Christmas Customer Service

As most of us do at this time of year, we shop and we shop. It’s a tradition that comes every Black Friday through Christmas. Why then in three of the stores that I visited in the past week did I find no one to help, or only one clerk at a register with 20+ people in line? I know it may not be the norm, but it was laughable at the last retailers: one register open and the line growing? After two people left, one went looking for a manager or someone else in the store to help, “He’s helping someone buy a sewing machine.”

The clerk at the register said, “I asked for help and someone will be here ASAP.” That really eases the tensions on a Friday afternoon, ASAP? That could be 10 customers away. Then one woman’s credit card didn’t work and that became the laughable ten minutes. I must admit the clerk kept his cool! Finally, the manager came and saw all the women – yes only women in this fabric store – glaring at the cash register; he decided he better help, and then another sales clerk showed up.

Why on the second floor of a well-known retailer is there not one person to help? Literally, not one employee! On the first floor, the same. I finally asked someone behind the cashier desk, and she said, “They’ve all been called to help at cashiers.” Well, how many customers got too frustrated and left while the cashiers appeased the other customers? I don’t know. A nice woman behind a cash register came out to help me, and we couldn’t find what was advertised; she got on line and ordered the items for me.

Christmas hiring is one of the largest seasons for temporary hires, and yet…!

Am I ba-humbugging Christmas? No. I love the true spirit of Christmas,  I just wanted to voice the frustration of shoppers like me when what we hope to be a somewhat pleasant experience, ends up being a ludicrous time-waster.

I did stay in line at the fabric shop – unlike two women behind me – and “met” several fun women in line. (I recommended we sing Christmas carols. That didn’t happen!) But I was aghast that the situation was happening. Why do we stay in line? Time already spent shopping.

Customer service many times is a misnomer in the days of robo-calling and the internet. But keeping a sense of humor helps 93 percent of the time.

T’was the week before Christmas when all through the store,

Not an employee was available to help anyone on the floor.

The shoppers were eager for presents to find,

In hopes that a clerk might help bring peace of mind.


The customers were harried all late in the season,

While visions of Christmas smiles were there for a reason.

And others in line and still more searching through,

We just settled our brains that someone might help you.


From iPads to electronics, from clothing to toys,

On smiles, on laughter, on good girls and boys.

To the family and friends, to the top of tree,

Now be patient and cheery, the 26th we can see.


Our credit cards how they mounted, our bills on the way,

And our pockets were readied for more gifts to pay.

If only the clerks were as eager as we,

To help make the season more merry to be.


Most stores have the stock, most clerks wear a smile,

And fill all the bags or offer to order, after a while.

And keeping the joy in the spirit of the day,

And giving a smile or a pleasant word to say.


I hope that the lines get shorter this week,

Last-minute shopping is not for the meek.

But I know Santa’s busy, and bringing good cheer,

Merry Christmas to all and to all Happy New Year!


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