Archive for November, 2014

Black Friday-The Aftermath

Well I did it. I survived another Black Friday working retail. I have a lot of mixed emotions about this retail holiday this year. My sister and I have been going shopping on Black Friday for the last 12 years in a row and this was the first year we didn’t go together. She’s 9 months pregnant and I had to work at 4am so that kind of put a damper on our tradition this year. It’s not really the shopping that I look forward too, but the time I get to spend with her just enjoying the season and each other. For some reason, this year we both just weren’t happy with what Black Friday has become. The sales weren’t that great and there wasn’t anything we just HAD to have and it seemed like all of the fun and excitement had been sucked away. I hope it will transition back into something more enjoyable and less about all the grumpy people grumbling about anything they can that might go wrong. There is a slight chance of that, right?

Since October I have been doing a lot of reading about what it means to be an Empath and how to cope with my emotions a little better. I have been trying to compartmentalize the emotions I have been feeling that aren’t mine and distinguish them from my own. It’s been a bit of a slow process. Lucky me though, I work in retail and can have plenty of practice in large crowds. Today really put that to a test. I have been up since 3 am and as hard as I tried when I got off work, I just couldn’t turn my brain off enough to nap. The amount of people that I interacted with today and the different emotions I’ve felt has been interesting to say the least. It is exhausting to try and protect yourself from the emotions of those around you when you are highly sensitive to them. Impatience, frustration, and anger were among the top of the list for the customers in our store today. This, I am realizing, is why I had trouble trying to nap when I got home.  I am so keyed up with all of these feelings, that I couldn’t settle down.

Constantly trying to block unwanted emotions while working with hundreds of people is just crazy. I need to learn how to do that better. My body aches, my head hurts, and my anxiety levels have been through the roof today. I know it is common after a long shift to be tired, but I am so glad I know why I am so much more than just tired. Black Friday shopping isn’t for the faint of heart, neither is working retail on Black Friday. Especially for someone like me. Here’s to hoping I can learn to better block myself and get back to enjoying Black Friday!


Retail Workers Are People Too

I’m just going to be real for a minute. The holidays are here and for many of us that work retail, it means a lot of extra long hours and about five times as many customers as the rest of the year. I get it. We choose to work retail and we know what is required of us. That being said, we are still people. I urge you to think about that while you are doing your shopping this year.

Now I know it can be frustrating and infuriating when things aren’t going the way you want them too. The lines are long. The check reader jams. The loyalty card system is malfunctioning. The register freezes. The sales are coming up wrong. The one perfect gift for your great Aunt Mary is all sold out. There are no more carts available. The list is endless.  Please understand that we are doing everything in our power to help you get the best deal you can get in the most efficient way possible. No amount of yelling, belittling, or ‘I want to speak to your manager’ is going to make it a smoother process. When has it become the ‘norm’ to talk to retail workers as if they are less than you? I love my job as a Customer Service Desk Associate. Is it the most glamorous job in the world? No. But I love interacting with people and help solving problems. What I don’t enjoy is having a customer treat me as if I am nothing but a nuisance.

For example, when you walk up to my counter you expect me to give you my full attention, I only ask the same of you. When I have to ask you the same question three times because you are texting or talking on your cell phone and then you roll your eyes at me as if I am being rude to you, that is not ok. Not only are you making your transaction longer and more difficult, you are also causing the people in line behind you to wait longer.

Since the holidays are upon us, here are some things to keep in mind while you are out shopping!

1. Never is it acceptable for you to yell, curse, or call a retail employee a name other than their given name/nametag name. You would think this would be a given. Unfortunately, it is not. For some reason, people feel the need to resort to name calling when things aren’t going their way. This is completely inappropriate and will not help to solve anything. Speaking from experience, the moment you call me a b****, is the moment I am less inclined to help resolve your issue.

2. Never is it acceptable for you to throw merchandise at an employee. Yes, I understand there was a problem with your purchase and yes I will help fix it. This does not require you to throw the item on the counter and demand that I “take care of it.” I will be delighted to help you even without all the theatrics.

3. Never is it acceptable for you to be on your cell phone during any point of your retail transaction. It is just plain rude. We do not want to hear all about your baby daddy drama or how your sister’s boyfriend’s brother got messed up at a party on Friday night, we want to help you quickly and efficiently. And whatever you do, do not hold your finger up at us and tell us to “hold on.” Newsflash, you are in line for a service. Once it is your turn, it’s your turn. I can just as easily help the next person in line if you would like to head to the back of the line and finish your call.

4. Never is it acceptable for you to pass judgment on a retail worker because they are a retail worker. Retail is hard work. It includes long hours standing on your feet while handling hundreds of transactions all while trying to maintain a pleasant attitude. We are blamed by customers for everything that goes wrong and hardly ever praised by them for a job well done. We work hard for our paychecks and deserve to be treated well. Yelling “you need to get me a manager because you clearly are not one” is not only inappropriate, but it makes the associate feel small and insignificant.

