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Friday, November 27, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Black Friday and Everyday

My mom spent decades managing a group of Hallmark stores. I worked retail jobs all through high school, partway through college and for years afterward on weekends. It is hard work, not only physically, but also emotionally... especially this time of year.

1989. Working hard at the after school/weekend job. I just finished putting together that entire display with the one token dude we had working there. Lucky for me he was hot and a gentleman at that, so he did all the heavy lifting; because honey, trust me when I tell you that I spent entirely too much time on my hair that day to work up a sweat installing ornaments in freaking July. YES, July.

1989. The Hallmark Maven, aka Boss Lady. She will crack the whip, and not in a good way.

There are more days than I care to remember that after working an 8-hour shift during the holiday season, I'd get in my car & cry on the way home from not only being yelled at by many customers, but also from the searing pain in my feet, back and every muscle. The pain was so all-encompasing and downright awful that my co-workers & I would always refer to this scene from the Stephen King movie Misery after those ass-busting shifts:

Feeling like we'd been hobbled after working retail during the holidays was more common than not.

I say the following from experience:
  • The customary response to "Thank you!" is "You're welcome!"

  • The appropriate follow-up after YOU bump into someone else is "Pardon me!" or "Excuse me!" or anything besides rudely grunting as you barrel through their skeletal system.

  • People working during any kind of Black Friday sale are likely overworked and often times, not treated very well by shoppers. If someone goes out of their way for you or does a great job, ask for their name (if they don't have a nametag on) and let their supervisor know as soon as possible. If not that day, call or send an e-mail the next day.

Be kind, especially near the end of the business day when they've been running around like chickens with their heads cut off in order to try and keep up with the demands of shoppers. You'd be surprised how far looking someone behind the counter in the eyes and smiling at them will go.



Tara R. said...

Excellent advice, and not for just this time of year, but always. It takes the same amount of time and energy to be civil as it does to be a butt head.

Gene said...

Word. I worked in grocery stores throughout high school and college. It's fun during the holidays, but extremely hard work.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding advice, be nice even if it hurts. Otherwise it may come back to you someday. Have a great holiday.

Grandma W

Blasé said...

"Pardon Me"?? I thought it was- "My Bad"!

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

1) Wow. Mz. Claus has never looked so hot.

2) They call it black Friday for a reason. :( I never have figured out why so many people find it so hard to be minimally polite.