Dear Hope: The Stress of Working Retail
I just don’t understand people. I work retail and I’m really getting stressed out. I understand it’s the holidays and it’s busy. I expect that, but what I don’t expect is people being mean. They get mad if there is a line or if they have to wait for me to help them. I’m not ignoring them I’m helping other customers. I try to be very polite and sweet. I am friendly and I smile. Most people won’t smile back they just shove and push and say rude things. Why? Why do they do it? If you’re out shopping for the holidays it’s for a special occasion you should be happy. Even if you’re not happy you should at least be polite. I’m tired of working there what can I do. I’m not going to quit my job.
– Stressed out Holly
Dear Stressed out Holly,
Working retail during the holidays can be very stressful. You’re right, many people seem to be in a rush and that can make them impatient and sometimes cranky. I think that would be frustrating when your job is to be nice and cheery while helping them.
Unfortunately, if you work retail this is how the holiday season goes. You cannot change how people act. What you can do is find ways to de-stress during and after your workday.
- Wear layers so you can take off or put on a sweater if you get hot or cold.
- Wear comfortable shoes (this is not the time to try cute new shoes that may hurt your feet). The more your feet hurt, the more cranky people will irritate you.
- Drink plenty of water this will help keep you from getting a headache.
- Take all the breaks your allowed. Just getting away for a few minutes can help de-stress.
- Eat snacks or a power bar.
- Enjoy the happy people. There’re plenty of happy customers. Sometimes cranky people make you forget about the nice people. Focus on the nice and don’t let the cranky bring you down.
- Try not to get flustered. You can only wait on one person at a time. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. It’s not your fault if someone gets mad and walks away.
- Let it go. Leave what ever craziness that happened at work, at work. Don’t dwell on it.
- Change out of your work clothes right away. Put that day behind you.
- Soak your feet. A good foot soak can take days’ worth of stress away.
- Treat yourself, a favorite candy bar or take out, or just chill out to your favorite movie.
Don’t take anything negative personally. It’s not about you, it’s about whatever is going on in their life. It will all be over in a month. Do your best to stay stress free.
Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.