As a retail worker, and with the biggest shopping season of the year right around the corner, I'm not only preparing for the holiday season, I'm preparing for hell season.
Everyone knows that American consumers go absolutely nuts with spending money during the holidays. In 2013, according to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent an average of $730 on gifts, food, decorations and more, adding up to a grand total of about $602 billion in holiday sales.
And while businesses absolutely revel in the millions of dollars consumers are thrusting into their hands, the retail workers — the faces of these stores — are gearing up for dealing with long lines, impatient customers and the whirlwind of messes they leave in their wake.
Now, I work at a smaller store, so I probably have it a lot easier than the poor souls working in the department stores.
There's less mess to clean up, not nearly as many products to remember places for and less store space I have to run around.
That doesn't change the fact that customers tend to be more high-strung, on edge, impatient and even rude during the holiday shopping season.
Listen, I get it. Everyone is searching for the best deals, the best sales. Everyone is frantic and eager to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list.
The dynamic and fast-paced atmosphere of shopping with thousands of other people in the holiday spirit is simultaneously contagious and energy-draining.
But just because you're coming to my store with credit cards brandished and ready to swipe doesn't give you a pass to be downright rude.
My job is to help you out and answer questions to the best of my ability while you're in my store.
I'm more than happy to offer you assistance, start a dressing room, grab an item off a high shelf and try to get you checked out at the cash wrap as quickly and efficiently as I possibly can.
All I ask is for you keep in mind that you will not be the only customer in my store. I'm working a minimum-wage job during the busiest shopping season of the year and I am not superhuman. I know you're in a hurry, but please be patient with any retail worker you come in contact with this holiday season. Wait your turn in line, smile, be courteous and aware of other customers, try not to leave messes behind and maybe even offer a kind word or two. Literally, just don't be a Scrooge.
Get in the holiday spirit and be kind to others; it's the most wonderful time of the year, after all.