We were fourth in line for about 20 minutes on the sixth checkout of the day. A teal striped Ralph Lauren boy’s polo shirt was all my mother and I had to pay for, but it was the longest wait of the day.
Our bodies inched forward like cars do in stand still traffic just to make it feel as though you are getting somewhere—we were getting nowhere. What felt like a lifetime landed us next in line, and then it happened. The lady in front of us was making several returns, she began to burrow through her purse for the receipt when she reached the counter, and the saga dragged on. And on.
Other shoppers began to pile up behind us in a line that now stretched past the luggage department and into the home store of our local Macy*s. She wanted to return this, could not find her receipt for that, and wanted to purchase those boxes over there, but wait she has a coupon somewhere, let her check. The shoppers behind us began their huffing and puffing, we did too. They even shouted at her, I understood their frustrations.
Now that we have wiped the sweat off our foreheads from the rat race that is the holiday shopping season, I have a few helpful hints for the next time you hit the stores during high traffic shopping season. So you don’t get shouted at by a line full of grumpy, tired shoppers.
1. If you’re returning items, please have your receipt ready before you get to the register. There is no excuse if you’ve been waiting on a line for 20 minutes that you don’t have the receipt in hand when it’s your turn to checkout.
2. Have coupons? Cool, I do too and I love getting a good deal. However, I make sure that my coupons are in order of the stores I’m trying to hit, that way when I check out, I’m not misusing coupons or scrambling through my purse looking for them. Keep them together with a clip or an envelope for easy access.
3. Keep the aisles clear. I repeat, KEEP THE AISLES CLEAR. I have bumped into more strollers than I care to see while trying to make my way through the mall maze. If you have strollers, wheelchairs, or even just tons of shopping bags with you, make sure you keep on either side of the aisles that way there is a clear path for passerby’s to swiftly walk through.
4. One car go, one car let in. It took my mother and I over 50 minutes, an argument with a bus driver, and loud honking horns to exit a parking lot we’re usually out of in one minute. Everyone wants to leave, let’s agree we all have a common goal. But if it’s every man for himself in the parking lot, it will be a stand off and no one will win. I’m not saying to let every car cut in front of you for the sake of traffic. I’m just suggesting letting one car through in front of you, just one car. It’ll make all the difference in everyone shimmying out of the lot.
5. And finally, be kind. So many people are fed up with the holidays and the crowds. Store employees are overworked from the extended holiday hours, and they’ve dealt with their fair share of screaming customers. A simple smile and “Thank you, Happy Holidays!” goes a long way.
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