I have not worked retail during Christmas is almost six years, but I still get a chill down my spine at the sound of a code being called over a loudspeaker. I wear my wounds proudly.
As the holidays roar on, so does the continued suffering of retail workers. It is a shock that Black Friday sales started not Friday, not Thursday night, but noon on Thanksgiving Day. The idea that a large portion of the American population had to forgo their turkey legs and drive to work where they would be faced with the mother of all shopping frenzies is beyond crazy. Do that many people need early access to a $100 wall-sized flat screen? Just this past week, Kohl's announced they would be open 24 hours a day starting December 20 until Christmas Eve. What?!
Maybe some of us don't remember what it was like to work a retail job or some never have had the privilege, but it is hard work, especially during the holidays. Let me share with you some of the reasons why retail workers hate the holidays.
Customers yelling at the glass or banging on the door to get you to open early
Gift wrapping - so many paper cuts
Closing the store at 1 a.m. and opening it the next morning at 8 a.m.
Customers on cell phones at the register
Price checksThis is what these Wal-Mart workers' Thanksgiving looked like.
Parking in the employee area so far from the building you arrive 30 minutes early for the walk
Having to go back to the mall for your own gift shopping and hating every moment
Hearing the same holiday music over and over again
Being held personally responsible when things sell out
You miss every great holiday party because of work
Clock out time is 10 p.m., but you don't go home until 1 a.m. because of late shoppers coming it to "just look"
Customers trash the store. You dream of strangling them with the sweater they just threw on the floor.
No breaks, except to pee or scarf down food-like substances
Meals either come from the food court or the tray of cookies in the break room
Shoplifters - this is their high season
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It doesn't matter what you say - Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa - everything is offensive to someone
People have no appreciation for you because "you chose to work here"
If you want to ease the pain of retail works, just bear in mind these three things:
Thank you goes a long way. The golden rule never hurt anyone. Patience is indeed a virtue.