As the holidays approach, I get so full of Christmas cheer, I can hardly stand it. But, then, I don’t own a retail store either.
I know, this is the time of year the retailers sit off in the corner and count their money pouring in, right? Not so, because I happen to know retailers are working their rears off around Christmas.
Let’s examine the Christmas season and maybe enlighten some on what retailers are going through during the holidays. Perhaps retailers will be appreciated more if they are a little better understood.
Generally, business owners will bend over backward to be courteous to their customers. However, on occasion, a shop owner will say or do something that irritates a customer. Remember, this guy is putting in 16 hour days to ensure his business is meeting YOUR needs for Christmas. He is working six, and often seven days a week and has been since around Thanksgiving. He has spent little time with leisurely activities and his family. The poor fellow has a right to be a little ill.
You know how irritated Christmas planning and shopping make you, and you only spend a few weeks thinking about it. Well, the retailer has been thinking about it for months. He has had to plan his inventory, arrange financing for it, and stock it well before you even thought about Santa Claus. Once you begin to buy this stock of goods, he has to worry about whether he made the right buying decisions months ago, or will you ignore what he felt would be “hot sellers?” If this happens, the owner is stuck with lower sales and a lot of slow moving inventory. No wonder he’s a bit touchy this time of year.
What about shoplifters? Our retailer knows a retail store at Christmas is mecca to shoplifters, so store personnel have to be alert at all times. Every time an unpaid item walks out the door, the store loses that revenue and the owner suffers. And if he happens to catch a shoplifter? He must prosecute, or word will get out that his store is easy pickings. Prosecuting takes up more of his valuable time in a season in which he has none to spare.
Good employees can help alleviate the pain of each of these problems, but when the holidays arrive, the retail work force is often doubled in a business. More employees equal more headaches. The owner usually doesn’t know if he can trust all of his employees or not, yet he has to do so to some extent. Another ulcer!
While most of us are looking forward to a little time off from work at Christmas and spending time with our families, the retailer is wondering if he will even get home in time to help Santa unload the sleigh. You see, Christmas Eve is one of the busiest days of the year, and Mr. Retailer has got to be there until closing, and later.
But cheer up, our merchant will get Christmas Day off to spend with his family ... of course, he is probably sick with concern over December 26, because the day after Christmas is also one of retail’s busiest days. People are taking back presents they don’t like or don’t want, broken items, etc. Refunds and exchanges are rampant. Some wise souls are even buying the sale items for next year’s Christmas. Next year’s Christmas! Aiiee!
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