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The Challenges and Difficulties of Working Retail Over the Holiday Season

by Mollie Green

It’s an average day in the Francis Scott Key Mall, and all across Frederick County all types of customers flock to stores trying to get all of their Christmas shopping finished.

Where customers are armed with bags, some in retail stores and others at little shops, an employee can never fail to run into rude customers.

I am an employee at American Eagle and with so many customers strolling into the store, it is very stressful. Most of the time customers are very respectful and patient. But there is always that one percentage of people who leave your jaw clenching.

With American Eagle being a very popular store for both men and women, there is never a point where I am not doing anything; at least during the holidays.

I love working with the public but I have had experiences where customers attack me with questions or comments. For example, when asked if they need assistance, they come off snubbing and make the employee (me) feel bad for doing their job.

Besides clothing stores in the mall, there are other things to buy; food. Raven Joseph, who is a senior at Walkersville High School works at Auntie Anne’s and this is the most busy food place in the mall. If I do say so myself, I love a good pretzel.

I asked Joseph, how stressful is it working at Auntie Anne’s during the holidays? She said, “Very stressful, I have to deliver pretzels back and forth to the smaller Auntie Anne’s and the bigger one every half hour. With a ton of people walking around, it’s very hard to get the job done”.

I then asked Joseph if she has to deal with any rude customers and she said, “Yeah, people who complain about the prices and stuff”. Joseph said the worst situation she has ever been in is, “When people assume you’re giving them an attitude and it’s also bothersome when people are about to order right before your break.”

Madison Grant who is a senior here at Walkersville High, and also my co-worker gave me some of her input on working during the holidays. “Well, there’s never a chance to take a break unless you’re on your actual break. It goes by fast though!” She said she has never been in a bad situation but she said “people always complain about sizes.”

Of course there are polite customers, but the mall would have trouble surviving without the rude ones. The nice customers provide a calm atmosphere and the rude customers keep employees on their toes with a great story to tell at home.

By the end of the day, employees are able to take a deep breath and head home to be with their families over the holidays.