TODAY’S BREW: Dunkins’ Hazelnut made at home, which is not surprisingly better
If you needed further proof of my insanity, I actually look fondly back at retail management on Black Friday. YOU HEARD ME. The excellent thing about being a manager on This Most Unholy of Days was that I could make a difference by just being myself. You can do this, too, as just like, a person.
Here’s what I did to make Black Friday fun at my stores:
- TINY SANDWICHES AND COOKIES. All the product will be on the salesfloor for This Most Unholy of Days, so there’s SPACE in the stockroom to hide. I’d put up a long table, and we made a buffet. Tiny sandwiches, cookies forever, Aunt Marge’s leftover unnamed casserole, soda, water, soda water, hot chocolate with marshmallows, pasta salad, all the things, right? And let them sneak it in their pockets on the salesfloor if they have to. Everyone loves a pocket full of tuna.
- ACKNOWLEDGE THAT EVERYONE NEEDS A BUNCH OF FUCKING BREAKS. In my constant rushing around the store, I’d stop for 3 minutes and send a girl out back for food and just QUIET. They appreciate this.
- PLAY CHRISTMAS MOVIES. A constant stream of Christmas movies playing by the buffet. Sit down, watch a movie snippet and forget that the world is run by money-mongering.
- GIFTS ARE NICE. Buy a box of ornaments, glitter glue their names on that shit. Put in basket. GIFTS.
- DON’T THROW THEM TO THE WOLVES. Prepare the poor things. Make sure they know what the hell they’re doing. When they walk in, give them a thank you card for their time, and slip in an index card with a couple of reminders: when their long break is, specials running, that you love them, one good/bad joke, and how to address a bunch of people at once.
- CHALLENGES. Yeah, give them YET MORE CHALLENGES, right? I’d fill up a tote bag with little things, tell them to sell it all and give them a prize when they emptied it. Candy, $5 coffee gift cards, get to leave 5 minutes early pass, that kind of stuff.
- OH YEAH, ACTUALLY LAUGH AND SMILE. I always said that if my life ran as smoothly as Black Friday, I’d be the happiest person alive. I prepped for that day for weeks, and it always went off without a hitch. Are you gonna run out of stuff? Yeah. It’s Black Friday, people are used to it. Laugh, tell them the monsters were out early, and show them something just like it in a different color, for fuck’s sake. Laugh, smile, it’s only retail. And if you make it feel like home for your customers and your employees, they’ll treat it and you like home. It is the beginning of Christmas, after all.
I know, not everyone is in this position, and it’s tiring to be in this position to begin with, but it’s pretty amazing how energizing it is to treat people well when nobody expects to be treated well.
THIS GOES FOR SHOPPERS, TOO. Be nice to employees even if they aren’t nice to you. You don’t know what they went through a minute before you got there. You can be the person who turns their day around by just smiling at them, making eye contact, thanking them. Hell, if you feel really nice, in your maniacal spending of every dime you own on overpriced shit, pick up a couple of $5 gift cards and give them to someone who helped you, who had a smile for you, or who just looks like they need a little kindness after being bullied by a thousand nightmare shoppers. Think of how it feels when a stranger does something kind for you. Ever have a guy in the drive-thru buy your coffee for you? Makes your day. BE THAT GUY. I mean, don’t be a frigging creep about it, but you know, be nice.
OKAY, THAT’S MY RANT. Have some fun out there, and be the kind of person that people like.
OH, YOU CAN BE SUPER NICE AND BUY SOMEONE MY BOOK, HI, IT’S ME, GIFT SOMEONE MY BOOKS. Watch this, watch.
“Long day, huh? I bet you can’t wait to be *wink at camera* RUNNING HOME this afternoon?” *show them picture of your favorite author, Julie Hutchings.
“Wow, I bet you wish you could take a quick break. Perhaps if you were the Witch of Stars from the young adult dark fantasy THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, you could wish for everyone to take a break, right?”
No, you don’t really have to do this, but I won’t stop you. I won’t. You COULD send someone the nice gift of an e-book for $2.99 though, couldn’t you?! You could do that. WHY WOULDN’T YOU DO THAT? I mean, I’m not telling you what book to send, but I am though. I am.
OH HEY, YOU KNOW WHAT? IF YOU SEND SOMEONE THE GIFT OF ONE OF MY BOOKS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, EMAIL ME AT JULESHUTCH(AT)OUTLOOK.COM OR TWEET ME AT @HUTCHINGSJULIE! I’ll give you a prize. Because that makes ME feel good. So go on now, happy holiday it, and remember to be awesome.