Working retail during the holiday season can be a difficult and stressful experience, particularly in December. The holiday spirit is often absent in the store, making for a challenging work environment. For those who have not had the opportunity to work in retail during this time of year, it is important to understand why it can be considered "absolute hell."
1. Customers pretend that they care about you
Customers may express sympathy for the fact that retail employees are working on Christmas, but the reality is that their shopping needs are the reason for this. If they had waited until after the holiday to make their purchases, retail employees would be able to spend the day with their families like many others.
2. You hear holiday music on a loop
"Santa Baby" may have been a favorite song before starting a job in retail, but the constant repetition of holiday music in-store for an entire month can cause it to become grating. The constant play of festive songs day after day can drive anyone to madness.
3. There's always someone with a problem
Contrary to popular belief, the holidays are not always the most joyful time of the year for those working in retail. This is the time when customers are more likely to become argumentative over sales, stock availability, and holds on items. Retail employees may not even have a moment of respite, including during their lunch breaks, as customers will still try to engage with them.
4. You're accused of being offensive
When working in retail during the holiday season, it can be difficult to navigate customer reactions to greetings. Saying "Merry Christmas" may offend some customers who celebrate other holidays, while saying "Happy holidays" may be perceived as an attack on Christmas by others. In this situation, it can be hard to please everyone.
5. You can never find a parking spot
Throughout the year, retail employees may have a designated parking spot near the store. However, during the month of December, parking becomes scarce, forcing employees to park a significant distance away. This added walk can make employees feel exhausted before they even begin their shift.
6. Seasonal employees make your life harder
For long-term employees, working alongside seasonal hires can be challenging, particularly when the new hires lack experience. Due to the high demand for holiday staff, employers may hire more individuals than usual, leading to less-experienced employees. This can put additional pressure on long-term employees who may have to assist with tasks that the seasonal hires are not familiar with.
7. The store is always a mess
Retail employees may put in a lot of effort to ensure that the store's merchandise is organized and presented in an attractive manner. However, once the store opens, customers may quickly disrupt this order while searching for specific sizes or items. This can be frustrating for employees who have put in a lot of time and energy to maintain the store's appearance.
8. Your job completely ruins your holiday spirit
Working in retail during the holiday season often means missing out on holiday parties and other festive events. Even when employees do have time to participate in holiday activities, such as decorating a tree, the association with similar items sold at work may dampen their enjoyment of the task.
9. You're forced to fake a smile
Retail employers may place emphasis on employees appearing cheerful and upbeat, particularly during the holiday season. This may include reminders to smile, and in some cases, customers may also remind employees to appear more joyful, despite the challenges of working during the holidays.
10. The stress doesn't end after Christmas
One might expect that the workload would decrease once Christmas and Hanukkah have passed. However, this is not always the case. After the holidays, many customers return to the store to seek refunds or exchanges. This can keep retail employees just as busy as before the holidays.