Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday Shopping From Retail Employee View

I know. Everyone loves a bargain. So do I. But is it absolutely necessary to make retail employees have to work all day Thanksgiving day, eat a hurried Thanksgiving meal with our families when we finally do get to go home because we a) have to get up at 2-4 am to go to work an hour before the store opens at 4-6 am only to verbally abused by the people greedy enough to be waiting outside in the below freezing temperatures because I got to go in before they did, hello, I'm an employee! Then nearly run over by the stampeding mob when the doors open? Whatever happened to just opening at a normal hour with the exact same deals or hey maybe even better deals than the competitor?

This is what happened this year with my family. Thanksgiving day my sister worked a 12 hour shift at the hospital. I worked a 5 hour shift. Black Friday, I walked in KMart at 5:50 am carrying a pie for the employee dinner and was brow beaten by the people at the front of the door waiting to be let in. I managed to flag security down who let me in much to the dismay of the people waiting there.

I've never been so moved by any of the deals waved under our noses on Thanksgiving or the day after to be bothered enough to get out of bed at some ungodly hour of a freezing cold morning, wait in line in that same freezing cold, then be unmercifully unfriendly and disrespectful to the employees of the store who sacrificed their time with family to be there to wait on me hand and foot. What gives? Have we become such a greedy people that we can't be nice to the people making 4 a.m. shopping possible for us? Did any of you say thank you to the employees who stood bleary eyed at the registers? Did you tip that stock boy who hauled that huge television out the door to your car and loaded it up for you? Thank him? Did you thank that little floor girl who dug through returns to find the doll that your daughter/niece/cousin/neighbor wanted so badly. Maybe she climbed up and down ladders to get things off the top shelves? Or went to get a different sized article of clothing while you waited in the dressing rooms?

Yeah, we got a paycheck for it, but it would have been nice to be thanked for doing our job by someone other than our manager. To feel just a little appreciated.

I helped one couple navigate the crowds while looking for items they wanted to find. They dubbed me their personal shopper. they did thank me. The woman even hugged me as she introduced me to one of her friends as Melissa, my personal shopper. I'll remember that for a long long time. I'll remember her and she'll get my undivided attention every time she's there. That's how you get good customer service. You be nice to the employees and they'll make sure they do their best to find what you're looking for. We usually know where that item is you're looking for because a)we put it out on the floor while preparing for the sale b) we saw it as we put out other stuff for the sale, c) we saw some customer lay it down elsewhere in the store d) we saw a customer decide not to get it and leave it at a register e) we saw a customer return it and know it is still in a cart at customer service. f) we happen to know one of our other stores has several in overstock and might even be able to call ahead to have one held for you.

All the above becomes null and void the minute you say "Walmart was better organized." "WalMart is bigger than this store." "Why can't you be more like WalMart?" "Target has this cheaper" Walmart has this cheaper."#*&%#!*!" and that last expletive just might get you completely left where you're standing. OR even a "Then go to Walmart/Target/CVS/Walgreens" whatever. If you're going to insult a store for its size, it's not having an advertised item then go elsewhere, leave us employees alone, we can't make the store bigger or make that Nintendo Wii magically appear. We don't have the budget to have all registers open. Not all of our employees showed up so even if the registers were all open, we lacked the staff. We were only allotted so many of each advertised item so if you weren't there at the butt cold crack of dawn when the doors opened, then it was sold out. Sorry. Just proves my point. Let us open at our regular hours. If Walmart sold out, we will still have the items at our price, just later in the day so you can have a cup of coffee and be in a better mood when you get to our store.

I'm a nice person. I'm a nice employee. I'm even a pretty friendly and nice blogger. But nice only goes so far. I also look at it this way, if you're reading blogs, I'm fairly certain you're capable of surfing the net for the best price around, hey! You might even be able to find that Nintendo Wii, avoid the crowds, not freeze half to death, and still look good!

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This Country Girl

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Part time wanna be pundit. Full time wife and mom. I work part time, own my own business, and homeschool my kids. It's a busy busy life these days.