Don't let your retail buzz be the cause of your shopgirl's despair. (Both images in this post from imdb.com)
Alright, hands up: Who was as appalled as I was over the news story about the Walmart employee being trampled to death by Black Friday sale-goers? 'Tis the season to be jolly, but it's also the season to shop, shop, shop, and in the process I'm afraid some of us shoppers have--to put it bluntly--gone insane, forgetting that their friendly retail staff are human, too. I've been on both sides of the fence: I'm an avid shopper, but for the past 4 years I've also worked part-time in retail as a sales person at an independently owned local toy store. With my experiences as shopper and retail personnel in mind, I offer these basic points of etiquette for shoppers. Trust me, your retail staff will love you for this.
See your shopgirls as people and they'll thank you for it!
- Remember that retail people are, well, people. They have basic needs for food and bathroom breaks like you do, but unlike you shoppers, they might have to hold it in or hold out for nourishment until things are less busy. I work in a small store--sometimes all alone--and I always get annoyed when, after a rush of people, someone comes into an empty store to browse with no intention of buying just as I'm about to lock up and run to the bathroom.
- Say "please" and "thank you," and remember to smile!
- Don't go into a store just to browse or because you're bored if the store is 5 minutes away from closing time. The longer you stay, the longer the staff has to stay after closing hours. Just because the store closes doesn't mean that retail personnel can go home. They have to tidy up merchandise, straighten displays, do the deposit, count the float, etc. And I don't know about other retailers, but I certainly don't get paid for the time I spend doing these things after closing. I've been stuck in the store as much as an hour after closing because people overstay and browse even beyond closing time, despite the fact that other stores shut their gates a good 15 minutes ago.
- If you must browse close to closing time, try not to touch too many things. Anything you touch during your aimless browsing has to be straightened out. That haphazardly folded sweater you left on the pile, the dress slightly askew on the hanger--you may not notice, but retail staff do and they're the ones who clean up your trail.