It is almost Christmas!! Which means I need to still finish buying presents, wrap them, send out Christmas cards, decorate my house, decorate the tree, bake cookies, go to parties, and oh yeah do all of the normal things I usually have to do in a week. December is a time to be overwhelmed for sure. But being overwhelmed and busy does not give me the right to be mean or unkind. This is something to consider at the end of a busy holiday season.
As I have told you, I am a high school teacher. I love my students and enjoy watching them mature into wonderful people. Most of them work at least a little bit during the holiday season, because it is easy to find jobs, even if just for a short time. For many of them, it is the first time they are gaining any experience in the workplace. I don’t think it is any secret many retail facilities don’t train their seasonal staff as well as they might normally. They just try to make it through with these new people, without investing a lot of time in them. I get it, it’s a business.
However, every week I have to listen to their stories from the weekend of people treating them disrespectfully. A student came in after the chaos of Black Friday and told me about her work experience from that weekend. She is a cashier at Kohl’s and while she had an experience, I don’t think hers was unique. The store could have been any store. She was working as a cashier and said a lady yelled at her because she had a lot of presents to buy and the line and my student were not moving fast enough. My student is very new to the world of work. This is her first job and she had been working there maybe two weeks. She was upset, because she felt as if she was trying really hard and had no control over how long the line was at that time. She apologized to the woman, who scoffed at her and continued to mutter under her breath about her abilities as a cashier. After she gave the woman her receipt and said have a good day, the lady simply rolled her eyes at my student and left in a rush.
I know I am protective of my students, but these are young people still learning how to be adults. So adults need to behave in an appropriate way. We are all busy, with many more things on our plates at this time of the year. But it is supposed to be a season of merriment and a season of giving. If your to-do list causes you to be unkind or disrespectful to those trying to help you out, perhaps you need to cut back on your list.
I tried to tell my student, she was not alone and did the right thing trying to appease this lady who yelled at her. I am sure the line was long and as a new cashier, I can imagine my student was slightly flustered and maybe not moving as fast as humanly possible. But I still don’t think it gives anyone the right to be disrespectful or yell at a teenager who obviously has no control over the lines.
Challenge Time!! A two-part challenge for you today. The first part is have you ever had a similar experience? How did you handle it? What should I tell my students to do when they are working and people are crabby? The second part, I beg you, please try to keep these young people in mind. They might not have a lot of experience, they may have no control over the situation in the store they are working, please treat them with respect and kindness. Show them how adults are supposed to act. Let’s make it a season of happiness.
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Talk to you soon,