How To: Survive In Retail At Christmas.


Hello, and welcome to How To Wednesday. (On time this week.)

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know Christmas is fast approaching.

If you are like me, you will have been celebrating from the moment you woke up on November the first. I’m a big kid who adores Christmas. From the John Lewis advert (I love this year’s) to the cat scaling the tree, I love every moment of it. With one exception.

Working in retail at Christmas.

Any shop worker will tell you, it is the worst profession to have at this time of the year. No matter how much you enjoy the season,the shop assistant is the one job guaranteed to  test your every nerve. So this week I decided my how to will be a guide for any shop assistant encountering this for the first time.

We will kick off with…

Lesson 1

No matter what day it is, from now until Christmas eve, the shop will be busy. You know that sneaky few minutes you used to get where you popped to the toilet and grabbed a packet of crisps in the process as well as a drink. Kiss it goodbye. From now on, you’re chained to your till.

Lesson 2

Every customer is now crazy. Seriously! You know that sweet old lady, who comes in every Friday for her cat food and milk? Watch out because she is now a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Oh, she looks nice, but the second you run out of mince pies and she wants some those teeth will come out. Whatever you do, don’t tell her no more are being delivered that day, because within seconds her head will spin and obscenities will spew forth.

Lesson 3

Learn what every toy in the store is  called. Yes, I know it’s a feat but for the next thirty days, You will have every parent in town asking you for every toy imaginable and you will be expected to know what it is and where it is. So when a mother, with three screaming children in tow, stops you on the way back from a, much too short, bathroom break and asked for Princess Barbie with the tiara and extra pairs of shoes, you want to be damn sure you know where it is. Every second wasted searching is more time you have to listen to the crying and trust me. you don’t want to be in the firing line when Mum loses it.

Lesson 4

Practice calming breaths. These might be the only things that save you from strangling the little monsters that are now let loose in the store. Every child that belongs on the naughty list is about to run through the building, wrecking the display you just made during your brief ten minutes off the till. And don’t bother looking for the parents to stop them. They are over in the alcohol section trying to find a bottle of vodka strong enough to make them sleep for the next five

Lesson 5

Hone your babysitting skills. All those children not yet old enough to run amock, who are still confined to pushchairs, are about to become your responsibility. It will happen when you least expect it. One second you will be scanning shopping, and the next, a mother will say, “Oh, I just forget jam, can I leave the pushchair here, I won’t be a second.” This is actually code for, “I’m about to run around the store without a child, who wants everything, in tow, I’ll be back in ten minutes… if you’re lucky.” You will now have the joy of watching said child for X amount of time. The main thing to remember in this situation is, don’t make eye contact. They can see fear and as soon as they spot it, they will scream.

Lesson 6

Keep thinking, it’s nearly over. Count down the days and just keep reminding yourself that as soon as December is over, everything will return to normal. The old lady will be nice again. Parents will be polite. You will probably only have one pushchair a month left with you. Children will be back in school. And then you have a whole twelve months… to prepare for next Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

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