Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An important public service announcement...

Dear inconsiderate holiday shoppers,

As someone who feels like they are "in the know" when it comes to shopping etiquette, I feel it my duty to give you some of the following information:

a) Here are some ways to tell that yes, you are indeed an inconsiderate holiday shopper. You may not think that you are. Denial is a big part of addictions and their related problems, but with this help, you may be able to find out that you are an inconsiderate shopper, and then you will be able to admit it. As we all know, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

1) You try to enter a store 10 minutes before closing and have every intention of completing your mile long shopping list before the store closes.
2) You see a store employee vigorously working to beautify their area before the store closes and you feel the need to go through that area and mess it up all over again just to feed your rampant need to be talked about behind your back by that employee later.
3) You get to a table in one of the clothing departments full of folded goodies. It looks beautiful and shiny. The product is all the same cut and style, just different colors, but you still have the sick need to unfold 3 of the same size shirt in every color just to be sure...
4) You rip all of those said 3 of the same size of the same shirt in every different color from the bottom of the pile, making it necessary for the entire table to be refolded.
5) You take a jacket or shirt off the hanger to either try it on or hold it up in front of you, you feel the twisted need to hang the hanger the wrong way on the rack.
6) You like to hide things, in dark places...shove them in crevices with the hope that when you return they will be usually do not return, or if you do, you forget that you hid it, or where you hid it.
7)Instead of handing items that you have changed your mind about to the cashier at the front of the store, you leave them in a totally unrelated aisle, in an obvious and dangerous not enough room for the item on the shelf so you shove it in as hard as you can to make it fit, like a square peg in a round hole.
8)You can't navigate through the racks in the clothing departments the way you want to, so you shove them over, knocking half the items off the hangers, and pushing that rack into another rack, knocking half the items off that leave and act as if nothing has happened.
9) You are looking at items that an employee is obviously straightening up, you completely destroy part or all of their hard work and then you state the obvious, because you want to be known as Captain Obvious, by saying, "I just messed that up for you." and then you walk away...
10)You call a store at 3:00 in the afternoon to ask if there are any more of a hot ticket item in stock (yes, I am talking about Zhu Zhu hamster toys...) You get angry that either a) the store doesn't have any more when they were supposed to get some in that day or b) the store has some in but because it is a hot ticket item, the store must sell them on a first come, first serve basis and cannot hold them for you.

If you answered yes to any of these scenarios, then I am talking to you Mr./Ms. Inconsiderate Holiday shopper. In order to help you overcome this addiction, I feel its my need as a retail therapist (ie Target team member) to help you come up with ways to fight these scenarios so that you can help foster a happier outcome for those other shoppers around you, and the employees that have to clean up after you and your ilk (you sick twisted arrogant people you)...Many of the fixes are common sense, or so it would seem, but I will state the obvious for your benefit and the benefit of all those around you.

Fixes for the problems:
1) You enter the store 10 minutes before closing...think about this...chances are, the employees are trying to quickly get the place "spiffed up" for the next day. Remember these things, a) they can't leave until you do, when the lights go out, the store IS closed, it isn't your own personal shopping are NOT Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, or any other celebrity that stores either stay open for or open early for. I know this must be difficult for you to take and understand, but you are just Jane/Joe is your job to listen to the prompts and leave the store, not stay in the aisle or section you are in bound and determined to find either a size that doesn't exist (yes, I'm talking to you Clearance Rack Shopper) or an item that you have been told 3 times by employees is not in stock and will not be until a new truck comes in. As you walk in the store and you are hearing the 10 minute announcement...look at your mile long list...what is most important? NO- NOT ALL OF IT! Much of it can wait until the next day if you really think about is it worth it to rush yourself and possibly make some purchases you will regret the next morning because you are being so hasty? Is it worth it to anger every employee who has been there since 3 or 4 in the afternoon (some for longer) and mess up areas that they thought that they had cleaned and wouldn't have to fix again? The answer to both these questions is NO. Do you need milk? Fine, go get your milk, your kids will probably need it for cereal in the morning. Are you finally going to get that blouse you liked on a previous visit for a hot date with your husband? Fine, you've probably already tried it on, or you know what size you'll need, go pick it up....but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you feel that you have the time to browse. The store is closing, the employees are tired and probably grumpy, even if they do have smiles plastered on their faces, they are just trying to keep their jobs and keep you happy. Think about it...your mile long list will be better served when you have more time to look around for comparable items that perhaps are cheaper or to price match the next day. You don't need $600 worth of clothes and toys right away...think about you. You'll thank me for it later.

