This post is dedicated to the vicious, Alpha-Mom types who make working a fun job like retail into a living hell. To those men and women who insist it is our mistake when their expired coupon doesn’t work. To those people who won’t buy a $3 gift because they’ll also have to buy a $0.25 box to hold it. To the scammers who buy a gift card and insist they didn’t receive the correct change to rob the store blindly.
It is counter-intuitive, but it seems as though people are more likely than ever to mistreat their fellow humans during the holiday season. The time of giving has turned into the season of disrespect and abuse. Every day customers trash our store, throwing merchandise across any and every table, dropping piles of clothing onto the floor, leaving piles of inside-out clothes on the floor of the dressing room. Every day people walk out with stolen goods, leaving all the evidence stuffed in the fitting room bench. Every day customers scream at associates, insulting their intelligence and aspirations.
It’s not surprising that you work a dead-end retail job. You can’t even handle that. You deserve to be frustrated. People in the real world are mean- get used to it.
Do they not understand that another person, another human, has to take time away from other customers to clean up that mess? Do they not understand that the store wouldn’t be open if it weren’t for the associates? Every mess you make adds hours to another person’s work day, and is frankly insulting. If you’re too good to fold a shirt, why should we have to deal with it?
As far as coupons go, you want to save a few bucks where you can- I get it. I work retail part time and in the service industry the rest of my time. You make way more than I do. Times are tough- we’re all pinched for cash. But if you are really broke, you should probably go home and stop shopping. No cash = a modest holiday, not enormous debt.
Unfortunately, rampant consumerism causes many to lose sight of any kind of reality. Instead of, I don’t know, spending time with your loved ones, you are out shopping, buying more and more meaningless gifts to put under the tree. I am here to assure you that your teenage son will love you just as much without receiving four sweatshirts on Christmas morning- and if he doesn’t, you didn’t raise him very well.
If I do nothing else right by my children, I want them to understand the difference between gifts and love. One of the most important things I’ve learned about love is its part of speech. Love is a verb, an action, a series of actions. You can show much more love helping out a friend on a stressful day or paying a surprise visit to a long-distance friend or family member than you can by showering them with presents. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with finding a thoughtful gift, but ultimately it’s your actions, interactions, and relationship that will make the biggest impact and most meaningful memories.
So to everyone who takes the time to thank their sales associate, thank YOU. Just one pleasant customer can help us get through a day of vicious consumer monsters, completely missing the point of the holiday. You make our days brighter and put a smile on our faces, even if only for a few minutes. Thank you to the customers who fold the shirt they picked up (even though it’s not folded correctly, it’s the thought that counts). Thank you for being patient with matters beyond our control. Thank you for respecting our humanity, you’ve been the best gift in the store. Merry Christmas.