|Being rude to sales people will put you on the naughty list!|
Black Friday is only days away. That oh so lovely day when I will not set foot in a retail establishment because I no longer have to. I say a little, make that big – TEXAS SIZED – prayer for my many friends who will be working and hope they survive the day without being physically harmed by psychotic sale-seeking women or ending up in jail for retaliating against the self-righteous, mess-making, rude-ass jerk who happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. As you begin celebrating/enduring your holiday season, I would like to remind you that my friends/your retail service people have been dealing with holiday rollout for at least a month already. They are already sick of Christmas, and we haven’t even hit Thanksgiving.
I met up with some of my best girlfriends this weekend for dinner. At one point, we all worked together in the same retail location and became a close-knit family, loving our jobs, our store, and each other. We get together regularly, despite living in different states, some having children (all of whom are adorable), and all working different jobs with incompatible schedules. One of the things that is shared by all, however, is an extremely high level of intelligence. I am not saying this with conceit or to pat our hard working backs. I bring it up because there seems to be an overwhelming majority that hold the belief that people who work in retail are there because they can’t do anything else and are not as intelligent as the 8-5 cubicle drones.
I’ll be the first person to tell you that there are stupid people in every line of work, and someone is always at the bottom of every graduating class. I also am willing to bet you $5 (I’m broke, give me a break) that the majority of those drones (who may not be stupid) in their daily grind office-jobs, wouldn’t last two days in a busy store managing or selling people sweaters. You may think the only thing people at the Gap have to do is to fold shirts. In reality, those people are folding shirts, restocking the shirts that were sold, folding the shirts you just left in a pile because you think your invisible mom follows you around the world cleaning up your messes, putting the shirts in size order, watching out for that shady woman who’s stuffing sweatshirts in her handbag, throwing out that half empty Starbucks coffee that other rude customer left over by the denim, greeting the people walking into the store who blankly stare back at them and say neither “Hello,” or answer the question, “How are you?” and all of this while being on their feet for hours and keeping a smile on their face.
Meanwhile, their boss (this is where most of my friends come in) gets to do ALL of those things, plus manage monthly, weekly, and daily, how many people they can afford to have come and mollycoddle you and fill in for your invisible mom based on how much money the store made yesterday or last week. If you make a ginormous mess requiring the staff of the Titanic to clean up and don’t buy anything one week, that will cut down on the amount of money available to have people come in and help you the next week. On top of this, they’re trying to make sure they have their best employees there at the busiest times. You think they don’t know who their weak link employees are? Trust me, they know. It is REALLY hard to fire people these days. They’re also keeping an eye on the employees they have who are stealing from them (so disappointing). And, they are training the kids who have their first job ever, and whose parents told them they were "special," how to work. During holiday, they’ll all be there, most likely, two hours after the store closes cleaning up your mess. They might not see their friends or family until January, but they'll still find a way to motivate their workers and drive the economy. It is not an easy job.
So, why do they do it? Believe it or not, some people actually enjoy hard work and helping other people. That doesn’t give anyone license to treat them like crap. While you shop this holiday season, I strongly encourage you to consider my advice. Don’t leave your food trash lying around a store. Go throw it away. You probably could stand the walk to a trashcan to burn off some calories anyway. If you’re not actually interested in something you see neatly folded on a table, don’t touch it. Every time you make a mess of something, someone has to fix it. Don’t try things on in the fitting room and then leave them on the floor. What’s the matter with you?! If you knock something on the floor in the store, pick it up!
Don’t let your kids run through display windows. It’s dangerous, and no one will have any sympathy for them or for you when they fall and crack their heads open on account of you being a lazy, negligent parent. Don’t let your kids scribe their names into leather furniture with their fingernails either. Toys and books for sale in a store are not a library or a babysitting service. If your kid drools on it, you need to buy it. Don’t get upset with sales people over things that are quite obviously out of their control: long lines at the cash register, you not following washing instructions on the clothing tag, the store being out of something you wanted, the company’s return policy not allowing you to return last year’s worn merchandise, the price of what you’re buying, your husband/kids being jerks. Get off the damned phone when you are paying for your items. It’s just common courtesy. It’s also a time when you might get important information, such as return policy, or that you have a piece of food stuck in your teeth.
There are no weekends in retail. There are no holidays in retail. There is no 8-5 in retail. Sometimes retail employees even work overnight – while you are sleeping. There are no tips in retail. There are no private jets in retail. Yet, the ladies I know in this line of work all know better how to run a business and balance a budget than anyone in Congress. Stop treating them like they’re stupid. They’ll smile at you while you do it because they have to, but karma won’t. You may not get what’s coming to you for a while. Or you just might find me driving right towards you, in the parking lot, on your way out, laughing as I collide head on with your brand new car.