Every year, holiday gift shopping goes exactly the same, no matter how much you’ve prepared. The week before Christmas, you rush store to store to check names off of your gift list. It’s a madhouse at the mall, you wait 25 minutes for some chick on her phone to pull out of a parking spot (she totally knows you’re there), you budget your time and your money, school pickup is in 2 hours and you need to get this done while you’re kid free and here.
We’ve all been there. The most wonderful time of the year is also the most stressful. There’s a lot to do and so many people to please that it’s easy to forget our manners and ourselves. I’ve experienced this firsthand. I worked retail and waited tables at busy NYC restaurants for many years, and I have some tips to help get you through the holiday season without being an asshole.
1. GET OFF YOUR PHONE. If you’re not ready to focus (or even politely mouth the words “I’m so sorry”) to the person ringing you up, then step out of line, finish your call or your BuzzFeed quiz, and then get back in line. Don’t be that person. Don’t worry, you will still be able find out which of your Facebook friends you should make-out with, or what percentage sexy you are, after you have paid for your purchase.
2. Say “hello,” “please,” “thank you,” and “ goodbye.” Let’s start simple. Just say hello. Don’t step up to the register with all your items and space out. Acknowledge the person helping you, and always end the transaction with “thank you.” You would expect this small courtesy from your children, so you should do it, too.
3. Ask and (here’s the hard part) LISTEN. “Hi, How are you?” “I’m fine, thanks. How are you? Do you have this in small?” NO. Just no. You just asked someone how they’re doing so at least pretend to listen to the answer. Don’t be rude. I was always shocked at how invisible I felt at times during the holidays. People seemed to forget I was an actual person as they were demanding sizes, asking for extra wrapping paper and boxes, and questioning sale prices. The sales associates are in the store to help you, so show them a little common courtesy and you’ll be surprised how much more helpful they can be.
4. TIP! The average tip (at least here in NYC) is no longer 15%, it’s 20%. Let’s start by storing that info in our brains. You will look like douche if you leave 15%.
(Here’s a tip within a tip: leave an extra dollar or two for truly exceptional service. It’s not really about the money, but what that extra tip represents to the server. It’s a nice thing to do, and if it doesn’t break your bank, will make someone’s day.)
5. Hang up your clothes after trying them on. Don’t be a child and leave your clothes on the floor or hand a crumbled wad of discarded items to the dressing room attendant. Do what your momma taught you and hang up your clothes. And for the sake of every person who comes after you, wear deodorant (or, even better, shower)! There is nothing worse than finding the perfect sweater dress and taking it to the fitting room to try on only to realize that the pits smell like onions. Yes, it’s the time of year for caring and sharing, but please keep your stink to yourself.
6. Shop online. If you can’t seem to shed your Scrooge skin (or find the will to bathe), just stay home in your comfy sweatpants. Holiday shopping is stressful enough without having to deal with people who have made it their goal in life to make the rest of us miserable. Be self-aware enough to recognize that you will just add to the chaos and stay the FUDGE home.
If you can keep these 6 simple ideas in mind while shopping this year, you will be amazed at how much more pleasant your shopping experience will be. (I once received an extra 25% of my entire purchase at Macy’s simply because the manager appreciated my patience after their computer systems went down.)
Go slap on a smile and some deodorant and have a little fun. And remember: thank you and have a great day!
Bianca Jamotte LeRoux is a mom, award-winning filmmaker, actress, and writer, Brooklyn business owner, and creator of the original independent series Real Mommy Confessions. Follow Bianca on Facebook.
Check out the book I contributed to on Amazon.com.
This post first appeared on MomCoApp.com.