It’s hard to believe, but the holiday shopping season is upon us.

I mean, the department store where I work already has a Christmas shop set up with little trinkets, trees, ornaments and even pre-made hot chocolate powder. It’s barely the end of October, are you serious?

Seeing all these Christmas decorations really gives me anxiety.

“Should I start buying presents?”, “What if I forget to buy someone something?”, “Will I be responsible for cooking something “homemade” for our annual Christmas Party?”, “Is Starbucks selling the Caramel Brulée Latte yet?”, and most importantly “What hours am I going to work Christmas Eve?”

I think now, with the holidays creeping up on us, is an appropriate time to discuss the “Rules of Retail," for all of those crazy shoppers that sales associates just love so much.

Rule 1: Do not yell at us ... for any reason. I understand that the line you’re waiting in to pay for your items might be long, but we didn’t tell you to go shopping two nights before Christmas when everyone else decided to go shopping. Be patient or shop online. Also it doesn’t help when you scream at us then add-in “I know it’s not your fault, but…”. If you know it’s not our fault then why are you acting like it is?

Rule 2: We did not build this store for you. Shocker. I understand that some people seem to think they were born into royalty, but, unfortunately, it’s probably not true. Our attention cannot be 100 percent on you, when we are the only person our department on Black Friday during the middle of the day. I think everyone deserves wonderful customer service, don’t get me wrong, just understand that sales associates only get paid a measly $8-ish an hour, and we can’t afford (literally and figuratively) to be your personal shopper.

Rule 3: Don’t bring your toddler shopping. Just kidding (kind of.) And by “kind of” what I really mean is that, if your child is well-behaved (and even if they aren’t) keep an eye on your children. I love seeing sweet babies and toddlers and teenagers. I think it’s awesome that families get together to spend quality time shopping, what I don’t think is awesome is when your two kids take all the pillows from the department and put them in a circle on the dirty floor forming a “meditation circle” (yes, two toddlers actually did this) and then start hopping on each pillow like it is musical chairs. Don’t let that be your child. Honestly, I could go on with this rule because too many times parents think stores and store employees are free day care and they aren’t. Pay me what you would pay a daycare worker then we could talk.

Rule 4: “There’s no price on here? That must mean it's free." …Ha..Ha..Ha. Every sales associate has heard this “joke” 150,000,000 times. Please don’t say it. It’s not funny and it’s not free. I feel like I should tag other “jokes” on to this rule. There are (usually) no additional discounts that we have not specified. If the item is damaged, why do you want it? Is that extra 15 percent off is really going to make you want to buy something that’s broken. Ok, enjoy your ripped handbag. A little caveat, if you want additional discounts most stores email them to you (REAL discounts, people, not just advertisements). So, when your sales associate asks for an email, give it to them instead of passing out from saying “No” an ungodly amount of times.

Rule 5: DO NOT arrive 15 minutes before the store closes and expect to get all your shopping done. *Most Important Rule* Since our store (or any store) has been open, the closing time has always been the same, except during the holidays when we stay open an extra hour (and people still come crawling in 10 minutes before we close). Oh, you forgot your Grandma’s Christmas present and need to find one on Christmas Eve, an hour before we close? Does Christmas not come the exact same time every year? As previously mentioned, do Americans not prepare for Christmas two and a half months early? Your problem then is, in fact, YOUR problem. We stay open seven days a week. You had PLENTY of time to shop and chose not to, bye.

In all honesty, sales associates aren’t that hateful and most of us enjoy what we do and enjoy helping people shop. There are a few “bad apples” that ruin our holiday spirit and that is who this list of rules was created for. Please enjoy your holiday shopping season and please, please be kind to your sale associates!