Dear Black Friday shoppers,
The past few years, I have dreaded Thanksgiving. I have dreaded being forced to chose a shift sometime between five on Thanksgiving and midnight on Friday to ensure that customers can have ample time to stop at every store and hit every sale before Saturday morning. I can understand the excitement of finishing up Christmas shopping before December begins with the pile of bargains you were able to hunt down. I cannot understand though some behaviors you or other customers may partake in on Black Friday, so I thought I would give you a few reminders.
Firstly, there are too many things to list that we simply have no control over. I cannot change the prices on items you find to be to expensive or saw cheaper elsewhere; our store does not price match. In the same vein, employees do not set the return policy. I would love to tell you that I can just give you cash back if that sweater you grabbed for Susan who is still in line at Bath and Body Works doesn't fit her, but I simply cannot. The company sets everything; sales, return policies, even the sometimes misleading sale signs with "select styles" in the world's smallest font are created by the company. We do as we are told. If we could change these things to make your shopping easier, we gladly would. We are here to make your experience positive.
For the majority, we work in retail because each of us is a people person that wants to chat with shoppers and be helpful, but the key word here is the person part of people person. It's easy when you're shopping and in a rush to forget small pleasantries such as tossing a response to the greeter at the front of the store that welcomed you or thanking your cashier. It is easy to dismiss employees as being fixtures in the store to complete tasks: to refold tables of 50% flannels or cash you out at lightning speed. However, this does not give you an excuse to make a mess or bark at the employees to move quicker. Refolding items you were looking at instead of throwing them towards an employee straightening the same fixture or answering your cashier when they ask if you found everything okay can go a long way. At one in the morning after seven hours of work and another shift at a different store right after, these little things can mean a lot to keeping our retail smiles on.
Lastly, very employee you see is making a sacrifice to be there and do their job for you. We give up time on what is intended to be a family holiday to ensure the best shopping experience for all our clients. I know that I will be passing on eating the bird this year to be at work for the early bird customers early on Thursday during dinner time. While for a college student like myself this may not seem to be a monumental sacrifice to avoid forced family interactions, several of my coworkers will be missing spending Thanksgiving with their young children to keep the store open all night long. Their families may not even celebrate with one of the parents being forced to work. We are skipping out on dinners and our Christmas shopping to help you.
I am not writing this to make you feel guilty for shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. As an employee, I just want you to remember that we are all people. We want to make your day, but we cannot do that if you do not recognize that we are still humans at the end of the day when the nametag comes off, humans that made a sacrifice to make you happier.
A Retail Employee