Dear Retail/Customer Service Workers,
I too am one of the many college students working a retail/customer service job to financially support myself. Truthfully (as many of you would agree) it's not the best of jobs—but it's the only type of job I can maintain to collectively pay tuition, pay for living expenses and feed myself while being able to go to class on time and study. There are good days and bad days, days where people are nice to you and your coworkers are in good moods and days where just about everything that could possibly go wrong…actually goes wrong.
With Black Friday around the corner, you're probably starting to prepare yourself for 12 hours (if not longer) shifts of running around the floor like a maniac and dealing with cranky, demanding customers at the cash register.
Here are a few tips on how you can survive the chaos by yours truly:
1. Plan out your schoolwork/personal life so it doesn't collide with your work scheduleGiphy
There's only a few weeks left until finals, and Thanksgiving is all about spending time with your familia which means you'll feel double the pressure to somehow knock out a super long shift and still make it home to say hi to grandma and write that 15-page research paper. Do yourself a favor and take my advice—don't do all of that on the same day.
2. Be nice to peopleGiphy
Sounds cliche as hell, but most customers (I'm not saying all of them) will actually be nice to you in return. I get it—you are overwhelmed, you feel exhausted physically/mentally and customers are giving you an attitude, but rolling your eyes at someone is only going to make them feel more pissed off about the fact that their coupon cannot be combined with any other Black Friday offers.
3. Don't fight backGiphy
Customers will say the meanest, cruelest, most tear wrenching things to you. In my many years of working as a cashier, sales associate, barista, server, pastry cook, I've heard my fair share of racist Asian comments, the classic "you're cute can I get your number" and the "you should be fired" or "you're the worst _____ I've ever dealt with and I've been a regular customer here for __years". Of course, you want to fight back and defend yourself but, have you ever thought that these people simply just get a kick out of making fun of you only so you could entertainingly fight back at them?
So, here's my rule of thumb—if they say something to offend you, just shrug it off. Smile at them, even if they're ranting in your face. Give them that free biscotti cookie they think they should be compensated with and politely ask to serve the next customer. They'll usually back down after that.
4. Maintain that poker faceGiphy
Straighten up, little soldier! Keep up that badass "I can do it" mantra even though you're dying on the inside. Frowning and making sad puppy faces at people won't make your life any easier. If you lost all your energy to smile, just try to maintain that stoic poker face.
5. Don't rely solely on the help of your co-workersGiphy
That co-worker who promises to fill in for your 6 am shift is likely going to black out the night before, just like you. The manager who claims to be understanding when it comes to working overtime will be equally exhausted and start randomly yelling in the break room. There's nothing wrong with relying on them for support—teamwork makes the dream work after all—but Black Friday can throw everyone off plan. So, be prepared for anything, and to work independently.
6. Wear a fanny packGiphy
This is not a drill. Fanny packs can do wonders. Don't try to stuff everything into the pockets of your jeans. Yes, people will look at you weird and your coworkers might make fun of you but take my word for it, it will help you out (in the long run) to have everything on hand.
7. Think all about that MULAHH you're about to make!Giphy
Let's get this bread!! While you will fight through blood, sweat, and tears to get it, remember that you will be compensated for all the pain after the war is over.
Annndd may the (Black Friday) games begin!! Good luck out there!