The weather is cold. Pumpkin spiced everything hits the shelves. The leaves are falling and changing colors. Cue the nonstop Christmas music for the next month. Us retailers have to listen to endless hours of Christmas music until we can’t take it no more. Thanksgiving hits, and we fall victim to holiday stress. We numb that stress with too much booze and food. Then we sometimes vent out that anger or stress on innocent souls donating their time and energies to impatient souls fighting over the last piece of the pie that’s virtually useless after the holidays and the year is over. With the invention of e-commerce aka online shopping, most retailers can breathe a little, but not much.
If you’re not a robot and work in a retail environment, then you know the absolute chaos of the Black Friday weekend. If you’ve ventured out this weekend, then prepare for anything. I mean anything! Remember the golden rule, “Treat people the way you want to be treated?” Well, this doesn’t apply during this weekend. People will shove, fight, and strangle or shoot the next person over nothing. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it all in my tenure.
Example: Parking. You know lines will be long and you will have to wait. It’s just the way it goes. With close to seven billion souls on this earth, you are not the center of attention and there will be thousands of people shopping with you. Remember, a parking lot will be completed jammed and filled to the brim no matter what time you arrive for those Black Friday deals. It’s packed. Get used to it. Don’t be a fool and wait for someone to pull out of their space only to steal theirs. Just accept the fact that you have to walk a mile to the store. Besides walking is healthy for you. Most people will cause backups and others honk the horn and here comes the road rage. I’ve seen people fight over spaces. Physically, fight! Why? Because some are just mean.
Another example: Lines in a store. You know the lines are crazy long and guess what: you have to wait! Be patient when you’re in line. Be nice to the person next to you and ask them about their Thanksgiving or something nice. If you have to wait more than a half hour, then consider online shopping. If you don’t like crowds, then don’t shop in store. Simple. Always be nice to the retailers that work in retail. They have the hardest job possible. They have to deal with the crowds, the constant whining, and most don’t get breaks such as food or bathroom at all. They are the ones that are the true heroes of the holiday that deserve the utmost respect possible. Don’t bit the hands that feed you. If anything, be polite, patient and ask how their day is going. And say, “Thank you.” Do you know how many people asked me, “How are you? Or thank you so much?” Very little. Usually, I will never get a thank you. Isn’t that cruel?
Yesterday, I was off for the first time in sixteen years, and I was forever grateful. I ate leftovers, slept in and watched football and had a few beers. I thanked my lucky stars not to have to go outside for anything except for a cup of Joe because of the beer consumption. I came in for a coffee, and all hell had broken loose. It was Black Friday and it was also Happy Hour, which is the stupidest decision known to man on the worst day possible. Every nightmare that you’ve experienced or heard about Black Friday, I witnessed it. I didn’t mind waiting a half hour for my drink, I was patient. I’ve been told that I’m the most patient person ever. The other patrons were on something else. I’ve never seen so many people impatient, rude and outright mean. Many people including people that mobile ordered said, “How the f#$% longer do I have to wait for my mobile order?” People were cursing out my staff. I don’t know about you, but I was taught to be patient and remain calm. My staff was already stressed out, tired and wanted to go home. I understand the craziness to a tee, but seeing people verbally abuse my co-workers I didn’t take that well at all.
Some stomped their feet, screamed like a child and demanded their drinks freaky fast. At one point, I saw someone verbally curse out my partner, and I said, “Get out of my store. If you’re going to treat my staff with utter disrespect, then leave. They’re working their butts off on a holiday weekend, and you’re ungrateful to them.” Granted, I was off duty and not in my work clothes, but still, I don’t handle rude behavior at all. My staff was relieved that I stepped in and saved them. No one is allowed to disrespect my team and get away with it. People need to be patient and learn that people in the service industry work their tails off and donate their time. A career like this teaches that lesson loud and clear.
What I witnessed in thirty minutes was a nightmare. The lines were out the door and through the drive-thru. People impatient as hell and multiple people are mobile ordering their orders. Some people were upset that we were out of things. I kept thinking, “If only these customers stepped into the shoes of us retailers and experience what we go through.” I don’t like being yelled at from a grown up that’s acting like a complete spoiled brat. Whatever happened to being grateful for what you have. Thanksgiving is a time for people to be together with people that they love and be grateful. Some missed the memo and didn’t care.
On Thursday, I witnessed a nice hit and run accident. On Thanksgiving, no less. A girl was driving her car towards Starbucks and was hit head-on. Thankfully, she was OK, and I went out there and noticed that the person that hit her vehicle left the scene. We called the police and gave a full description. She was so angry and shook up. I wouldn’t blame her. I would be upset myself. I offered her something to drink to help calm her down and was offered a ride to her destination. But I couldn’t believe people have the audacity to commit such acts of stupidity on others especially on Thanksgiving.
People don’t realize that the chaos that they inflict on others affects other’s mental health. I can’t tell you how many times I get offended at work or someone has to be insanely rude for no reason. Especially on Black Friday weekends, they have made my mental health including my anxiety go through the roof. I’m thankful that I’ve never suffered a heart attack or stroke from the stress of retail.