Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

retail sales

In the holiday rush, service people take a beating this time of year. But remember we are all human and necessary. The clerk, cashier, food server, attendant, busser, gift wrapper, hostess, phone assistant and sales people are just as important to the global scheme of things as anyone else. In a way, they are more valuable than often acknowledged. Everything would grind to a halt without them. Think about it.

This is always true, but during this time of pressure and tightened wallets, this comes as a prudent reminder. Take a moment to consider where you are coming from before you raise your voice or temper at service people. Is it the extinct adage of “the customer is always right” that rationalizes your behavior? Sorry, no one adheres to that absurdity any longer. Is it your job, your income or the expectations you hold yourself up to that fuel your aggressiveness? None of those factors gives you the right to treat another human being in a manner you would not tolerate yourself. Perhaps you do tolerate aggressiveness and humiliation all the time, for money or control of some sort. Alas, neither prize is worth the cost, if it results in an outpouring of cruelty.

We see on TV or hear stories of fights breaking out in pre-dawn lines for special sales in department stores, or when the toy-of-the-year is last on the shelf. We laugh and shake our heads, but how much do we have in common with these examples? More than we’d like to admit, if only we took a moment to look closely.

Anyone who has worked in a service job will tell you that Christmas brings out the worst in people, as well as the best. Oddly enough, it is those intolerant folks that cause all the harm who could never do the job of the person they assault. The shopper that berates the retail cashier or waitress is usually the person totally lacking the emotional skills to do that very job.

Let’s remind ourselves to be humble and appreciative. Don’t be loud and cruel if you have to stand in line longer than you’d like or don’t get all the help you think you “deserve.” If insults and unreasonable demands are what you cast, then you “deserve” the very same sent your way.

Imagine for a moment a strike by all cahiers, bussers, beverage servers, food servers, hotel attendants, hostesses, sandwich makers, grocery clerks, sales people, etc. Gosh, they are more vital than you thought, aren’t they? Indeed. Happy holidays.