Tips for holiday shoppers

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, that is until you spend one of the days leading up to it working retail.
Working in retail is an interesting job anyway, but add stressed out holiday shoppers and even more stressed out employees, and it becomes downright crazy.
As an employee of a retail store, you never know what you are going to get when a customer walks in the door. They might be nice and prefer to not be bothered while they peruse for the best prices, or they might be rushed, grumpy or worse yet, needy.
Needy shoppers are the ones that not only always have something new for you to do when you get back from doing the last thing you did for them, but then expect you to go the extra mile.
They ask you to dress them as they open the door with a dress stuck over their head and flashing you a glimpse of their underwear bunched up their bottom or even baby-sit their dog as it runs through the store and you’re silently praying it doesn’t relieve itself on anything.
There’s also the touchy feely shopper.
No, not in an inappropriate way towards the employees, but the ones who have to touch and feel everything in the store.
If you do knock it over or just leave it rumpled, you can be sure there’s an employee somewhere in the store giving you the stink eye.
This isn’t to say all retail employees dislike customers. Without customers, they wouldn’t have a job and sometimes you meet great people.
Another thing to remember while you’re out shopping is that it’s very probable that most every other shopper you see doesn’t want to be there either, making for a very hostile shopping environment.
Parking lot rage is one of the number one killers of holiday spirit, but waving those discourteous drivers on by without your middle finger sticking up is the best way to go about it.
Remember too, why you are out shopping in the first place. It’s Christmas, a time to reflect on the sacrifice that’s been made for you and be grateful for what you have.
When you’re out shopping maybe pick something extra up for someone in need. Shopping for toys for needy children is fun and always good, but chances are if they’re needing toys for the kids the adults in the family are in need too.
You can always find someone in need, but if you’re having trouble you can always contact your local charitable organizations, like the Red Cross or local churches.
So, with one week until Christmas, try not duke it out over the last periwinkle cashmere sweater that your great aunt Myrtle has been reminding you for weeks that she wanted, and help to spread the holiday cheer with a kind word or action.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at

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