By Caitlin Duke
It’s coming: the crowds, the rush for that perfect item, the long lines. With all that come the returns and rage. We retail workers call it the holidays.
I have been in retail the past four years;, including cashier, customer service, asset protection, front-end lead and now tech support. I have experienced all kinds of customers, most of them pleasant, but the ones who are not haunt me. Every time I experience a difficult customer, I question: Why do they make themselves look silly by screaming?
Most retail stores know that September is the beginning of the holiday season. I challenge you as a consumer to take this advice to make your shopping experience a bit more bearable and my life a bit easier.
Yes, I understand you are in a hurry to get in and out of the store. You dislike lines and crowds; there are ways to avoid that. The simplest is to shop online. Shopping online allows you to shop at your own pace in the comfort of your own home. If you dislike shipping fees, most stores offer in-store pickup.
Another solution for those who prefer shopping in stores is to ask employees the easiest times to get in.
Services, offers and accessories are three main things most retail stores make their employees offer to customers. During the holidays, people tend to have no interest in the products, but we have to offer them for various reasons: because it is our job, because we do not want you to get mad at us for not offering, because do you want to go home without ink for your new printer? Even though you may not be interested in any of them, we try to thoroughly explain/offer these things to make your shopping experience better.
With holidays come return policies. Return policies are more of my main frustration because no one seems to know that stores have them. Most stores will not return items if they are opened, missing parts, damaged or without a receipt. It is not the store’s responsibility to keep track of your receipt nor accept something for store credit if you do not have the receipt. To avoid frustration on your part, keep track of the receipt and know the return policy. If for some reason you do not meet the guidelines of the return policy, try to contact the store before waiting in a long customer service line.
Overall, to keep your holiday experience enjoyable, be happy. Cheery customers are the best customers. If for some reason you run into a problem and you are nice about it, most of us will go above and beyond for you. A little bit of patience and kindness goes a long way.
Even though at times it may not seem like it, most of us who work in retail love it, and we love making people happy. Take these few tips, and it might make your life and mine a lot easier. The holidays are meant to be enjoyable, not nerve-wracking. Please, consumer, keep calm and shop on.