It's the holidays: Can't we all just get along? How to make the shoppingexperience bearable
Shopping during the holidays can turn even the nicest people into the Grinch, and for retail workers like me, that can be the absolute worst.
Having worked at a store for more than four years, I’ve witnessed a range of human emotions during the holidays that I didn’t think were even possible; everything from strangers buying gifts for others in line to full-blown, public adult temper tantrums over products that were sold out.
This year, the crowd hasn’t gotten particularly out of control just yet, but as with just a couple of days before Christmas I'm sure hings will ramp up and people will grow more agitated.
That’s why I've come up with a guide that is beneficial to retailers and customers alike. It dispels some of the myths and misconceptions and hopefully creates an overall positive shopping experience during the holidays for everyone.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Most of the time retail workers are just trying to do what they’ve been told to do. And from time to time, that includes asking shoppers the question everyone seems to dread: “Can I help you with anything today?”
Most people say no, but then in just a few minutes, realize they do need help and then end up finding that nobody is available to help them anymore and become angry. Take them up on the offer the first time, because nine times out of 10, they’ll be able to find that one product you’re looking for but can’t ever seem to find.
And yes, I realize that some people take the pestering to an extreme and seem to hover over you the whole time, but a simple “I’ll let you know if I need anything,” will suffice and they should hopefully be able to take the hint.
Cashiers are going as fast as they can, but they usually have some sort of script that they have to follow. We dislike having to offer those extra add-ons as much as customers may hate hearing about them.
We get it, the holidays are stressful and trying to pick out the right gift for others can feel impossible, but your bad mood and grumpy behavior can and will rub off on the person trying to help you, and then everyone ends up losing.
Prepare for lines during checkout
Cashiers are going as fast as they can, but they usually have some sort of script that they have to follow, which includes the endless amount of questions that their screen prompts them to ask you. This ultimately slows down the process, but they have to do it.
It’s this vicious cycle where the cashiers have to ask certain things or risk getting marked down by “mystery shoppers” and ultimately lose their job, so just keep cool and be patient; rudeness again will not get you anywhere.
We’re just the messengers
We dislike having to offer those extra add-ons as much as customers may hate hearing about them. I’m referring to those credit card offers, points memberships, extended warranties, etc. — most of which are actually designed to help customers benefit from their purchases.
Instead of shutting them down or laughing at them like you can’t believe they’re trying to “dupe” you into this thing, keep in mind they’re not the ones who make up the offers, they’re just the messengers and are required by upper management to offer these things.
Ask for a gift receipt
Most stores these days offer gift receipts, and it will make the return and exchange process go a lot smoother after the holidays are over and people decide they didn’t like the gift they got. It’s free and easy to do and helps everyone.
I'll end by saying that not all customers are bad, and for those of you who aren't guilty of any of this, I — and retail workers across the nation — applaud you. I'll admit, too, that there are retail workers who carry their bad attitudes with them, in which case I say that they probably shouldn't be working there in the first place.