‘Tis the season to respect retail workers
No, we don’t have any left in the back
The countdown to Christmas has begun and so has every retail worker’s worst nightmare. December witnesses the British public morph from rude but tolerable beings into animalistic barbarians.
If we had a choice, of course we wouldn’t be spending 30 hours a week of our holidays surrounded by screaming children and disorganised husbands but we’re students and alas, flat broke.
It’ll be my fourth Christmas at work this year and over the time, I have grown to appreciate every retail worker out there. The people who spend 12 hours a day on their feet trying to make your shopping experience easier are the true heroes of our time.
It has become an inherent part of the British culture to be unnecessarily rude to shop staff and this peaks annually during the festive period. It’s as if you sick, twisted people actually take pleasure in watching us intricately fold a table of tops and then proceed to tear apart the pile just for fun.
But you will notice that we never get angry or dropkick you to the floor. Instead we smile through gritted teeth and tell you not to worry about the fact that you’ve literally just destroyed two hours worth of work. Don’t you worry just one bit. Hun.
If you don’t find yourself refolding a pile of t-shirts in a different store to your own, do you even work in retail?
We have customer service drilled into us like nothing else but like any other socially able person, we do enjoy talking to customers, so please don’t ignore us when we politely greet you at the door or ask if you need any help, we are desperate for a conversation.
When you come in for a quick browse and enjoy the background music, take a minute to realise that we stand and listen to the same 50 minute loop for an entire 6 weeks. Christmas starts as soon as Halloween is over and we’ve been selling winter coats since the last week of August. Working in retail really does try to kill your Christmas spirit. By November, we should be so over it.
The Christmas Eve shoppers are undoubtedly the worst. We want to be at home with our families, watching Elf and necking mulled wine but we’ve been cleaning and restocking the store since 7am so that you unorganised hooligans won’t be receiving divorce papers the next day.
It’s not as if Christmas just arrives unannounced every year and suddenly you wake up to the news that CHRISTMAS IS TOMORROW. I can in confidently assure you Christmas 2068 will be on December 25th. Plan your life.
The customer is always right. We know this and so do you but this doesn’t give you the right to abuse your “power”. It’s in our interest to sell as much as possible so when we tell you that there aren’t any left in the stock room, we really mean it. Don’t vent your anger and frustration at us when we’ve checked all the other stores in the area, I’m a shop assistant not a fucking magician.
Last but not least, who are the crackpots who queue outside for HOURS on Boxing Day for the sales? For one day a year you think it’s perfectly acceptable behaviour to strip clothes from mannequins and physically assault others for a 10 per cent discounted top.
A tip for you all: most of the stock goes into the sale a week before Christmas, the joke is literally so on you.
So please, when you’re running around doing you’re last minute Christmas shopping, take a second to appreciate the hardworking staff and when we say “have a nice day”, wish us one too. It might just work.