My oldest son and I ventured out on Black Friday because we enjoy chaos and people trying to step on us. There was a speaker he really wanted, had earned the money himself, and was elated while checking out the sales to discover if we got up early enough he could get it for $50 off and “Omg, Mom, if we don’t go early they are going to sell out. Then what will we do?” Apparently by the tone in his voice, the world would end if they sold out before we arrived.
Being the super amazing mom that I am, I was all, “Sure, let’s do it son.” And so we did. For the most part, people were happily exchanging pleasantries and spreading goodwill and cheer. I even saw a few reindeer and Santa hats floating around. I was soaking it all up, feeling extra festive myself.
However, as we preceded to check out, the man in front of us morphed from a respectable adult, chatting it up with other customers, to a dick right before my eyes because his mixer didn’t ring up on sale. Not just any dick but a huge mansplaining dick who thought it would help the cashier and his mixer to ring up correctly if he slammed his keys on the counter. Seems as though he is very busy and important and had places to be, and he wanted her to override the price — or else. I am a firm believer that if you are an asshole to someone who works in retail because of something completely out of their control, you are an actual asshole in real life.
The cashier flipped the switch so her light was in blinking mode as to alert a manager for help and remained stoic. I started to wonder if retail training comes with a few seminars on how to deal with the assholery of people who seem to think they are above the rest of us. She handled herself much better than I would have. I narrowed my eyes at him. He didn’t notice, but it certainly made me feel better.
As soon as the manager arrived, the asshole got his problem resolved (in under two minutes) but he was still very mad at the entire world. The nice lady deserved a “thank you for getting that done so quickly despite the fact I just threw a temper tantrum that puts any 2-year-old to shame.” She didn’t get the apology she deserved, of course. Because, asshole.
I guess he could have still let her know he was in a hurry, and he had somewhere to be and was frustrated. However, I don’t know that you need to tell retail workers these things because they can’t make magic happen either way. At minimum the tone he used could have been different. It was as if suddenly he decided she didn’t deserve any type of courtesy at all because she was behind the counter. Suddenly all the frustrations of his life were propelled at her. Maybe his pants were too tight from too much Thanksgiving Day carbs and turkey. Maybe he needed caffeine. Maybe his wife was pissed at him. Who the fuck knows. It doesn’t matter why he was upset — it wasn’t the fault of the employee who was just attempting to earn a paycheck.
As I made my way to the counter, I strummed up some light conversation and asked her how long she had been there.
“My shift just started,” she said. I asked her about her family. “I have three little ones. I won’t see them tonight though. They have a hard time when I’m not there to tuck them in, so of course I have major mom guilt today.” So while she is on her feet for 10 hours and missing her kids, the cherry on top is that every once in a while someone decides to treat her like she is less-than simply because they can. As we all know, most stores have a “The customer is always right” policy, and retail workers have to honor that.
My point is that the people who work in retail work damn hard, and they put up with a lot of crap, so don’t be an asshole.
This time of year, most of the stores look as though thousands of sugar-soaked kids have been let loose and told to go shake shit up. But it’s the adults who are doing the shaking. And our kids are witnessing it.
If you decide you don’t want something you have plucked from a nice display, take the effort to walk over and put it back where it goes. Don’t leave that pair of underwear you don’t really want anymore hung by the pots and pans. I heard someone say this was “job security” once, and I wanted to ram my cart into his ankles.
Yes, retail workers are there to assist you and help you find what you need, but they should not be expected to pick up shit you left on the floor because you are in too much of a hurry to take the two minutes to put it back. They want to make your shopping experience pleasant, but they aren’t there to take abuse or be humiliated in front of a line of strangers — a line that often reaches out the damn door this time of year.
It seems the same assholes who make the biggest messes are the same ones who want the store in perfect shape when they waltz in, so they can find the item they are looking for as quickly as possible. You know, because assholes are usually very busy and have much more important things to do than shop for gifts.
If you are walking into a store and decide you really want to get into that sweater display, just be mindful. Yes, they are there for you to feel and look at and try on, but you can do so without fucking up the whole display. Someone has to spend hours refolding said sweaters. The same hard-working men and women that zip up dresses for strangers, who find dirty diapers in dressing rooms, who offer to throw away your kids sticky Slurpee cup so they don’t find it behind the flannel sheets later and need a crowbar to pry it off the shelf.
These kind folks are there to make your shopping experience a pleasant one; however, they can not accept your coupon if it is expired. And sometimes registers get bogged down and freeze, and the employee can’t do anything about this. They are not doing it to piss you off, honestly. They have absolutely no control over these matters and get just as frustrated as you do. I highly doubt they want to throw out a fist pump when someone tries to return a cashmere sweater that has been washed and shrunk down so much it could fit a Barbie. They want to throw your sweater in the bin, give you some money back, and move on with their day too.
It’s the holidays for fuck’s sake. You can still get what you want without being a complete jerk. Yes, you work hard, you have a lot on your plate and are trying to do a million things, but guess what? So are they. If you can’t go into an actual store and not be a complete jackass just stay at home and shop from your sofa. Amazon Prime was made for folks like you. The world will be a better place without your demoralizing ass publicly humiliating innocent people.
If you are not a gigantic Grinch and are able to keep your wits about you while you shop this holiday season, make sure to give a smile or a kind word to the folks busting their butts at your favorite stores. You can lift their spirits, make them feel appreciated. It will help make up for the kind of a-holes we just discussed, I hope. They deserve it.
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