December brings with it an interesting paradox. We go out of our way to give gifts and make charitable efforts for the needy in our community, donating toys for children or food for foodbanks. We also exhibit every greedy, rude and callous behavior while shopping for those gifts.
Okay, not everyone and not every time. The opening is too general. (It is just possible I may have written that to get your attention.) And I’m not even talking about Black Friday and that craziness. On a related note, I saw that shopping on Black Friday itself was down significantly this year because retailers stretched out their “deals” to make it an entire week and more people chose to shop online. That may just be the biggest positive of the shopping season.
In a lot of cases customer service doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I get very annoyed when an employee in a drive-thru doesn’t even bother to acknowledge me when I pull up to pay. Mostly that comes down to poor training and I blame the managers rather than getting frustrated with the employees. But we almost seem to take it for granted and accept that that is the way it is supposed to be.
On the other hand, I understand how people in the service industry get tired of rude shoppers, too. We all need to stop, take a breath and remember that the person helping us may have been on his or her feet for hours without a break. Or may have just been hired for the season and may not really know the product line and where everything is in the store.
I’m not saying every bad employee deserves to get a pass this year, or that every shopper is at fault either. Just that there are extenuating circumstances for each. My hope and prayer for this Christmas season is that we don’t get so angry in the process of spreading Christmas cheer that we need therapy to relieve that stress.
And if you can’t handle the crowds or get too angry at the other shoppers, stay home and shop online. It isn’t worth the headache. Better yet, shop small. Get a book signed by a local author. Go to the small boutiques and local retailers. I’m willing to bet you’ll get better service there, because you’re likely talking the owner or the artisan that made what you’re trying to buy.
Then you get to feel doubly good about yourself as a member of the local community and as a savvy shopper. From that, you get to give unique gifts. That really sounds like Christmas cheer to me!.