Article first published as Shopping During the Holiday Season on Technorati.
This is the time of year when people flocked to retail stores in search of presents for family, friends, and co-workers. Tokens of appreciation are bought for individuals who have aided or provided us with service. Malls and major retailers attract the largest number of shoppers. This causes the workers in these stores to move at a never ending pace. What is surprising is how exasperated customers become when they aren’t instantly waited on or checked out. Waiting 5 to 10 minutes suddenly becomes an eternity. In a world of instant gratification,the retail worker cannot keep up.
I decided to do some shopping on Monday. I thought this would be better than shopping on the weekend. Even though it was early,the stores where already crowded. My first stop was ToysRus. Luckily I didn’t have to purchase any electronics because this area was bombarded. They had 4 staff members working exclusively in this section. Adults were shouting out what video games they needed behind the locked displays. Who was first and who had been waiting the longest was constantly stated. Of course these people didn’t know if certain games worked on certain systems. I have to credit the staff with being patient and knowledgeable.
When I got to the checkout, one line was open. The young woman ringing people up was moving as fast as she could. Questions about price and what the circular promised kept coming up. When it was my turn I could see that the cashier was already harried and sweating. It was only 9:45 AM. I told her to slow down. That she wasn’t going to make it through the day. She smiled and gave a little laugh. The register next to her finally opened providing some much needed help.
In the mall, the situation repeatedly played itself out. The smaller stores weren’t overwhelmed, but Sears, Macy’s, etc. had larger crowds and longer lines. People were talking out loud on how ridiculous it was that the line was going so slow. There was little regard for the person who was doing the best they could. On top of sales, they dealt with returns and questions about stock. They also have to give the obligatory plea to open an account today and save 20%.
My guess is that these retailers probably staff the stores heavily on the weekend when shoppers are out in force, and then cut back early in the week. What we have to remember is that many of these workers and enduring long hours for minimal pay. They are doing their best they under the circumstance and are trying to earn a paycheck. Once in a blue moon you may encounter someone who is discourteous, but for the most part they are polite and helpful. Smile when you get to the checkout. Say something nice and you may get better service. A thank you and wishing them Happy Holidays might bring a moment of relief.