2)You see the lone employee in one area of the store vigorously working to clean up the racks or aisles of the store, it closes in 10 minutes...this goes back to #1...I will remind you that now is NOT the time to browse. You don't need to see those shirts on the don't need to pull them out and off hangers to check don't need to pick up a toy that is boxed, change your mind and put it back on the wrong shelf because its more convenient. Now is the time to shop about things that you are sure you want to get and need...fight the urge...just walk away and keep that employee happy and the area beautiful.

3, 4)Ahhh the mystery that is the folded shirt...Now I understand you want to look at cut and style. Fine, it may be the wrong size, but pick up that XS or S on the top of the pile, open it and take a look. Now, if you find you fancy that cut and style and you want to buy one...fantastic, you are so smart and wonderful, look at you go...but avoid that urge, that tick to open 7 shirts in the size you need. Also, as you take the shirts out of the pile, think about takes so much more effort to rip a shirt from the bottom...why not try this: pick up the pile of shirts on top of the one you intend to purchase nicely and then grab your shirt from underneath, then put the shirts you just picked back up on top of the a shirt worth ripping a tricep for? Think about it, that hard shaking motion you use that inevitably ends in disaster (ie the destruction of the beautiful folding job of all the shirts on top) can be dangerous and painful if you take it a step too far. Save you arms. Now, here we have another've decided you don't want that shirt...well if you were careful in how you grabbed it you haven't unfolded it. Don't worry about resizing it, an employee will happily do that later...simply place it neatly back on the top of the pile you so carefully moved before. If by chance you have unfolded can fold it however you fold a shirt at home as you do laundry and do the same, place it on the top of the pile. Its much easier to refold shirts that are still somewhat in order than it is to refold chaos...think about that poor employee on the closing crew, or there during the day. Yes, it is their job to clean up after you, but think about how much more they can do for you and how much happier they will be to help you if you have been considerate...they will have time to do other things that are important in the store...possibly other things that don't get done that annoy you...well guess why they don't get done? That's right, because YOU are an inconsiderate holiday shopper.

5) You see it...the jacket or shirt you've been eyeing all week. You finally decide to take the plunge and try it on...or to pull it off the hanger and hold it up to yourself to check color and cut. Wonderful, I am soooo soooo happy for you. Now, as you take that coat or shirt off the rack, pay attention. How is EVERY OTHER coat or shirt of that exact same style hanging? Chances are, that is the way the store policy dictates for them to hang. Why not try a) actually putting it back on the hanger instead of draping it over the rack after you're done and b) putting it back on the hanger the way that ALL THE OTHER coats and shirts are don't even have to zip it back up...just put it back on the hanger the correct way and hang the hanger up in the same direction as all the other hangers. If part of the coat happens to fall off the hanger, if an arm of a shirt comes off, that is much easier to fix for that poor employee later on than physically having to remove the garment from the rack, switch the hanger and then put it back in size order....If you don't care about the employees, think about your fellow shoppers, they deserve to behold the beauty you found. Why cheat the store you love out of paying customers because you can't take the 2.2 seconds to hang something back up...

6) Just don't try to hide things...I promise, it doesn't work, and at the end of the night, nothing makes that poor closing employee more grumpy than finding something shoved into a dark crevice (yes, if its a good store they are told to check everywhere... )and if they find something they have to move it back to where it belongs. Chances are that even if you do remember and come back to the spot where you believed you had cleverly hidden something, it won't be there. If you can't buy it that day, what makes you believe you'll be able to buy it the next day? Be honest with yourself...fight the urge to be a hoarder, it never ends well...and think, it could be the window to other hoarding do not want to be the crazy cat lady/man on your street do you? The crazy cat lady/man on the news who is crying because the police are removing animals from your home...I'm just saying, hoarding something in a store is the first step in a dangerous scary slope that you don't want to travel down my friend. Fight the urge...if you can afford it the next day, chances are it will still be there, or you will be able to get a rain check, so why worry?

