The highly-anticipated Black Friday almost feels like its own separate holiday. As exciting as Black Friday can be, it can also cause emotions to run high. While holiday movies like Krampus and Jingle All the Way depict a dramatized version of a holiday rush, many of us have no doubt heard the real-life news stories of retail workers injured during the “every person for themselves” Black Friday mentality.
Sometimes in a rush to find the perfect discounted gifts, we can forget that retail workers, delivery drivers, and other service professionals are often working longer hours to meet our demand. These hours often require sacrifice as some people are working more than they are spending time with their family members. Especially with the ongoing labor shortage, it’s important to be kind to those who showed up.
Especially with the ongoing labor shortage, it’s important to be kind to those who showed up.
When customers are hyper-focused on their needs, it’s easy to forget about the needs and desires of others. As someone who has worked during Black Friday—like the 12 a.m. to 9 a.m shift with one 30 minute break—I’ve become more sympathetic to the experiences of retail workers.
Nothing makes you question your sanity quicker than spending 45 minutes fixing a three-tier table display only for a customer who was watching to come over and rummage through it in less than a minute. Even now, I find myself absentmindedly fixing table displays or trying to return articles of clothing to their appropriate place within stores to help the workers out. Unfortunately, I have seen the way retail workers are treated on a regular basis and it tends to get worse during the holidays.
As someone who’s been there, here are a few ways to be kinder and more patient to those who are working during Black Friday.
1. Remember retail workers and delivery drivers are human, too
While the rush of taking advantage of discounts is real, we should try to remember that retail workers and delivery drivers are people just like us. True, they are providing a service to us but they do not work for us. This means we do not get to treat them as if they do not have feelings and are only meant to serve us.
When we lose our patience with them, they usually feel it. It can be disheartening and/or frustrating for retail workers and delivery drivers to be yelled at because of heightened passion. It also says more about us customers when we are unable to treat retail workers and delivery drivers with respect. If we wouldn’t want strangers to walk up to us and speak to us a certain way, we shouldn’t do it to others regardless of how much we want a discount during the holidays.
Since stores and delivery services often extend their hours to meet the demands of the holidays, it’s important to remember retail workers and delivery drivers are working longer hours than usual. They may long to be with their family or may be tired. Sometimes a smile or a few kind words can uplift them.
2. Practice extra patience
Patience is something that does not easily come to some of us. But it goes a long way, especially during the holiday season. We can all remind ourselves we are no more important than the people around us who are also shopping.
Retail workers are often tasked with multiple duties by their supervisors on top of trying to provide excellent customer service to customers. So if you have a question and a retail worker seems to be drawing a blank, try to remember that it’s not intentional or personal. It can be easy to draw a blank when you have to remember multiple things or are a newly-trained employee.
If you are venturing in-store this Black Friday, try to remember that you will not be the only person shopping or looking for a discount. While a store may have multiple registers open, shopping lines can still be long. Try to be patient with retail workers as they try to make sure customers are taken care of; retail workers are doing their best.
3. Show gratitude to delivery drivers
If you are expecting packages to be delivered instead of shopping in-store, you can show your token of appreciation for delivery drivers. They usually have many stops to make along their route, including residential and businesses, so it is nice to show you appreciate their service by making sure they are hydrated or have a little snack to eat.
This gesture may seem simple, but delivery drivers appreciate it when they feel seen. For an extra measure, get your little ones involved to draw a picture or write kind words of gratitude and encouragement to place near the snack station.
In general, the world could use more patience and kindness. I know it’s easy to forget that people we may never see again have feelings, but they do. This is true no matter if we are in traffic experiencing road rage or in a long shopping line. If you can, try to spread a little cheer during Black Friday. Think about how hard the past couple of years have been not just for you and your family but for others. Everyone has handled things differently and could use kindness as well as patience this year, especially during Black Friday.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated for timeliness.