Posted by: nhfalcon | November 23, 2007

Please Don’t Be A Grinch

Today is Black Friday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. If you’re going to join the throng of humanity venturing out today in search of the hottest toys and the best bargains, do me a favor, will you?

Be nice to the poor slobs on the other side of the cash register, ok?

You chose to be out in that morass of flesh and blood and credit cards – they have to be out in it. Yes, they’re getting paid for it, but seeing as they work in retail, I can guarantee you they’re not getting paid enough for it. You’re in the middle of a four- or five-day weekend. They likely won’t have another day off between now and Christmas.

I understand that it’s frustrating jostling with and getting jostled by the horde of your fellow human beings, dealing with rude, inconsiderate people (who, I will admit, are just as likely to be on the other side of the counter as your own), getting to a store only to find out the only product you went to that store for is sold out, and realizing you didn’t read the fine print for the sale you thought was too good to be true only after you’ve handed over your cash or plastic. I get that. I really do.

But you know what? None of that is the cashier’s or the salesperson’s fault. They’re like cops – they didn’t make the rules, they just enforce them. They didn’t come up with the terms of the sale. They didn’t write up their company’s return policy or customer service policies. So take it easy on them, ok?

I realize that it is inevitable that something this holiday shopping season is going to piss you off. I also realize that 99 times out of 100 that anger is going to be legitimate. All I’m asking is that before you unleash a barrage of vitriol at the long-haired, pimply-faced, minimum-wage-earning teenager on the other side of the cashwrap at WalMart / Target / BJ’s or wherever, you just take a deep breath and remember that he’s probably having even less fun than you, and that whatever it is that’s driving your blood pressure off the charts is not his fault. 

Happy Holidays!


  1. This is a beautiful post. I’m totally linking to it in tomorrow’s entry; I don’t think enough people think of ANYONE but themselves, and this reminder is both timely and necessary. Thank you!

  2. Do you have ANY idea how happy I am to not be working at a mall this year?

    Quite happy.

    Hope it went well for ya.

  3. Cheers bro… though if everyone could take a prozac and Jack, I’d be out of a job as a “conflict resolution specialist” keep this blog in mind as y’all travel too…

  4. […] works in retail (the poor bastard) and has written a post that I think everyone who does any kind of shopping needs to read – and I mean any shopping, in December or otherwise.  He’s hit upon some important truths, […]

  5. My ideal holiday season (which runs, currently, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 as far as I can tell), would be to never enter a store other than perhaps the grocery.
    Hope all is cool for you with the zombie shoppers.

  6. I’ve always thought that if you haven’t worked in a restaurant, you shouldn’t be allowed to eat in one… maybe the same should got for shopping retail.

    Customer service is a two-way street. I always try to explain to folks that EVEN IF YOU ARE CORRECT, you are going to do WAY better by being super-nice to the person in the store than by being a nutjob.

  7. Yeah, what Rich said. There’s a reason I don’t buy anything on Black Friday. So many reasons. I can’t tell you how many because I don’t know how many people are out on Black Friday and there’s one reason for almost every one of them. Bless you for being a soldier in the unwinnable war. I hope they haven’t broken you.

  8. Thank you for all the commentary and well wishes, folks. Bless you.

    No, they have not broken me, and I don’t think they ever will. I’ve been in retail or customer service off and on for over twenty years now. If I haven’t been broken by now, I never will be.

  9. […] Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Remember this post? How about this one? This one? The one thing that really gets me, though, is the number of […]

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