Ahh, the joys of the holiday season. Homes are being decorated, treats are being baked, and people are waiting until the last second to buy their gifts. As we continue in the single-digit countdown until Christmas, the shops only seem to be getting more crowded. Individuals go from having planned all of their gifts, the prices, and where they intend on purchasing them, to now scrambling to finish every responsibility on time. The winter holidays are a crazy time of year, and if anyone has first-hand experience, it is the retail workers.
Being a retail worker myself, I have had my fair share of experiences with shoppers during the holiday season. Making purchases during this time of year is no walk in the park, and with only a few days to go, here are 9 experiences you will have if you work retail during the holiday season.
1. Customers will expect you to be able to do the impossible.
Customers essentially see sales associates as the "Santa's Helpers" of retail. They expect you to be able to make sizes appear out of thin air, even after you have already expressed that what is in the store is what you've got. They also think that you are a magician, and can overnight items, across the country, for free. This is not the case, we are not wizards, but to the customer, it does not matter.
2. You will find yourself working ungodly hours.
Say goodbye to the days when you were out of the store by 9:30 p.m. All of a sudden the mall is opening at 8 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. Instead of working a simple 4-hour shift, you find yourself powering through a 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Rolling up at 6 a.m. on a Monday morning to prep the store for the day is exactly how you want to be starting your week. Just remember that you are getting paid for this and coffee will never let you down.
3. The store becomes a constant mess aka you can refold a stack of shirts 25 times, but it still won't stop a customer from pulling a top right from the center of the stack.
With the stress of the season at an all-time high, individuals who are shopping stop caring about how they are completing their endless list of tasks, they just do it. THERE IS A REASON WHY WE OFFER TO GRAB THE ITEM FOR YOU INSTEAD OF YOU GRABBING IT YOURSELF. IT IS SO OUR STORE DOES NOT END UP LOOKING LIKE TRASH. But alas, we return to the stack of tops, and without saying anything, refold it for the 26th time.
4. Customers expect you to be able to do the impossible Part 2: They do not take no for an answer.
It really is a thrilling experience to be attempting to return an item for the 45th time and to have said customer not understand why the computer refuses to return it. Even though it is final sale item that cannot be exchanged and the customer was told that before they purchased it, 46th times the charm!
5. Christmas music will start playing in your nightmares.
You thought you were ready to ease into Christmas, but when you've heard Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" 4 times in one shift, you start to question your ability to ever be able to un-hear Christmas music.
6. You will become really good at gift wrapping, but it will also become one of the most stressful parts of the job.
Your customers get really excited when you let them know that you can wrap their gifts for free, which is cute. However, then they are standing over your shoulder watching as you attempt to effortlessly package their item in a reasonable time frame and all of a sudden EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR JOB SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE.
7. It will take you an extra 30 minutes just to get to work.
Unless you are working the opening shift and likely arrive before customers begin coming to the shopping center, good luck finding a parking spot. After you have parked a mile away from the store itself, and dodged all of the crowds on your walk to the building, by the time you get there you are already ready to go home.
8. "Sale?" becomes the first phrase out of every customer's mouth.
The word "sale" takes on a whole new meaning during the holiday shopping season. Every single person will ask you where your sale section is located, even if it is obviously labeled. When a customer goes to purchase their items they will most likely ask if there are any promotions going on. Holidays means sales, therefore all customer's brains simply go on autopilot as they search for ways to lower their debt from the previous holiday season. And watch out if your store isn't doing any promotions for the holidays.
All I can say is "best wishes to you."
9. You will again realize that the customer, whether you like it or not, is always right.
Whether we agree or disagree, our goal as retail workers is to please the customer. That is why we were hired for our jobs in the first place, because we know how to put the customer first and ensure that they are getting the best out of their shopping experience. Good luck retail employees, the holiday season is almost over, and then we move on to our second favorite time of year, the January season of returns!