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Respecting the Retail Workers this Holiday Season

As Halloween and pumpkin flavor have come and gone, the season of Holiday tunes and peppermint is among us. Meaning Christmas is coming and the gift shopping is starting. The most popular day of the year for this holiday shopping is Black Friday, the day right after Thanksgiving. The traditions range from looking at all of the different promos at Thanksgiving dinner, then taking off at midnight to get all the door-busters, to having your mom pick you up after she’s gone through all the insane lines and early morning hours. As the tradition continues, stores start opening earlier and earlier. This year, it is even said that JCPenny will be opening at 3:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day.  

With all the great deals and chaos going on around you, it’s easy to forget about one person running around trying to gain some control of the situation, the retail worker. While you’re charging for the flat-screen TV, they’re shouting at you to take a ticket because the deal doesn’t start until 1:00 am and it’s only 11:30. For some reason the sanity on Black Friday seems to diminish and all anyone seems to care about are the deals and not the other customers that are trying to find other items or the workers who are trying to keep everyone in line and being paid to be there for you. 

As you’re eating your Thanksgiving dinner, retail workers all over the country will be heading off to their stores, prepping for it to open. Getting the overview of the deals and mentally preparing themselves for what they’re going to be having to deal with over the coming hours. The lines will start forming hours before the store opens. As people are lined up with their families and friends, retail works will be inside taking their last drink of water and lining up at their cash registers.  

People seem to forget that these workers are paid minimum wage and have to deal with disrespectful shoppers yelling in their face instead of being at home celebrating with their families. Some retail workers don’t even get to go home for the holidays due to the amount of workers needed to cover the amount of customers entering the store. Last year, at a medium sized popular retail store, there were approximately 22 workers employed just for the 6:00 pm to 12:00 am hours. 

You don’t know what’s going on in the back room; if there are piles of clothes stacked and no where to put them because everything is full. Don’t get annoyed and make passive aggressive comments if the credit card readers are down, they have no control over that. When they ask if you if you want to open a store credit card, at least let them finish their pitch before you politely decline, it’s their job to ask you. If they tell you there isn’t something in the back of the store, it isn’t in the back of the store. There isn’t a sewing machine used to make a pair of pants that were sold out. 

As you’re doing your holiday shopping this season, remember that retail workers are just trying to do their job. They aren’t trying to annoy you or sell you stuff you don’t need. They’re just trying to help you find the items you’re looking for without destroying everything you touch in your path. You don’t know what their experiencing, they could have to use the bathroom but can’t leave to do that because there’s a constant rush of people. They’re just normal human beings trying to get through the Holiday season without being yelled at by customers, so try making their lives a little easier – smile, say thank you and wish them a happy holiday season!

I'm a junior at MNSU studying International Business and a minor in Marketing and Computer Science! I'm from St. Francis, MN which is north of the Twin Cities by about an hour. In my free time I like spending the money I don't have on concert tickets and food. A fun fact is I studied abroad in London and I joined Her Campus because I was super excited about it coming to MNSU and definately wanted to get involved!
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