
7. Yes, we price match. Aggressively, even. That does not mean you get to name your own price, I don't care what that article on AOL News said. I love saving people money- it's actually fun for me. But no, I can't sell you that cable for $2.
8. Please remember that this time of year you need to completely eradicate the phrase "real quick" from your vocabulary. In retail, nothing occurs "real quick". Expect waits for everything- for an associate to get to you (they ARE trying), to make a return or an exchange, to get technical support, and to check out. There's two times the number of associates in the buiding, but FOUR times the amount of customers. Registers will go down. Websites will run slow. Phone waits will be longer. Plan for this.
9. Speaking of phones... hang yours up if you are needing our assistance, or while ringing out. At least put it down for a moment. Number one, it saves us all from the embarassment of the "Mime Salesperson" game; Number two, we may have things we need to tell you or ask you to get you moving; and Number three? It's just rude.
10. And finally... remember that this is my job. I am... we ALL are trying to do it the best we can during the toughest time of the year. We're going to do our best to make your holiday merry AND bright. Give us a reason to love this holiday season by being respectful,patient,and kind.
And chocolate doesn't hurt either.