5. Please be patient. The lines are going to be longer than normal. Just know that we are doing everything in our power to get you in and out in a timely fashion. And no, I can’t open another register. If I had another cashier, I would gladly open another line, but that clearly isn’t the case. People call off. I can’t magically make another cashier appear out of thin air. And yes we  do have to take breaks. It’s state law.

6. Please be respectful. There is no need to get snippy or argumentative.

7. Please use your manners! A kind word of thanks is always appreciated.

8. Please do not turn a neatly stacked pile of clothes into a complete disaster while searching for a size. It took someone a good amount of time to make sure all the clothes were folded neatly, please be respectful of that.

If we can all just be a little more understanding , I think this could be a great holiday shopping season! In the words of the great Ellen DeGeneres, “Be kind to one another.”

Breaking Out of My Box

It has been over a week now since I received a life-changing reading. I feel like I have been living on a high. There is something so freeing about having clarity and a direction to pursue when it comes to my emotions. I have realized this week that I had been trying to fit myself into a tiny, neat little box. Always questioning why I was such a hot mess. Trying to hide the fact that my emotions were mirroring those around me. I felt like I had no right to feel the way I did. Those people were experiencing their situations first hand and who was I to think that I could even begin to understand what they were going through? I felt selfish and self-centered. Above all, I felt confused. I have never been one to be all about myself. With me, it has always been about helping others and putting their needs above my own. So why was I feeling it necessary to relate my friends’ experience to myself? I was lost and I didn’t even know it.

This week I have begun to learn that I don’t need to hide my emotions. I shouldn’t have to try and force myself into a tiny, neat little box. Life is messy. Things aren’t always black and white and they won’t always be able to be put into specific categories. As people, we try so hard to fit into ‘social norms’ and we are losing our individuality in the process. We weren’t created to all be the same. Every single person has individual thoughts, feelings, and experiences, all of which are valid. No two people are exactly alike. Why do we feel the need to squash ourselves to fit in? If losing myself is the price, I don’t want to fit in any longer.  I am breaking out of my box and man does it feel good!

A Revelation

I learned something about myself this week. I guess it is something that I have known about myself for a long time but never knew what it meant or that there was a deeper meaning behind it. But the moment it was spoken to me, something just clicked. You can call it a moment of profound clarity or maybe an awakening of sorts if you wish, but all I know is now I can’t un-hear it.

I am going to ask that you keep an open mind as you read this post. This week I met an Angel Reader. Now, before you completely write this post off as a crazy lady’s account of a psychic scam, I urge you to continue. I had a great deal of skepticism going into the reading and I wasn’t sure what to expect at all. All I can tell you is that it was amazing. And in some incredible ways, life affirming. I will spare you the complete details of the group reading, all you need to know is that this woman was spot on with everything she was saying to everyone at the reading. She read our Auras, gave us a spirit reading, and allowed us to ask questions. I am still blown away by the experience, and still processing.

While reading my Aura, she informed me that I am a bright blue which is apparently indicative of an Empath. She asked me if I liked going to malls. I explained that they weren’t among my favorite places and that I typically don’t like large crowds. She said that is actually quite common among Empaths due to the fact that they tend to absorb feelings and emotions of people around them and large crowds tend to be emotionally overwhelming. We talked about my tendency to feel emotionally connected to those around me. How I am the person that others are drawn to when they need to talk. That when my friends are experiencing grief, I am deeply affected by it. My whole life I have always been the ’emotional one.’ The crier. The soft heart. After speaking with this woman, my outlook has completely changed. Everything she was saying made so much sense to me.

For as long as I can remember, I have always felt emotions deeply. When I am talking with someone and I tell them that I know how they feel, it’s not just a cliché. I really know how they are feeling. It’s hard to explain, but I really can feel it deep down in my soul. This is why I cry when I read a tragic news article, or feel a deep sense of sadness when a friend is experiencing a difficult situation. Movies, books, and even TV shows have a profound effect on me. I am so emotionally invested in every aspect of my life and that is just how it has always been. I’ve always just written it off as me being overly emotional. That I was just a hot mess, and even though I couldn’t explain why I was crying after watching Say Yes to the Dress, I was ok with me. After hearing what this reader had to say to me, it was like being able to see my whole life in a different perspective. One that made sense. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.

For example: I absolutely love watching Glee. I think the draw for me was the musical aspect. I have always said that I wish my life had a soundtrack and that my life would be complete if I could burst out in random song and dance. Last year one of the main actors passed away unexpectedly and the show did a tribute episode for the actor. I started crying exactly  1 minute into the episode and continued crying well past the ending of it. For the next two weeks, I felt really impacted by it. I kept replaying the songs and scenes in my head and I couldn’t shake the intense sadness I felt for a man I had never met before. Now looking back, I understand where that intense sadness came from. There is so much freedom in finally knowing why my emotions are always so intense.

I know it sounds crazy. I’m  still trying to process it myself. I am doing a lot of online reading and research and it all makes perfect sense to me. I am not crazy. Being able to connect with people on such a deep emotional level is really a beautiful thing. This is a really exciting revelation for me and I cannot wait to learn more about it and about myself in turn.

Stay tuned, this is going to be amazing.