Oh... no. Not Thanksgiving. No, that is an important day! Definitely!
But that's not the day I'm talking about. The day I'm talking about is...
Those who go in before the crack of dawn. Those who absorb all the grumpiness of those who have been in line outside since 2am. I'm talking about the employees.
The Warriors of Retail.
I want to take just a second to note; I'm not complaining about my job. I am, in fact, grateful to have a job. This is a message about retail employees from the perspective of someone who has been in their shoes (and still is...). I've been yelled at and sworn at. I've had things thrown at me. I've had customers make me cry. ..
As someone who has worked in retail for a compilation of five years (including three black Fridays), I feel like there are some things that need to be brought to the general public's attention:
1. They're here to help you. With all the foot traffic that happens on Black Friday, it is impossible for the employees to greet every single customer. However, if you approach them, more than likely, they'll be more than happy to help you.
2. Shopping among large crowds and awful hours is stressful. True. However, working among shoppers among large crowds and awful hours is stressful as well. You may be stressed, but there's a good chance the employee isn't have the best day either.
3. Employees are people too. I've heard the excuse before (hell. I think I've used the excuse before), when talking about employees "well, they're paid to be here." But there's a fine line between being paid to do your job, and being paid to be treated rudely.
4. Employees are just doing they're job. If you can't return something because the policy says so, it's because the policy says so. If you can't get [item] for [price], it's because you can't. It's not personal. So if an employee tells you no, it's because they've been told to. No matter how much you tell them you don't like the policy or the price or the selection, very few retail employees actually have any control or say over those things. Talk to a manager, sure, but it's not the retail employee's fault.
5. If an employee asks you if you found everything, unless there's a way for them to help, just say yes. Don't make it awkward.
6. If an employee asks you if you're finding everything, how your day is going, etc, smile damnit! It doesn't cost a thing! Science has proven that smiling makes you feel better! Plus, it gives that employee a sense that the day doesn't have to be horrible.
I know this may come across as a rant, saying that customers are the enemy. However, my intention is only to inform you, the shoppers, of the feelings from behind the register.
I'm also not saying here that being friendly is your responsibility alone! Not at all! I'm just asking that you be friendly back :)
Well treated employees are the most helpful employees!
So go out there at 2am.
Get that plasma TV for $20.
Have a great time! Breathe! And smile!
And as always, thanks for reading!