It's three days before Christmas. You meant to get your holiday shopping done much earlier, but you've been tied up with work and everything, so you're only getting around to it now. And yes, you are STRESSED.
The mall is packed, certain products are sold out, and you're worrying that you won't be able to get your kids the presents that they've been wishing for.
It's a Christmas miracle! There's one store that has the majority of the things that you need. So you stock up your shopping cart and head to the register to check out. But ugh. The line is so. damn. long. Even the sight of it pisses you off. You take out your coupons and your credit card so you'll be ready when it's your turn. You try your best to stay patient, but people keep cutting in front of you, and the line is barely moving, and you're over this whole experience.
So by the time it's your turn to check out, you're in a bad mood. The store clerk smiles and asks how you're doing and if you found everything that you're looking for. You mumble something under your breath. She begins to scan all of the items in your cart and puts them in bags. A few of the items' labels aren't scanning properly, so she has to manually type in the bar codes.
Finally, she finishes scanning and bagging everything, and you hand her your coupons. Your "20 percent off" coupon goes through. Your "free item" coupon goes through. But your "$10 off of $30" coupon isn't working. The employee tells you that's because you can't use so many coupons in one purchase. And that's when you snap.
You start yelling at her, telling her that the company sent you the coupons, so they SHOULD work. She tries to explain the problem to you again, and it only makes you more pissed off. You tell her that she's "useless" and to go and get a manager or someone that is "far more qualified" than she is. No longer smiling, she heads to the backroom to get her manager. The people behind you in line groan and complain because you're taking more time.
When the manager comes by, she hears about the whole situation and manually overrides the pricing so that you can get your third coupon. She doesn't want the situation to get any more intense, and she knows that it's better to finish your transaction so they can just move on to the next one. After you pay for everything, the manager hands you your bags and says that she hopes you have "very happy holidays." You take your bags, still frustrated, and leave without saying a word.
Maybe that situation sounds familiar to you. Or maybe it's not 100 percent accurate, but you've probably been guilty of snapping at cashiers and retail workers before.
If that's true, then I'd like to remind you this holiday season (along with every other day of the year) to try your very best to treat these workers with the same respect that you'd like to receive.
I think that people all-too-often forget that retail workers are real people too! We have emotions, we get stressed, we get frustrated, we get tired. We're not robots that live and breathe to serve you. And we're not human punching bags that you can take all of your anger and frustration out on. We're just trying to the best that we can at our jobs and to make money along the way. It's not our fault if a product is out of stock, if something isn't discounted as much as you want it to be, if you have to wait, etc. It is your responsibility to buy things early before they sell out, and shop at less-crowded times.
If you treat your family and friends (and even strangers) with compassion and respect, it's time that you make a better effort to treat retail workers with a little more compassion and respect as well. I can promise that we will appreciate it more than you know.