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.”