“Oh, it’s the hap…happiest season of all….” I’m sure that the approaching holiday season has little kids making their wish lists, and parents stressing out like crazy, and that makes me wonder, “Is it really the happiest season of the year?”
The holidays, always seem to put people into that so-called “holiday spirit” and everyone is supposed to be happy and joyful, right? Well, then why is it that for anyone who works in a store that caters to Christmas in any way, they always seem to dread the havoc brought on by this “season of giving?”
True, it may only be the first of December, but it has already begun. As an employee at a retail store that is based on seasonal sales, I come face-to-face with the “other side” of the holiday season almost everyday. That side of Christmas has customers complaining, asking stupid questions and being downright annoying. Now, anyone who knows what it is like to work in retail, knows what I am talking about.
As employees, we have standards; we are supposed to be polite, and cater to the customer’s every need, but what if the customers are downright rude? I would never do anything to get myself fired, but many times I have felt the need to tell customers not to throw their money at me, that I’m sorry, I don’t make the store policy, and that inflation is what causes prices to rise, not my paycheck.
We get customers who come in weekly, some come in almost daily and others annually.
This one old lady usually comes once each year, or so it seems, and she always comes when my store has its “open house.” That’s the day we have all our holiday specials and people come in the purchase our collectable Christmas ornaments. She buys about $1,000 worth of ornaments each year, and believe me, when we see her coming, it’s like watching an oncoming train about to smack your car sitting in the middle of the tracks. When it comes time to ring her up, nothing but negativity pours from her venomous mouth, slandering Hallmark, its employees, our product, and anything she can get her vile tongue to petrify.
Once she leaves, its like a load of bricks has been removed from my chest and I can breath again.
Recently, I was in the stock room talking with my manager and another sales leader, and we all seemed to notice how customers seem to think that we are stupid. I always seem to get those customers who say, “Well can’t you ask someone who might know?” And in my mind I’m thinking, “Hello? Can you read the name tag? I’m a sales leader…I would be the one to ask.”
We came to the conclusion that to satisfy the customers’ intuition, we should all just wear name tags that state, “I’m stupid.” It was really quite funny at the moment, but I guess it was a “had to be there” situation. In any case, it is important to remember that employees go through training to know what they are doing, so not all employees are stupid.
I have worked at Hallmark for about two and a half years, and I like it. It is a comfortable job that is flexible to my always changing college schedule. There have been times when I thought about quitting, but those times have mostly been around Christmas. That is when the customers are not the most pleasant and cooperative people in the world. But I figure, why let them get the best of me?
So, when out Christmas shopping and pursuing the stores, remember to be nice to those who serve customers, because it can be a very tedious job.
Melinda Sanchez, a sophomore communications major, is arts and entertainment editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.