For some, the upcoming holiday season will not be very jolly.

December holiday may bring to mind fantasies of creamy mashed potatoes warming one’s stomach or an imagined cart filled with doorbusters, such as a 55-inch television available for purchase for $300. But, for the retail worker, such thoughts soon turn into horrors. Shifts at major retail stores can begin at 7 a.m. and end as late as midnight.

Those customers planning to shop during the crazy rush should consider ways to encourage retail workers and, in turn, help them to serve patrons better.

Weigh options before hitting the doorbusters.

More and more consumers have chosen to shop online instead of fighting the cold weather to get inside a store. In fact, in 2016 shoppers set a record of $3.34 billion spent online, according to CNN. In fact, National Retail Federation noted only 47% of shoppers went to a physical store during Black Friday weekend.


If the same deals exist online, and getting them doesn’t require fighting a large crowd to grab the last $10 skillet set, it just makes sense. With fewer customers, a retail worker can attend to other tasks he or she needs to complete.

They are called “Dressing Rooms” not “Messing Rooms.”

Stores such as Kohl’s and Target may feature some new winter wear that customers might want to try. It’s fun to put on that unicorn onesie to fulfill one’s magical shopping experience.

However, if the horn on the onesie proves to be too flimsy or the pants too baggy for someone’s liking, that clothing item should not be left in a crumpled heap inside the dressing room stall. Clients should place the item on a hanger and put it on a rack for an associate to return to the floor. Of course, if patrons have a little extra time and they remember where they found the outfit, it’s polite to return it there. A worker will appreciate it later because his or her fingers will not turn purple from holding so many returned dressing room item hangers.

If possible, sign up for a rewards card.

It is prudent to avoid credit card debt. However, retail stores, including Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and JC Penney, carry cards wherein customers can accumulate points from every purchase (no credit card required). Often workers have incentives for registering customers to these programs, so signing up for a rewards card could bring a worker one step closer to a raise or, at least, a rare “good work” from his or her manager.

A “Thank You” is a rarity and is very encouraging.

Retail workers often interact with irritated customers who have waited in lines for hours and may have been jostled around by other shoppers who also were eager to get their hands on a good deal.

Kimberly Houk, a former retail employee, recalls, “The worst part of holiday shopping is how rude people are! They will yell at cashiers and push people out of their way.”

Similarly, cashier Irene Jerue states, “Cashiers are people, too. But some people don’t understand that and think we’re machines. Just try to show a bit of kindness. We all know the lines are long and everyone else is rude, but a nice, patient, polite customer always stands out and is appreciated.”

A “thank you” or making mere eye contact can possibly allow a retail worker to have a more tolerable, even jolly, holiday season.

Hope K. Bolinger of Hudson, Ohio, is a professional writing major at Taylor University.