A Guide for Shoppers

Have you ever worked retail? Have you ever worked retail during the Christmas season? What an experience.

About a month ago, I was shopping in Kohls and saw a sign that they were hiring seasonal associates. Times have been tough. I lost my job in 2011 when Derek was injured in Afghanistan, and I have not been able to find another full-time job since that time. I’m looking, but it’s just not happening. I hung out my own shingle and opened my own law office, but I am not good with collections. I have amazing clients, but given the time of year and their circumstances, they cannot afford to pay me right now. When I saw that one of my favorite retail stores was hiring, I jumped at the chance. I usually do 90% of my Christmas shopping there, so I applied for the job. It’s been a real workout. I’m walking about 11,000 steps each shift, unless I’m on the register.

I’ve gained a real empathy for retail workers who do this full time, and I have a few suggestions.

Below are a few guidelines/suggestions/requests for all of the customers who are busy shopping this season and always.

  1. Please be kind:
  • Say, “Hello,” and “Thank you.”
  • We are single mothers trying to support our families.
  • We are college students working to pay tuition or to support ourselves while we finish our degree.
  • We are people who work full-time to provide for our families and ourselves.
  • We are grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, cousins, friends, etc.
  • We are doing our best to help you have a positive shopping experience.
  • If you ask us where something is in the store and we tell you that we don’t know, please don’t be rude. Not all of us are familiar with everything that we offer. If we direct you to customer service or to another associate, we really are trying to help you.
  • Remember the adage – do unto others as you would have others do unto you.


  1. Help us help you:
  • If you drop something, please pick it up. If you dropped something at home, would you leave it lying there?
  • If you take something from a display, please return it.
  • If you don’t know where something was in the store and you changed your mind about buying it, please leave it at one of the fitting rooms or at the register.
  • Please don’t throw things on the floor or shove them crumbled into the back of the display. We really try to keep the store looking neat and to keep the floor well stocked.
  • That junior’s sweater someone just shoved to the back of the men’s slacks? That may be just the size and color someone in the junior’s section is searching for.
  • It is our job to organize the displays and make sure everything is in its place, but when we are reorganizing the displays after someone pulled through all of the sweaters and left it a mess, we cannot be returning clothing that was left in the fitting rooms, at customer service, or at the register. The size and color you are looking for may be on the floor of the fitting room.
  • If you have a positive shopping experience, please post a review.
  • If someone was especially helpful and added to your positive experience, please remember his/her name.
  • Posting a positive comment or review or participating in a survey, assists us in improving customer service.
  • Trying to keep the displays neat while the store is open is like trying to shovel in a blizzard with a toy shovel. Be patient with us, please.


  1. Be careful with the merchandise:
  • Would you like to purchase that robe that has someone else’s foundation on it? Or stains because of a child’s sticky hands?
  • Would you like to purchase that sweater that was left on the floor and walked on?ladies
  • Would you like to purchase the dress that was tried on by someone with excessive perfume or body odor?
  • Leavnapkining clothing on the floor also creates a dangerous situation for everyone because someone could slip on it and get hurt.
  • Do NOT use the clothing as a napkin. This makes you an asshole.



  1. Fitting room:
  • If you try something on, please rehang it the right way and return it to the attendant or to the racks hanging in the fitting room.
  • Please do not leave the clothing on the floor or shoved into a corner.mens
  • Treat the merchandise how you would like it to be treated by others.
  • Don’t have sex in the fitting rooms. Yeah, I really shouldn’t have to list this one.
  • Do NOT go to the bathroom in the fitting rooms.  I REALLY should NOT have to list this one. Seriously. Ew. Just no.


  1. Watch your children:
  • Please do not allow your children to run around the store. That creates a dangerous situation for both your children and the other shoppers.
  • Please do not allow your children to pull apart the displays. It may keep them quiet so you can shop, but it creates a mess for everyone else.
  • Please do not allow your children to pull off tags.
  • Please do not allow your children to put the merchandise in their mouths. That shirt they are sucking on may have been lying on the floor a few minutes ago.
  • Please do not allow your children to either climb on the displays or run through the racks. Not only could they get hurt, but they create a horrible mess.


  1. At the register:
  • Please be patient. We are trying to get you checked out as quickly as possible. When the line gets long, we try to open additional registers.
  • Please have your coupons, rewards points, credit card, etc. easily accessible. If you need to pull it up on your phone, do it while in line. The faster you give us what we need, the faster you will be checked out, and the faster the line will move.
  • It isn’t the person at the register’s fault that something does not ring up at the price you thought it should be. We will work with you to find the correct price, but we do not have the authority to give you the price you think it should be. The store and the manufacturers/designers set the price, not us.
  • If we advise you that a certain item is excluded from your coupon, please don’t snipe at us. For the most part, the designers make that decision, not us.
  • Just because something was hanging on the clearance rack does not mean it was clearance. Other shoppers may have left items on the racks.
  • If we tell you that a coupon has expired, we are only doing what we were told to do. No, we cannot apply the coupon anyway. I’m sorry that other retailers accept expired coupons, but unless the computer or a manager tells us we can, we are powerless to do so. If you have an expired coupon, please check with a manager or customer service as to whether it can be extended before getting in line.
  • When I ask you if would like the rewards card or a store credit card, I am not doing it to harass you. I am required to ask, and it really does offer benefits that can save you money. If you are not interested, simply say, “No thank you.”
  • Please don’t shoot the messenger. I am following protocol and doing what I’ve been told to do.


  1. Please don’t shoplift:
  • Shoplifting causes higher prices. We want to be able to offer the best prices for all customers.


  1. Final suggestions for both sides of the register:
  • Smile;
  • Be polite;
  • Clean up after yourself;
  • Be kind;
  • Be respectful;
  • Be patient; and, most of all,
  • Remember that we are all human and make mistakes!


With a little respect and cooperation, everyone can have a good shopping experience.

Have a wonderful Christmas, happy Hanukah, blessed Kwanza, amazing Winter Solstice, or whatever else you celebrate!


Author: tigress5cubs

I have been a single mother to 5 wonderful children since 2000. Michael is 28, Kellina is 22, Ryan is 22 (yes, twins, no, not identical), & Sean is 20. Derek would have been 27 this past year. On July 23, 2011 our world was changed forever. While on patrol in Afghanistan, Derek attempted to rescue another soldier and stepped on an ied resulting in several injuries, including amputations of the legs. He battled his life changing injuries for 20 months before climbing to eternal glory on March 18, 2013. We survived a lot, and we are still climbing that mountain. Come climb with us!

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