Today is Memorial Day, and in traditional American fashion most retail establishments are having sales, because that's how we honor presidents, military personnel, religious holidays, and laborers. (Except those who labor in retail. I'm sure in September there will be a longer post about my hatred of that particular “holiday”) The reason there are sales is because most people have the day off and would like to spend it shopping with everyone else who has the day off. Now let's do the math: discounts + free time = more customers in stores which means those stores need more staff on hand. Which means that, for the average retail worker, today is not a holiday, it is a super-busy, super-crowded, very stressful, un-fun day of work.
Which is why I have taken it upon myself to help my retail cohorts by sharing some basic rules/ guidelines for shopping on this, or any other, holiday weekend. Despite my aforementioned extra rage, I don't believe that people are intending to be mean. (Mostly. I hope.) I feel it's just a lack of thought or a matter of people functioning on small talk autopilot. Keep in mind – those of us working in retail aren't enjoying a long weekend, hanging out with the family/ friends, or picking up a bargain before heading off to the lake, we're working. Hard.
Armed with that knowledge here are some things not to say to retail people today (And what we would like to say in response):
“Isn't the weather perfect for the long weekend?”
(I don't know, I've been inside this building all day, and it's not a long weekend for me)
“I'm so glad you're open on the holidays so I can shop on my day off!”
(Thank you for reminding me that you have an extra day off and I don't.)
“So you have any big plans for the holiday?”
(Work. Then drink a double shot for every asinine sale-related question I've been
forced to answer over the last four days.)*
“Wow, you guys are really busy this weekend.”
(*sarcasm* Really?! I hadn't noticed.)
It's usually best just to avoid mentioning that it's a holiday at all. We're very well aware as there are huge sale signs hanging all around us proclaiming the joyous news, and we can't move two steps without running into someone who urgently needs our undivided attention. Instead try adding a little extra nice, and a little extra patience, and you may provide that hint of hope that prevents a sales clerk from losing it and having to spend some serious time in the whimpering spot.
*During sales I keep a tally on my hand of how many times I get asked my top three asinine sales questions, and at the end of each day of the sale I have that many adult beverages. What are these magic questions?– Stay Tuned for this and more as the Adventures Of BookWench continue.