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#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #22

To my Fellow Retail Slayers:

First of all, you rock. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

You’re probably gearing up for the holiday weekend right now and while this year looks a little different, it is still projected to be busy nonetheless. Around this season, for some reason, the public seems to lose its wits. Rudeness flies freely like the wicked witch’s monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. It’s repulsive and I don’t condone it one bit.

Whether you had to take a retail job to secure your family or you’re just trying to make some extra cash, you deserve to be treated with dignity. I wish I knew why people toss their money at cashiers, don’t read their coupons, or insult your intelligence, but after 17 years of retail experience, I can’t say that I’ve found the master key to that one yet. Even when I was in leadership and managed a high-volume store, I still had people question my ability to assist them. I am convinced — when some customers cross the threshold of your store, something happens to their neurons and they are draped in a disgusting cloak of indignation and entitlement. It can make you angry if you let it.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

May we all show each other some grace this retail season and thereafter, but truthfully, there’s a lot of stress in the world. So, gear up. Someone will probably try to degrade you today or yell at you over something beyond your control. I’m sorry about that. When you put on that uniform or that nametag, remember that you are simply fulfilling a role. You are not what you do. You are not a peon. You have exceptional skills and you are valuable to all who enter. You are still the fantastic phenom you were when you got out of bed this morning and you will be when you lie down tonight.

I don’t care who comes into your establishment, remember that you are the heartbeat of the company. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise, OK? Don’t let it stick.

Work that shift. Make that money. Help those people. Go home proud.

Sincerely,

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Day 22 – Roles

I think everyone should work retail during a holiday season one time in life. Just one time. That’s all it would take to digest humility, camaraderie, and self-control.

My first taste of retail was in college at a bible bookstore. I loved it. I worked with great people and it was normal to see an associate praying with a customer. My kind of environment. Whether I was on the sales floor or behind the register, I was comfortable.

saleFast forward a bit to working in the retail world after college. I wanted to make extra money to minimize my debt. Needless to say, my patience was shorter and my tolerance level had dropped dramatically. I couldn’t understand either side of the tomfoolery. Why wake up, get dressed, and drive through traffic to be lazy or cause havoc as an employee or a customer? Don’t get me wrong – quality service is important to me. I’ve worked retail on the management level as well, and I understand the value of meeting the needs of every customer and providing solutions that benefit both the company and the consumer. In those leadership positions, I also believed in protecting employees from abusive behavior and I did not tolerate the degradation of anyone on my team. Nevertheless, when the roles are reversed from humans-on-equal-terms to employee-consumer, something changed.

All of a sudden, I wasn’t an intelligent professional working to make extra cash to reach a financial goal. I was “she,” “her,” or “that girl over there.” Apparently, I was someone who didn’t warrant a “Hello, how are you?” before being thrown money on the counter at the end of the transaction. I was looked upon as inferior enough to hold bags of perfectly capable people shopped around the store and fetch items they didn’t want in the first place. I had an idea of what I was getting into, but I wasn’t prepared for it. Then, to take the cake, if the customer found out about my other titles (educator, choreographer, former caregiver, etc.) or that I’ve traveled extensively, then their eyes light up as if to say “Oh, you’re more than what I thought.”

The truth is I was an equal before they decided to see me as one. If the setting was a business mixer or at a concert, the interaction would potentially be positive and enriching. We would converse about psychological constructs, civic issues, and professional development. Since the stage was a retail store and I was playing the role of an employee, many people assumed they were superior.

It made me think of how many times we judge people based upon the role we see them in at a specific time – the janitor, the doctor, the restaurant server, the hair stylist, the single parent, the athlete… who often do we size up a person’s intelligence or capability based upon the role? Let’s try to do less of that during this holiday season and beyond.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo via youbabyandi.com

#bloglikecrazy: Day 21 – How to be a Bounty Hunter

Quick tips for the holiday weekend via Daily Prompt: Bounty

Today marks Christmas Eve and there are people scrambling to find the perfect gift at the perfect price – or perhaps a gift that will “do” for the last person on their list. The adrenaline rush that comes from finding that jewel in the haystack is an addiction for the last-minute shopper and while that may be attractive to some, I travel on a different route this time of year. I give to people around me all year at very random times because I love surprising people with love. I am not in the rat race of marathon shopping, but I can help. My name is Christina and I am a bounty hunter.

#1: Know what you’re looking for.

The first step in being a bounty hunter is knowing what you’re looking for. I know… that sounds counterproductive. You’re out looking right now because you DON’T know what to look for, but honestly, you do. You know you’re looking for something that will make the person smile, laugh, and/or feel loved and appreciated. You’re looking for a glimpse of them in the item. If you pick it up and you don’t see them smiling or using it with pride, put it down. You’re settling and the receiver will pick up on that.

#2: Bow down to the truth.

You waited until the last minute. Stop being childish and frustrated toward workers and other shoppers for your misuse of time and resources. Be truthful and be patient. You may not can afford that $100 watch, but you can give a thoughtful $25 blanket in their favorite color because you know they always get cold during movie night. You’re not going to find the perfect gift without it costing you time or money, so just be humble, breathe, and go into that store or into that kitchen with the receiver in mind – not your inconvenience.

#3: Focus on the Bounty.

Christmastime is when the world gives presents and spend significant amounts of time with friends and family. It’s imperative to remember why people travel great distances to sit and drink hot chocolate, watch football, enjoy a movie, sing hymns, and share pictures. The real bounty is the time, not the gift. If anyone makes you feel the opposite of that truth, accept that whatever you give will not be “good” enough. You could spend all of your savings and that person will still think of something else you could have bought. I don’t suggest cutting off your cousin, but you may need to check your heart at the door of the department store. Give what you can and let it fall as it may. Focus on the real Bounty, the generous gift, the true compensation – YOU.

You are the gift of premium price. No one can replace you or cover up your existence. Your birth was trumpeted in heaven and has since made a mark on this earth that can never be erased or validated by dollar sign. You are the wealth. You are the opulence. Every person in your life should see you as the prize, not just what you have in your hands. That applies both ways, too. See people as bountiful blessings and you’ll always find the perfect gift.

Now go out there and smash that to-do list, my fellow Bounty hunter. *wink*

Peace & Thanks for listening!

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