I am standing behind you with my youngest child while you rant to the clerk on why isn’t the hottest toy in stock days before Christmas. The strain on the clerk’s face makes me want to jump in her defense. Yes, the crowds are crazy busy. Yes, Christmas is soon. Taking your stress out on the clerk is not cool. That clerk probably has been working all day with barely a bathroom break.
My sympathy for her and all clerks is personal. For fifteen years, I clerked in malls everywhere throughout the Christmas season. Many times there were so many customers that I couldn’t take my lunch or a coffee break to pee. It was how it had to be.
Hearing customers rage why we were out of an item days before Christmas made me boil. Christmas comes the same time every year. That is not new. The staffs in the stores are on the front lines. The supply and demand in retail is very tricky. That is up to the corporate headquarters and the buyers. It is not the clerks, whom make (in most cases) minimum wage.
I hug my daughter tight as he leaves in a huff. I take my turn at the counter and pass over my items to purchase. I give the girl a smile and tell her she is doing fine. I remark that she handled herself well with that customer. She thanks me. She tells me it is her first job and feels daunted.
As my purchases are bagged I smile at her and remind her soon, the holiday will be gone. She laughs a tired laugh and agrees. As I leave I grab a comment card and fill it out about the wonderful calmness I witnessed. I do not know if it will make a difference. I remember getting customer accolades after the fact. It motivated me to keep smiling.
So to all customers, please be kind. It isn’t about getting the latest cool toy last minute. It is about spending time with loved ones. There are many who do not get that opportunity.
Be kind. Happy Holidays.
A 15 year Christmas Retail Survivor