For anyone that has ventured out into the roads and retail stores this past week, it is obvious that the holidays continue to be an exceptionally busy shopping season. And this year is looking to be an even busier one than last year. The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales figures for 2017 to climb to $682 billion, a 4 percent increase over last year’s sales figures. And while a good part of these sales will be taking place online, you can still expect large crowds at brick and mortar stores on Black Friday and throughout the rest of the holiday season. This can present challenges for anyone working retail during the holidays. Here are some tips on how to survive a job in retail during the holidays:
1) Prepare as much as possible before your shift starts
To avoid extra chaos when you are helping a store full of customers, first make sure you know where all your supplies are. This includes pens, tape, scissors, gift cards, etc. Also, to avoid having to deal with more chaos at the mall food court, it’s a good idea to bring your own lunch. And since hours can fly by without a break when working retail during the holidays, have plenty of water and a light snack on hand (like a granola or candy bar) to avoid dehydration and low blood sugar.
2) Don’t take it personally
It just wouldn’t be the holidays in retail without encountering an impatient and rude customer from time to time. Remember that while this can be extremely irritating, it has nothing to do with you, so do your best to keep smiling and not take it personally. You won’t win by getting angry in return. When working retail during the holidays, your best solution for angry customers is to kill them with kindness.
3) Think of the bigger picture
Whether it’s holiday overtime pay, a Christmas bonus, or the possibility of turning a seasonal job into a full-time gig, there is light at the end of the tunnel from the hard work you are putting in. So, when times get tough during the holiday rush, keep in mind the bigger picture of what you are working towards.
4) Lend a helping hand
When working retail during the holidays, sometimes employees get hit with everything all at once. You could be dealing with a line of customers, while at the same time handling an angry customer on the phone and trying to fix a malfunctioning cash register. If you notice an overwhelmed co-worker during your shift, offer to help them. Better yet, figure out what they need on your own and just jump in. That way when you experience a similar situation, your co-workers are likely to have your back.
5) Give yourself a break
To survive a retail job during the holidays, it’s essential to know when you need to step back and take a deep breath. If you don’t, you risk losing your cool with an innocent customer or co-worker, and only feeling worse. Take breaks when you can, and when you are feeling especially frustrated or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to let your manager know you need a few minutes to yourself.
6) Don’t save your holiday shopping until the last minute
If you work in a retail store, the closer the holidays get, the busier your job is likely to keep you. You don’t want to be stuck cramming your holiday shopping in after a long day of dealing with holiday shoppers. Get your holiday shopping done as early as possible, or consider avoiding the stores and shopping online.
7) Take a load off after you clock out
Working retail during the holidays can be very stressful, but there’s no need to carry that stress with you after you clock out. Have a plan for how you will unwind after your shift. Binge watch your favorite holiday movies, have some laughs with family and friends, pour yourself a nice mug of eggnog, read a book, whatever helps you unwind.
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Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.