It’s a busy season. Real busy. We shop, fight crowds and wait in lines. When we are doing this however, we are usually not thinking of the people who are behind the counters waiting on us. The people that are putting in crazy hours, putting up with endless demands from impatient customers. The people that go home after their shifts and wonder how they will handle another day, let alone the whole season. Some tips for you to make everyones, including your own, holiday shopping easier.
1) Wait your turn. Face the facts; if you’re going to go out shopping during the holiday madness then expect to wait and be patient. I shopped yesterday at a fabric store. They gave out numbers. I was #10; they were on #91. That’s 19 people ahead of me who had waited as well. I watched the manager nearly pop a blood vessel in her head as she tried to explain to an irate customer that everyone had to wait their turn. I offered her a Xanax.
2) Smile and be pleasant. You’d be surprised how far a smile can carry you. I especially like to smile at the particularly crabby help. I feel as though their desire to kill someone is greatly diminished after they encounter a pleasant person.
3) Be neat. Yes, be neat and tidy after yourself. If you pick up a sweater to decide if your dad, husband, boyfriend, lover would like it, please don’t roll it up into a ball and toss it after you feel it’s not the right color. If you are trying on clothes for yourself for that holiday party or just because you’d rather shop for yourself, HANG THEM UP AFTER. You found it on a hanger didn’t you? Don’t leave your try ons in a heap on a chair or the floor. Other people may want to try them on. That $300 sequined dress you just left for dead on the floor? Would you treat it that way if you owned it? All the clothes that you people leave unfolded, laying on the floor, etc have to be folded and put away by the people that have already put in a very long, hard day. Nobody leaves until the store looks perfect. That could mean an extra 2 hours. Help cut down that time and clean up after yourselves people!!
4) DO NOT TREAT SALES PEOPLE AS THOUGH THEY ARE YOUR SLAVES!! Many people do this during regular shopping times! I sometimes refer to it as being treated like the “hired help”. Yes, people working are the hired help but you have no idea how being treated as though they are your “bitch” feels. Many people that are waiting on you have college degrees; or could even be in college and this is their holiday job. Just because they are working a retail job doesn’t mean they are less important of a person than you are. What does this mean you ask? It means say please. It means say thank you. Common everyday manners people. Use them. And remember we are all equal. Yes, we are.
5) Plan ahead. Try not to head out shopping without a plan of some sort. Have that list and check it twice before you walk into a store. Many, many people are working on commission these days. Please don’t spend an hour with someone without asking if they work that way. And please don’t spend an hour with them if they are and go have someone else ring you up! Happens all the time. I know, happened to me.
6) Shop local. I owned a boutique for seven years. Unfortunately I never had to plan for a big black Friday as the world was at the malls and big box stores. Small businesses need you. They need you bad. They’re the ones that will have that unusual gift; that special dress. And they’re the ones that are supporting families; not corporations.
Just be nice people when you shop. Think about the people waiting on you, not just yourself. Make it a happy holiday season for everyone. Oh, and remember these manners throughout the year.