Confessions of a Retail Worker During the Holiday Season

The holiday season typically consists of family get-togethers, endless hours baking in the kitchen, and tons of excuses to go shopping. Like most, people will do anything for a good deal. Holiday retail brings out a different breed of people, seriously.

Working with the public already isn’t easy in itself. Just when you think you've seen it all working in retail, the holiday season creeps upon us. Working retail during the holiday season brings the good, the bad, and the crazy. 

Let’s start with the good:

I love meeting new people, and working in retail gives me the opportunity to meet hundreds of new people each day. Helping someone find the perfect gift for someone else and knowing it will put a smile on his or her face makes it worth it.

I enjoy getting to work with the people that respect you and what you do. Like the people that give you a simple “thank you,” after helping. I enjoy engaging with customers, learning about their plans for the holiday season, and feeling the love that the season brings.

But unfortunately, retail life during the holiday season is not always good:

I find myself spending more time working than spending time with family. Even though I am making money, I do feel like I'm missing out on the special moments of the holiday with my loved ones.

And while I am spending an ungodly amount of time at work, customers love to test my patience. I suddenly turn into “Santa’s slave” and am demanded to find the best gift, in the right size, color, and everything else, wrapped perfectly in a nice bow.

Customers have no limit when it comes to pricing. No, you cannot use that coupon that expired three months ago and no I cannot give you an additional 20% just because you want it. I totally understand the concept of getting the lowest price possible, but please do not get upset with me when “sales” are set by corporate and there is nothing I can do about it.

And even when I think I’ve seen all the bad, the crazy walks in.

I love Starbucks coffee as much as the next person but please don’t spill it on an entire stack of clothes and then decide to walk out of the store.

I now understand why parents use those leashes for their children. I’ve seen my fair share of endlessly crying children due to lost parents. It’s not only a headache for the sales associates, but for everyone else in the store.

The best people by far are the ones that realize at 8pm on Christmas Eve that Christmas is the next day and frantically come to the mall. I will never understand the Christmas shopper procrastinator, but hey, don’t get mad at me when your Christmas gifts are slim pickings.

With all this being said, the holiday season is about spreading joy and being grateful for one another. Remembering this small reason for the season will bring ease to your holiday shopping for both shoppers and sales associates alike.

From a sales associate's perspective, working during the holiday season ends up being a worth-while experience, especially when you get that pay-check at the end of the season.