The retail worker’s guide to surviving the holidays
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doc blog.
The days prior to Thanksgiving are the calm before the storm. Your seasoned retail employees know what is in store; your newbies have no idea.
Here are 10 holiday tips for anyone who works retail:
- Get your own shopping done early. You won’t have the time or inclination to walk around the mall to try to buy something — you’ll just want to get home or get as far away from a store as you can. No one will blame you.
- Know where you are supposed to park. I can’t tell you how many employees I’ve had who had their car ticketed or towed by the mall because they didn’t follow the mall’s rules to use the shuttle.
- Know where all the supplies are — from register tape, to scissors, to gift card envelopes, even how to reboot the Wi-Fi system. The more prepared you are, the calmer you can be when others are freaking out.
- Know when to take a break. If you get overwhelmed, ask the manager if you can go in the back for five minutes to be by yourself. For me, it was shooting imaginary basketball hoops. You might choose to listen to a favorite non-Christmas song. Take care of your psyche before you reach the breaking point.
- Jump in when you can. If someone is slammed at the counter, don’t avoid it. See if you can bag or do something to make the line go quicker. Your co-worker will be inclined to do the same for you.
- Bring your own lunch. It will take you twice as long to get anything in the mall and, the less you have to go out into the chaos on a busy day, the less stress you’ll have.
- Double-check your schedule. People call in sick and schedules can change on a dime so, before leaving for the day, just confirm when you are scheduled. It will help avoid any misunderstandings.
- Footwear is key. You’ll be moving around much more than standing around and poor-fitting shoes can affect your posture, balance and back. Wear shoes with good support.
- Complaints aren’t about you — until they are. While you will be surprised by how many customers, if you treat them nice, will treat you nice, some customers will not be on their best behavior. Understand it and try to figure out how not to take their comments personally. If you do, they’ve won.
- Pay attention to your personal relationships. While your husband, spouse or girlfriend might say they understand you have to work, it doesn’t mean they like it. So when you’re with them, be with them.
What other tips would you offer retail employees on how to avoid getting over-stressed during busy holiday selling times? What steps should store managers take to support their staffs?