Five Simple Ideas To Help You Get Through The Holiday Shopping Season.

I was very happy this year to get a part time holiday job at the mall.  Not so happy with how few hours I am working, but happy to be working temporarily at least.  The extra money will be going towards starting a small home business involving the products and stuff I make.  Well, ten percent is, the other ninety percent my husband is determined to put into an IRA for me.

I worked at one of the major specialty retailers on black Friday this year and have worked many a black Friday in the past, may I pass on some suggestions to make the holiday shopping easier for all?

1.     Have patience. Patience is a virtue. The person behind the register has no control of the gadgets they are using and of software updates or if the machine is working properly.  They have no control over how many co-workers have been assigned to the floor, or even the amount of any given item that is on sale that they have in stock. Or even how much training they have received prior to working that day.

2.     Be polite.  You may be tired and frustrated, but just imagine if you were the one standing behind a cash register with no where to sit or take a break. Standing on feet that hurt, because no shoes totally stop foot pain after 6 to 8 hours on cement floors. That person behind the register has to smile and be kind no matter how you are behaving or anyone else in the store they come in contact with are behaving.  Chances are the cash register is not their only job in the store.

3.     Control your children. You may love seeing your child bounce up and down, or play hide and seek in the clothing racks, but these things can make a lot of extra work for store employees who are already over worked.

4.     Please get off the phone.  This was one of my pet peeves. I was working in a Jewelry department and we had a special sale for employees.  This co-worker came up to the counter looking at the jewelry.  She was on the phone the whole time and would not acknowledge me as I walked up to her.  I attempted eye contact, smiled, said hello, everything except jump up and down screaming can I help you.  She then complained to whomever she was on the phone with and then to a manager that I was ignoring her.  As a sales associate I want to give you the best service possible, but I can’t when I can’t get your attention.

5.     Be Realistic.   You shopped on black Friday and they ran out of what you wanted. Each store gets only a limited number of the huge black Friday deals.  You waited until after December 1st and expect to find lots of cute, but Christmas related items?  Don’t be surprised when they are gone.  I know for sure even the grocery store runs out of air freshener that smells like balsam before mid December

6.     Remember what this season is really about.  It’s not about the presents, even though retailers would like to make you think it is.  We all know it is a day set aside to celebrate Christ’s birth.  We, as a whole, become better people.  We give more, we smile more, we make time for family.  We also over work, get sad, set to high of expectations, and generally forget what a wonderful time this is. Take some time to smell the Christmas tree, enjoy the sappy Christmas movies, enjoy the weather, lower your expectations, and bake cookies.  Take some time to speak to that neighbor down the street who you never do.  The holiday season also has one of the highest suicide rates of the year.

We as children were taught to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.  At Chrysler we were taught to treat others as they would like to be treated.  The very things you appreciate others won’t, so pay attention to small body language clues and you will be alright.  The truth is a smile, a little patience, and friendliness will go a long way to get the best possible service from a store employee and make for a better shopping experience for you.                                    

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