How to Be a Better Retail Customer During the Holidays

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How to Be a Better Retail Customer During the Holidays

The “holidays” are everyone’s favorite time of year. Time to share a meal with great company, whether family, friends, or coworkers. It’s a happy, festive time for all. But, is it?

Those working in the retail industry may have a different take on the holidays. For them, it’s a time for stress, a time to deal with frantic shoppers looking for the perfect gift, and a time to work long hours with little time for themselves. Remember, they too want to spend time with family et al and have their own shopping to do. But our actions take the joy out of the best time of the year.

Here’s how to be a better retail customer during the holidays.

Each of us, when out shopping, must give the same level of service to others as we expect ourselves.

We expect our shopping experience to be:

  • Hassle-free
  • Convenient
  • Memorable
  • Quick
  • Anticipatory

The retail clerk, cashier, stock boy, the person manning the “returns desk”, and even the security guard want their workday to be hassle-free too. But when we breach the doors of our local store, already stressed ourselves from the traffic and our own limited time, we forget to be a good customer.

What We Do Wrong

We leave shopping carts all over the parking lot and force the lot attendant to gather them instead of returning it ourselves.

We try to return an item without the register receipt and make a fuss when they won’t take it back.

We talk on our cellphone while the cashier is ringing-up our items and aren’t prepared to answer their questions about coupons or method of payment.

We continually ask the clerk to “check in the back” to see if they have the item in a different size or color when we know most stores have all their stock already on the shelves.

We refuse to return unwanted items to their correct shelf and leave them any old place within the store.

We don’t properly refold garments after we check their size against our bodies.

This list can go on and on, can’t it?

How Do You Treat Those in the Service Industry?

It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a person’s character by how they treat those in the service industry. If someone is kind to their friends but dismissive to the cashier, which is their real personality?

When someone can’t put their phone down when the waiter is trying to take their order, isn’t this just as rude as if the waiter paid little attention to the table?

If a customer walks out after leaving 5 or 6 shirts on the bench in the fitting room, can’t we assume they have a callous disregard for others?

Retail Workers

Retail workers are not “little people” nor do they hold a lower status than others. The fabulous people working in the retail industry have loving families too and take their job responsibilities just as serious as those in other industries.

But patience, empathy, and a willingness to “go the extra mile” to satisfy the customer are not unlimited. We get frustrated seeing those long cashier lines that make us wait 10 minutes to pay. But think of the frustration the cashier may have when that long line lasts for 8 hours during their shift. A little perspective goes a long way.

Sure, the title of this post is “how to be a better retail customer during the holidays” but we should do the same all throughout the year.

We Deserve It

We expect others to serve us well because “we deserve it”. We’re the customer, we pay their salaries, the store needs us.

Well, the store doesn’t need us; at least not the bad customers who treat the employees with little regard.

A good customer greets their service provider with a smile and says thank you. A good customer doesn’t wait for the clerk to wish them happy holidays first, they offer their own wishes early during the interaction. A good customer tries to make the shopping time pleasant for both parties. A good customer holds the door open for an employee and says Merry Christmas to the security guard or parking lot attendant.

Lets all resolve to be the best customer we can. Not just during the holidays but all year long.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve DiGioia
Steve uses his 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to help companies and their employees improve service, increase morale and provide the experience their customers' desire. Author of "Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift...Even If You're a Bad Waiter" and named an "ICMI Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leader" and a "Top Customer Service Influencer" by CCW Digital, Steve continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.

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