The least wonderful time of the year

Dear non-retail working people,

This letter is for you.

I sincerely hope that when you spend hours and hours at the mall or at Target or WalMart or wherever the heck it is you shop this holiday season, you choose not to be rude to those who are serving you.

Just because they are serving you doesn’t mean they are your servants and deserve to be treated like crap. They are working hard, in jobs that are seen by so many as ‘less than’ or not worth having. Time spent serving you, catering to YOUR needs, is time spent away from their homes, their families and loved ones. They often work long hours on their feet with breaks (bathroom or otherwise) that don’t come often enough. They have to deal with managers who are sometimes incompetent as heck and customers who treat them like garbage because their store happens to be out of something that they just HAAAAAAAAAVE to have RIGHT NOW or they’re gonna diiiiiiiiie. A compliment goes a long way with retail workers this time of year.  If you shop frequently at a particular store and maybe have a good relationship with a salesperson, a simple card would make their day. A small gift card to Starbucks would thrill the living daylights out of them.

Why?

Because when you’re at home, with your family, doing fun things…they’re not. They’re working. Because society has said “WE WANT THIS AND WE WANT IT NOW AND FOREVER!” to certain things like opening early on Thanksgiving Day or the infamous Black Friday, they don’t get to enjoy that time with their families that they should. Because they have to work. Often it’s all hands on deck, since every employee is going to be needed to deal with the crush of crazypants shoppers who just have to get a supposed good deal on that hot holiday item.

The “Christmas Season” isn’t so much a ‘season’ as it is about six weeks of sheer hell that actually starts way back in August or September, before most people even start THINKING about what they’re going to buy anybody for Christmas.

I hope I’m not coming off as preachy or condescending, non-retail working people. This is the toughest time of year for families like mine, when my husband (a retail manager) hardly has time to eat, sleep and shower. Let alone do anything else. In his off time, he sleeps, trying to recover from the four or five or six day stretch he just worked where every shift was at least 10-12 hours, sometimes more. There have been years where he’s worked 24-36 hrs in a row (I wish I were kidding) without any sort of real break aside from meal breaks.

Because that’s what shoppers demand…they want the stores open longer, open later, open for twenty four or more hours at a stretch because if you’re not, then they will take their business elsewhere to somebody who caters more to their insane and incessant demands.

Just..be kind. That’s all I’m asking.  Think before you start berating a store employee. Because maybe they aren’t at their best since they’ve had to work 10 straight hours with only thirty minutes for a break and they’re exhausted and haven’t seen their spouse except for about five minutes before they fell asleep. Or for two minutes in the morning before they ran out the door to work. Maybe they had a long commute and it sucks ass. You don’t know what they’re going through but please..try to not to assume that just because they work retail they’re not worth being kind to.

 

Sincerely,

G

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