I firmly believe that everyone should work in the retail or food service industry at some point in their life. I think it gives you a greater appreciation for the people who do those jobs, which, in turn, makes you a little bit kinder.

I spent my first year in the workforce as a crew member at Cold Stone Creamery when I was 16, eventually ending up at a large grocery chain (Kroger). I spent my first year there as a bagger and cart pusher before being transferred to a department, and that's where I spent the next 3 years. While I was there, I got a second job working retail at Forever 21. I continued working there for about four years until I moved to Iowa back in 2014.

I spent almost every Thanksgiving working at the grocery store and every Black Friday and day after Christmas at Forever 21, and I can tell you, the holiday season is a tough time to work in customer service. People seem to be a bit more stressed and a lot less patient. I understand that when it's really busy it's easy to get frustrated, but please remember: the majority of the time, the employees are doing the best that they can. They're human beings. Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes things don't go as planned or move as quickly as they'd like them to. But you know what doesn't help? Yelling at them in front of everyone. Embarrassing them in front of their coworkers and other shoppers. Especially when it's something that is out of their control. I can't tell you how many times I was berated for our store's exchange policy by people trying to return unwanted Christmas gifts. In my head I was always thinking, "sir/ma'am, I make minimum wage. You are yelling at the wrong person."

Basically, I just want to send a little love to all the retail workers and food service workers who are facing another crazy busy holiday season. Please know that many of us have done what you're doing and understand what you're going through. I hope that people are kind and respectful and that you can make it through the season with as little stress as possible! We appreciate you!

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