An Open Letter to The Awful People Who Shop at This Time of Year

Dear Sir and/or Madam,

Well, it is the holiday season again, and you and I both know what that means. It means, for those of you uninitiated in the ritual of retail work, that people like sir and/or madam, hereby known as Lord and Lady Faffworth respectively, decide to lose all basic human interaction skills and replace them with what I can only presume is some sort of giant stick rammed precisely up their bottom.

You see, Lord Faffworth. You come into my place of work to make a purchase. Maybe we had a flyer, maybe you heard about it from a friend, maybe there is some secretive sale where we are selling large hunks of pure gold and just haven’t told anyone. Either way, you have decided to come in to my place of work in a foul mood and, like all irrational animal-stompy people out there, you have decided to be a rude, abusive, controlling asshat.

You ask to speak to my manager for the most ridiculous of reasons. Because this sign is placed facing the opposite way on a round display and therefore the water bottles on it should be sold for 12.99, because you live in a singular, one dimensional world and have no concept of things having a 3D shape. Because the small doll dress, a special edition, which was on sale and clearly said while supplies last, is no longer available and now Christmas is ruined. Because I, being a lonely peon and the lowest person on this retail totem pole, can only discount your slightly discoloured book by 5%. Because you, Lord Faffworth, are a total, controlling nob, with no concept of how much of an ass you appear when interacting with the general public.

The holidays must be rough for you, what with interacting with peasants like me, so allow me to offer some friendly tips on how to get through the next 25 days without making myself or my coworkers miserable and, well, let’s face it, you are always miserable. This is almost entirely for our benefit.

1. If you feel like complaining about a sale, whether it be the item you want is not included, the sale is not good enough, or the item you are seeking is sold out, stop. I am not working the assembly line in Bangalore where your precious item is being crafted by orphans with broken fingers. I am merely the lowly worker who takes said item, places it in a bag, and then hands you that bag once you give me money. Money which I don’t even get to keep! My entire life revolves around taking your money and protecting it on behalf on a giant, behemoth of a corporation so those above me may roll around naked on non-sequential 100’s! I have no control over supply and demand, so if that is your complaint, please direct it to the nearest person who actually controls what is ordered.

2. If your item is not in but I am offering you a way to access it, whether it be via online, in store kiosk, or the other one of our stores that is just down the street, do not sigh like I am your child who has just brought home a disappointing report card. I am offering you one of the few solutions my peasant status allows me to present. My corporate overlords have trusted me with this task and, like Gimli shouting And my axe! I have agreed to take part in this task in order to make your life just a wee bit more bearable. You do not, I repeat, do not have to berate me for my inability to magically produce items from thin air. I never attended alchemy class and I am not a wizard. Sorry.

3. If my teenage coworker has made a mistake, whether it be not noticing the price of your book rings up differently than the price listen on the item, or misunderstands your bizarre request for a ‘gift card to go with the book’ (when you and I both know you mean ‘gift receipt’) please show patience. They are young, they are not cynical participants of ‘the real world’ yet, and as such you very well make them cry. And, just a follow up there, if my teenage coworker forgets to put an item in your bag, and you get home and then proceed to call the store and berate said teenager, just stop. You are an awful person. You are truly the most awful. So my coworker made a mistake. News flash; so did you. Did you notice that there was still an item on the desk? No, you did not. Probably because you were yabbering on your cellphone instead of engaging us in the most basic of conversation. My coworker’s failure is also your failure, and when said coworker apologizes once, that ought to be enough. In short, don’t be a Dean.

4. Do not assume that due to my status as ‘Corporate Roach’, I somehow know less than you. I am educated. I have a degree. And when I am wading my way through your elaborate requests, I am generally in the mindset of Let’s get this person out of here as fast as possible so they can continue their day. That means I know short cuts. I have many plans that I can put into action and in doing so, I am attempting to make your life easier. By trying to get things done your way, there is a strong possibility that you are extending this process, even doubling the amount of time it takes. And that is okay. What is not okay is when you then impatiently look at your watch and sigh like that report card also contains a concerning note from my home ec teacher about my love of gas stoves and PAM. Trust me, in the area of retail, I am the expert. You are the peasant.

5. Keep in mind that, while you are obviously independently wealthy due to your grandfather’s role as assassin to the Queen, I am not. I understand that you are able to come spend ridiculous quantities of money at the mall in the middle of the work week, and I applaud you for your luck. However, I am not so fortunate, and I am standing before you, gritting my teeth and scanning your items because I too hope to one day make a purchase similar to yours for someone care about. A bit of patience and empathy for your fellow man goes a long way in ensuring neither of us leaves the mall today, goes home, and proceeds to drink several cheap bottles of wine simply to make the pain stop.

6. Yes, I know it is Christmas. Yes, I’m sorry that our giftcards are all ‘PC’ and don’t outright use the ‘C’ word on them (and believe me, I might just have a different C-word for you if you keep this complaint up.) But you know what? I can’t fix it. I was not part of the team who designed these cards. And hey, guess what? It’s also the season for Hanukkah, and Quanza (I think) and Crimbo, and Festivus. Would you like to take part in the annual airing of grievances? I know I would. We are not so anal that we aren’t allowed to wish you a Merry Christmas, but if I choose to say ‘Happy Holidays’ because your tinfoil hat does not allow me to read your brain and determine what your choice of celebration is, you should not harass me for it. I’m not being overly PC. I am being inclusive. You should try it once in a while.

7. Yes, I know the lineup is long. Yes, I know you have been waiting only to be told that this or that is not in and you are horribly disappointed. Yes, I know I ought to have an answer. Yes, I know. I know. I know. I know. I know my presence here is a disappointment. I know this is the season of disappointment. I know. I understand. I get it. Oh god, where is that cheap bottle of wine when you need it?

You see, Lord Faffworth. Tis the season of disappointment for one and all. Oh come, let us abhor this, the season of corporate consumerism and uncontrolled anger. Deep breaths, Lord Faffworth. I know you are upset, but I am just as upset that I have to deal with you. Here’s the brilliant thing, though…

When I go home tonight, I will be a patient, kind, sarcastic, funny, loving person with an optimistic outlook and I will sleep knowing that tomorrow, despite repeating the process outlined above, I will always be that same funny, sarcastic person.

You, sir, will still always be Lord Faffworth, scourge of retail workers everywhere, and always, despite the season of giving and joy, a total nob.

Happy Holidays, M’lord.


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