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‘Tis the season to spend
Posted November 4, 2005

With Halloween a whole four days behind us and the Thanksgiving sale extravaganzas peeking their ugly little heads around every corner, people are already starting to gear up and get ready to spend their mini-fortunes on gifts, decorations and candy canes all in preparation for what has become the most consumer friendly holiday of the year: Christmas.

Of course, I am just as guilty as anyone. I spend a relatively decent sized amount of hard earned cash buying tidbits and whatnots to make my friends and family smile and feel all tingly inside, even if they only treasure those gifts until the New Year rolls around.

But sometimes, tedious shopping can almost ruin that whole seasonal cheer and good will thing that makes the Christmas season so wonderful.

I know from personal experience that the sport of shopping can be extremely stressful. Standing in lines for hours, wading through crowds of impatient gift-givers who are just as frustrated and annoyed as you. Dealing with inconsiderate salespeople who have never heard the words “customer service” in their lives. Yep. Holiday shopping can be grueling.

But, man alive, it seems like there can’t be a worst time of year for retail employees.

I have survived two holiday seasons as an employee at a popular store that gets a reasonable increase in customer traffic every November through January.

Now with Christmas No. 3 approaching rapidly, I have prepared myself for what will probably be one of the most stressful holiday seasons yet. Not only am I facing this Christmas with a new staff under my supervision, but I am planning a January wedding and preparing for my last semester at La Verne.

It’s not that I am worried about the stress headaches that I will endure or the altered sleep schedule that I will be working with. I am actually very excited about this holiday season. After all, this is my favorite time of the year.

So to keep that festive cheer thing going strong, I have made note of a few tips that I think could make holiday shopping a breeze for both the employee and the customer.

Dear Shopper,
If you must bring your children with you while you shop, try to remember that the store employees do not double as baby-sitters. While it is their responsibility to keep the store clean, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on your little ragamuffins and stop them from goobering up all of the candy while you try to remember what your nephew put on his wish list.

Second: be patient with the employees. Sure, some of us do deserve a kick in the face, but we aren’t all bad. Some of us actually do our jobs well, enjoy helping you and know how to work a register like nobody’s business. So when Christmas Eve rolls around and you’re picking up those last minute gifts, remember that the kid behind the register wants to get home just as much as you do. It may be hard to believe, but he probably has a family just like yours at his home waiting for his shift to end. Smile. Wish them a Happy Holiday and try not to call them any names if they forget your receipt.

As for the employees, I know the holidays are stressful. Deal with it. You knew when you signed up for a retail job that you would be dealing with maniacal shoppers right about now. I know how hard it is to smile at the lady who totally ignored your friendly greeting and is pretending that she can’t hear anything you say other than her total, but that’s part of the job. Work hard. Be friendly. And try to make this season a breeze for both you and the people that are funding your paycheck: the shopper.


Valerie Rojas, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at skalivornia@hotmail.com.ajor, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at skalivornia@hotmail.com.