7)Soooo, you've changed your mind about that ear and nose hair trimmer for uncle Bob? Okay, no problem. Its not a crime, people change their minds all the time. Repeat this affirmation to yourself: "I will not feel guilty handing the cashier the things I don't want." Say this to yourself 15 times before every shopping trip. The cashiers have special bins at their registers in which they can store the goodies that you have decided you don't want. They will be all too happy to take them from you, and then, later on, someone will make sure they get back to the correct place. Its sooo much easier for the poor employee who normally would have to pry the item out of the incorrect spot. Remember how we talked about the employee having more time to do things in the store is beneficial for you? Yeah, just don't do it. Don't leave it in Timbuktu or cram it on that shelf where it obviously doesn't be the easier thing for you and the employees...leave it at the front with the cashier. Think about this, you exert a lot less energy handing the item to the cashier than you do cramming it where it doesn't be long...I'm only thinking about you...honestly...

8)99.9% of the time the racks in the clothing department are set up so that you can get a cart through...why not conform...I know, you want to go perpendicular and the store wants you to move horizontally...I'm sooo sorry for you. But think about all the energy you waste pushing the rack with your cart so you can get to where you want to go....In the unlikely occurrence that the racks are not wide enough apart for you to get your cart through and you do happen to accidentely knock off items...chances are there is an employee nearby, if you don't have time to clean up the mess, why not be a decent human being and actually notify someone that it is there. Think about the other shoppers. What if Jenny Jones was coming to the store particularly for the item that you just knocked off the rack in that size...what if one of your ilk comes along, an inconsiderate shopper who isn't aware of their problem? You know they are going to roll over the clothes as opposed to picking them up or choosing a different path around. How is that fair? Deny your urge to be an inconsiderate creep, either pick it up yourself or grab that employee folding shirts across the aisle, explain you're in a hurry. They will happily oblige to clean up after you since they have so much more time now that you aren't being inconsiderate in other ways...

9)Alright...I know we all want to be a super hero...but Captain Obvious shouldn't exactly be your dream personna...If you see that employee folding shirts, or straightening boxes its okay to go pick something up. Perhaps start a little small talk with them, ask a question about the product, then if you mess up their area, you can nonchalantly either walk away, or apologize for the mess. They will be much happier to clean up after you if they are aware that you feel guilty for messing it up...even if you don't feel guilty...fake it...I'm sure you can muster some fake guilt from somewhere in your psyche...I'm just saying. Don't be Captain Obvious and walk away...that employee WILL complain about you later...what if that employee is a witch...are you really prepared for the hex that could come your way? I'm just saying, you may want to be careful.

10)I understand that you want to make your child's Christmas wish a reality. I feel your pain. I have nieces and nephews myself. I also understand the frustration that comes along with a hot ticket item that seems to fly on the shelf as fast as the store puts them on. However, be you really think that at 3 in the afternoon some of that hot ticket item will still be there? That through some magic twist of fate that hot ticket item will no longer be a hot ticket item? Hate to sound like a Magic 8 Ball here, but all signs point to NO...why not call at 8 AM right after you get your little one off to school, you can keep the secrecy element and possibly find that some did come on the truck. You might be one of the lucky few who happens to be the first in the phrase "first come first served"....Now...for those of you looking for the lofty Zhu Zhu hamster...its basically a cat toy that they have turned into a kids stuffed could possibly buy that cat toy and take it out of the package and set it up with the Zhu Zhu accessories Christmas morning...think about crafty...or here is a novel idea...Why not buy the kids some responsibility and get them an ACTUAL me crazy, but I would think it would be a lot more fun to have the living breathing animal that can react and learn tricks than a doll that just sits there... If you don't want a hamster, if you think they are mean...why not get a rat? If you don't buy 2 rats, a single rat is actually a terrific pet who craves your attention because they have a need for social interaction. It is having buddies that makes them mean and prone to bite because they are having their need for affection and companionship fulfilled by their cage buddy...for real...a fake hamster or a real hamster? I'd take the real one any day of the week.

Okay...I know its difficult. I know that you have just realized that you are an inconsiderate shopper...I know that you might need to take things in baby steps...however, now that you are aware of your problem, now that I have given you ways to overcome your sick and twisted addiction to being is my hope that you will follow through and try to fight your urges. Perhaps you can start a support group for you and your ilk...Inconsiderate Shoppers Anonymous...just do something so that hopefully the rest of this holiday shopping season can be happy for everyone.

Hugs and loves until next time! Britt

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