1. If you’re shopping, people are working. In order for the store to be open and you to be able to shop, the store has to be staffed. This means that when you choose to shop on “black Thursday” you are choosing for people to work on Thanksgiving instead of spending the day with their families. Stores set their hours to be competitive based on demand. If there’s no demand, there’s no hours that day.
2. The cashier is not in charge of store policy. You can give us as much feedback as you want to, but even if we turn around and tell our manager, it’s extremely unlikely that your advice is making it all the way up to corporate. The best thing you can do if you want to be heard is to go online and find the company’s “contact us” section on the website and leave your feedback there. I get it, cashiers and all the other retail workers are your contacts, they are the ones you interact with so it makes sense to talk to them, but they are generally powerless to really help you with a big issue.
3. We actually like people. It’s absolutely miserable to work in customer service if you actually hate people, so misanthropes don’t last long. Depending on where you’re shopping, most of the staff probably really likes helping people and being cheery and customer-service-y. This is especially true of smaller and speciality stores. When I worked at a makeup counter, for instance, everyone I worked with loved working there for the most part. Don’t be intimidated to ask these kinds of people for lots of help, I loved sharing my wisdom and experience with the brand, giving little tips, and genuinely helping people find products they would love.
4. No one is more angry about a misleading coupon than than a retail worker. It’s very frustrating to get to a store, ready to make your purchase, and to be told that for some reason, you can’t. Trust me, your cashier is just as frustrated as you are because you are probably the hundredth person this coupon has frustrated and they have had to talk off the ledge. We’re in solidarity with you, we had these kinds of situations, and believe me that behind the scenes we’re giving as much feedback as possible about how unhelpful it is when you can’t get the deal you think you can get.
5. We aren’t paid well enough to deal with customers screaming at us. No one is, except maybe a therapist. Yell at her if you must.
6. If you’re at a store that offers free gift-wrapping, the workers are probably happy to gift-wrap for you, but if there are other customers in line, please be patient. We need to get those customers on their way before we take a break to wrap for you. This is a big time (and money) saver for you, so relax and browse while the line gets taken care of.
7. If we say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas” please don’t make it into a big political thing. It’s not political, we’re just trying to be nice. In order to be nice you probably shouldn’t run the risk of offending people. Happy holidays is more inclusive than “merry Christmas”, that’s all it is.
8. Please don’t tell us how much you love the holiday music we’re playing. Holiday retail is where Christmas music loving people go to die. No matter how much we once enjoyed it, we no longer do through overexposure, and remembering how much other people love it hurts our hearts.
9. People respond to the moods and social cues of others. If you are consistently complaining about your “crappy retail experiences” the common denominator in all those situations is you. Perhaps it’s your own bad attitude that’s facilitating these experiences. Try being nice, even if you don’t mean it, and see how your service changes.