Tis the season for the Great American Shopping Frenzy, also know as the Holiday/Christmas season (depending on the level of political correctness you maintain). We have made our lists, checked the sale circulars twice, but we often forget that even shoppers can be naughty, and I am here to tell you how to be nice.

Unless you have worked retail, you have no clue what we go through in those stores. Before I went back to school in my early 30’s to pursue my undergraduate degree, I worked in apparel retail for nearly 14 long and excruciating years, the bulk of that experience as a General Manager for companies like Gap, Express and NY&Co. Throughout those many holiday seasons working on the front lines, I have seen it all, and, after getting the hell out a few years back, I can’t help but notice customers haven’t gotten any better, and unfortunately some don’t even know what they are doing wrong.

So, don’t want to be an asshole customer this holiday season? Here is how:

Don’t Shop On Thanksgiving Day – Shopping on this day not only facilitates corporate greed, it makes you the biggest asshole of them all. This holiday was one of the last guaranteed days off in retail. Most retail employees work on all the major holidays, such as Labor Day, July Fourth, Memorial Day, etc. Now, employees are pretty much forced into work, since not many people actually “volunteer” to work this day. Many of those who work retail can not afford to take many days off, so having a day with family is evermore important on a holiday that celebrates togetherness and gratitude.


Don’t Correct The Holiday Greeting – If you have a problem with the saying “Happy Holidays,” which only serves to be cheerful, then the problem is with you, and not us. Many retailers went to the “Happy Holidays” mantra because it is all encompassing, non-religious, and includes the entire Bermuda Triangle of Holidays where countless souls of retail workers have been lost: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. So, if you are trying to put the Christ back in Christmas, do so at church or in your community, and not while shopping for socks at Target.


Don’t Knock On The Front Door 1 Minute Before Opening Time – Employees know it is almost opening time, and they are aware of your presence since you have been giving the stare of death for about 10 minutes. There is a lot to do to get a store ready for opening time, including having a small rally with your employees to kick off the day and communicate any important information (propaganda). You knocking and staring is not cute and only causes a disruption, and makes us hate you even more.


Don’t Run In 1 Minute To Closing Time – Closing Hours are not suggestions, and while many retailers will allow you to come in right up until closing time, it doesn’t mean you should meander and browse for another 45 minutes.  You do realize these employees not only need to clean up, from the day’s mess, but are under strict time constraints to do so? Do you know how hard it is to refold a table of pocket tee’s with you picking through them? If you come in right at closing, make it a quick in and out situation, because the employees would like to make it out by 2am.


No, We Can’t Open Another Register – I know it seems silly that there can be a wretched line of people with only a few register open. Unfortunately, being a raging bitch about the line to the cashier will not help you. You think we haven’t thought of opening another register already?

Understand this: large companies tell the store exactly how much payroll they can spend, and it is up to each store to apply that payroll as effectively as possible within those limits. This means everything from cashiers, to management, to stock, and sales. And, if they don’t consistently hit those payroll targets, they will lose their jobs. So, the next time you are annoyed, trust that there really is not much they can do at the store level, and instead you can smile and try to empathize with the cashiers as they are standing at that register, ringing up sales for hours at a time. You think your feet hurt from walking the mall? Try standing in one spot for 8 hours asking every other asshole out there to open a credit card that you know is all lies filled with a crazy high APR that will completely offset the meager 15% you saved.


Don’t Make Major Life Decisions While Checking Out – The price is the same as it was on the sign ten minutes ago, and as the one on the price tag. Can’t decide on a color? What were you doing in line for the past 10 minutes? Forgot your coupon at home? So did everyone else. Move it or lose it.


No, We Don’t Have a Public Restroom – And, no you cannot use the one in the back. Why? First, if you come to the back, we have to stand there while you piss/poop/both, which means we are also listening to you, much to our chagrin. Secondly, it takes an employee off the floor/register. Lastly, someone has to clean it there, and, well, customers are gross. Use the public restroom in the mall.


If We Are Out Of Stock, We Are Out Of Stock – Yes, I know it is frustrating, but once we are out, we are out until the next shipment comes in, and most likely, we don’t know if what you need will be coming. You asking me a second time, or better yet, another employee, will not make it magically appear. Next time try Amazon.


Don’t Ever Swear At The Staff – I can’t count on both hands the amount of times I had to kick customers out of a store, and in some instances, call the police. There is a lot of crap retail workers have to put up with, but once that line is crossed, it’s “Bye Felicia” for you. Freedom of speech is protected on public property, but in the store, you are on private property, and therefore can be removed. I mean, do you really think saying nasty things to an employee will get you anywhere?


Leave The Kids At Home – This is not a daycare center, and we will not watch your kids. However, if you MUST take your toddler with you, please keep it in a stroller or on a leash, because when that mannequin topples on him or her, it’s going to hurt like a bitch, and it will not be our fault. Also, other customers will hate you, too.


Don’t Fight With Other Customers – Although, when you do, it is entertainment for us. I have seen women physically fight one another over pajama sets and velour track suits to the point of losing acrylic nails and false eyelashes, and it is hilarious. But seriously, don’t fight.


You’re Not The Only One – As in, there are 100 other customers who are in the store too. If you want a personal shopper, go to Bloomingdale’s, otherwise be patient and share.


Don’t Be Disappointed on Christmas Eve – Stores will undoubtedly be out of stock with only slim-pickings left. And, all of those slim-pickings will be heavily discounted and thrown out to the vultures. Stores will be a disaster and busy. Employees will have reached the end of their line and no longer give two shits about you. The store will close at 6 and you will need to get the fuck out. This was probably the only day of the year I would walk around and tell customers they had to check out immediately. Employees have families too, you know. You need a gift? Should have though about that before 10 minutes ago.


So, in conclusion, I recognize that this list is harsh, but so are customers, and unfortunately most employees have to shut their mouths to avoid termination or disciplinary action. So this Holiday Season as you are shopping, smile and be understanding of the struggle retail employees go through. And, if you do any of these things listed above, you can trust me when I say: We are totally talking shit about you in the backroom and over those Madonna inspired headset we are wearing.



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