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Why being a jerk to retail workers makes you a joke

Kiryl (Kerya) Vrubleuski at his job at the Station Market at SAIT campus in Calgary on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Kerya is a snew media design student originally from Belarusia.(Photo by Barbara Talaga/The Press)

It’s 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

The doors are locked.

Everyone’s ready to go home.

A man is yelling, and screaming, and threatening our lives because we won’t let him in.

This story isn’t an exception to the rule. Everyone who has worked retail over the holidays has a story like this.

Holiday season when working in retail can be hell.

 “People are more stressed out and grumpy and they take that stress out on us,” said Bretton Evans, who works at Starbucks.

“Everything is just ten times busier and no one has any patience.”

It is a common theme whenever you speak to retail workers around the holiday season. Stress is the key word in those conversations.

“There’s so much going on, and so much from all sides, that it can be so overwhelming,” said Carling Brezinski, who recently started working for American Eagle Outfitters.

“It’s important to keep in mind, when you’re shopping, that you aren’t the only one that’s putting a ton of pressure on us.”

How to avoid being the jerk

What it boils down to is very simple.

Don’t take your stress out on the people least able to affect change in a tough situation.

“I can’t help you with company policy, and neither can my manager,” said Rajneet Takhar, a SAIT journalism student who works in food service.

“I really wish people would realize they’re complaining to the wrong person.”

A little understanding can go a long way. When you don’t yell and scream at the cashier or changing room attendant, there’s a good chance they can solve your problem a lot faster.

“If someone is nice about something, I want to help them, not just because it’s my job,” said Alyssa Hopper, who works for Michael’s craft store.

“The number of people who spend their breaks totally freaked out or crying because someone was a dick to them is just ridiculous,” said Heidi Lung, an assistant manager at a second hand store.

“It’s like customers just don’t care that there’s a person behind that till.”

If you want to avoid being one of those customers, be understanding, be calm, and don’t take the problem out on the staff. That is true any time of year, but during the holidays, it’s even more important.

Just remember, cashiers and sales associates are still people.

So, don’t be a jerk.

Zi Eloho at her job at the Station Market at SAIT campus in Calgary on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Eloho is a second-year painting student at AUArts. She is Nigerian-born and grew up in Dubai to finally move to Canada with her family. (Photo by Barbara Talaga/The Press)

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