Working retail during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas always makes me question why I enjoy my job. One to two weeks before Thanksgiving, a portion of our customers increase in being mean and unforgiving of the slightest infraction. With masks, it is even worse because they feel more comfortable talking under their breath. Why do shoppers think that employees have no feelings?
My thoughts come in several components of why and how to counteract it mentally—unique ideas or perspective of why people are disrespectful and forgetful of goodwill toward all. One is people do not want to spend the money on the holidays. Two The family is making demands unachievable, or the individual is exhausted trying to provide. Three adverse holiday history but everyone around them is cheerful and happy and questions why they are not. Four keeping up with the neighbors or relatives and cannot compete or even have a desire to compete, but think they must keep the trend going. Five corporate entities have put holiday decorations and reminders out since September. Six all the personalities have to be appeased, but no one cares what and how they impacted. These are my perception of why, and there are probably many more.
Honestly, when a shopper is nasty to me, I strive to remember the above list. I do not know where they are emotional or physical. My feelings do get hurt; treated like I have no worth. I strive to remember some of that is my depression. The other is that being an hourly worker is considered menial and low value. Even though we did not work, people would have no way to buy food, products, etc. Another aspect I strive to consider I do not know where someone is the cell phone conversations people have prove that.
Given cell phone conversations, I hear when people are walking through the aisle, in line, put their items on the belt, and paying are numerous. Here are some, so YES, be aware your conversation is not private. Those around you do hear. Unsure about anyone else, but I would prefer not to listen to your private conversations. Why are you on the phone when it is about leaving your spouse, a child ran away and trying to find, money is tight, mother in law verbally attacked you and unsure how to handle it? Other conversations heard is you just needed space and left your spouse and staying with your affair, that the underwear not folded and needs put away, and many more. Nevermind the hourly employees that are supervisors that are still taking work calls off shift. Sometimes for questions that could have easily waited for the next day. The best one for me is when, as a worker, I am considered rude because I am not acknowledging you are in my line except to say hi and give the total of your purchases. You are in a private conversation; if I was at a party or networking event, it is inappropriate to approach; being on the phone is the same. An alternative is text questions and answers more private. You have also verified you tried to reach your family to find out if you needed to pick up milk or another blanket, or a present for a friend or family.
Opps did not realize I had so much pent up frustration over the phone conversations I hear and shoppers’ attitudes. No, we are not perfect workers. Yes, we have the workers that sit or stand around and talk instead of work. There are the workers that are slow as turtles. A worker is ignoring you; I have an explanation for, at least personally, I have poor hearing, and with masks, it is even harder now. For me, I periodically misunderstand someone or plain do not hear unless I catch a person’s lips moving before mask-wearing. Now, I have no reference point. But I do not need the attitude that you have to repeat yourself. Most workers are trying to get things right.
Another aspect is the screaming children that are not in an infant carrier. Please, if you are shopping with another adult, have that adult take the child outside or if the child is at an age to compromise and let them pick a toy or candy if they behave through the whole store. Please do not give them something if they have been screaming through the entire store. It is draining, whining, crying, and repetition wants candy or toy every minute at the register. One, it is distracting when trying to converse with other customers. Nevermind the headache; many of us have halfway through a shift.
Now with the mask-wearing mandates. Some of us are not allowed to speak to a customer due to company policy. Remember, some of us still have to wait on these people who chose not to wear a mask. Customers get huffy if we take time to wipe down the areas and slowed down. Other customers are huffy that we have not had a chance to wipe down because we have a line of six people to wait on. Nevermind, we sometimes run low on supplies. Surveys are continually saying they had to wait, so what do you want us to do. Wait on you with speed, and no cleaning or slowness, and surfaces sanitized. Due to the pandemic’s change in cleaning policies, we will be slower to adhere to CDC health guidelines.
Above are constants throughout the year; there tends to increase screaming and customer attitude during the holidays. Some are due to children’s schedules being thrown off by get-togethers and parents concentrating on prepping for a holiday and not spending as much time with them. Another alternative is trying to pay for the holidays and just asking people to be aware that we are human too and respect that we are providing care to you. Yes, we may not be police, fireman, doctors, and nurses, but housekeeping, call centers, clerks, waitress, and any other public encounter have a place in this world.
Sorry for the rant. Being in the Customer Service industry in many varieties, I just reached a breaking point since I had all of the above in an eight-hour shift that seemed constant.
Side Note: from the supermarket industry or any that provide carts. Can everyone go back to putting the cart into each other instead of just rolling into and leaving them loose in the corral? Lifting them when they have fallen to the side is frustrating and hurts. Since today is a mentally gloomy day, why do some people feel safe to put a child and elementary, sometimes the middle-school-age child, in the cart’s large area? If they do not fit in the front room, they are supposed to walk with you?
Have to say sorry, but this is heartfelt, so it is draining treated like we are expendable, which I guess job-wise is everyone right now, just from the eyes of a Service Associate that is already tired and has a month and one week left of the holidays. Which will then move into four to five months of decreased hours and still cranky customers; we will not have enough staff to provide speedy service due to budget cuts till sales increase. Another factor of the grumpy customers is that the bills from the holidays come in, and have to balance buying groceries or paying the credit card. Another reminder of Loving All even when we do not see eye to eye; like the customers who give puns every time they talk, you hate puns but have to smile like they are lovely.
Thank you to those who thank us and acknowledge that we are trying as best we can.
Found uploaded on April 24, 2020, but it is a reminder that we are still at a difficult point. We do not have an end date yet for the outbreak. As a world, we need to keep caring for all of us. People are stressed, depressed, starving and out of work, and that number will continue to increase. Those working do not know if they will get sick or have a job the next week. Everyone is under stress, not just you; let’s try to remember that when we are out and about this holiday season. Maybe it is time to stop trying to Keep up with the Jones, instead strive to love our families be they blood or not as they are not how we want them to fit our wish.
Thank you for reading. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Happy Hanakana, and all unknown holidays.
Just a perspective of the public and investigative media on supermarkets: My only concern for these spots mentioned is again time and staff hours are given to the store is limited. These limits do not always provide time to take care of all of these aspects mentioned. The tap pay mentioned, not all companies have that possibility. I liked how they said it is the customer’s responsibility for self-care, not just the company.
Here is some information and acknowledgement that nurses are struggling.
Thank you to all the industries that deal with the same or similair issues but I do not feel right speaking for a bus driver, landscaper, or anyother service industry that I do not have a direct reference to. Keep up the great work the world could not run without us. Would love to return to a time that all forms of employement where considered valuable instead of just the college degreed.
Thank you for those who read. Again a reminder my anxiety and depression I am not a position at this time to read and respond to comments.