Several months ago, I was frustrated about some thing about Costco that I can't remember now. I honestly don't remember anything about the situation except that I spoke sharply to an employee and drove off. Not long after, I went back to apologize for my words, but he wasn't there. How silly it is that I don't even remember what I was mad about. But I do remember that I didn't treat this man very graciously. And I also remember that I didn't get a chance to apologize.
Customer service jobs are hard. Two years ago I worked in a bookstore, and the holiday season was madness. Long hours, long lines, sore feet, sore brain. Even with kind patrons, constant customer interaction is demanding (especially for us introverts). And then you throw crazy customers into the mix, and retail jobs are sometimes a nightmare.
Holiday shopping is about to begin. I know that Christmas shopping is crazy and expensive and overwhelming, but please don't make the mistake I did and say something that you'll regret. Because you might not get to say sorry. Employees work hard, and even when they're not very good employees, they deserve to be treated with kindness and patience.
Smile, and mean it. Wish them a merry Christmas. Say thank you. And smile again. It's not asking that much to be a gracious customer, and it makes a world of difference. Perhaps the holidays shouldn't be as hectic as they are. Maybe we could all do a little more to make the December calendar a little less. So take a moment and make the Target aisles and checkout lines a little more humane, and share your gracious heart with those overworked, underpaid employees who really are doing their best.
This post is part of a 31-day series on gracious living. You can find the other posts here.