5 Ways to Be a Better, Nicer Shopper

This time of year, shopping can seem more like a physical contact sport than an act of leisure.

Parking is a nightmare, children are cranky, and adult patience is hanging on by a string. The next time you feel the need to take out your anger, frustration, or impatience on a sales associate, remember these five tips.

1. Fake It
The next a sales associate greets you with a pleasant “How are you doing today?” return the gesture. You may not care, but keep in mind they are reading from a script they’ve been taught as well. And, they’ve just asked 100 customers before you the same question. So even if you’re having the worst day imaginable, put on a smile and answer, “Just fine, how about yourself?”

2. Be Fair
Don’t set a store associate up for failure by asking them a question the probability of them knowing is low. Most clerks this time of year are hired especially for the holiday season—they’re not going to know the layout of the whole store. So, if you have a question in office supplies, and the only person around is working the electronics department, ask them to page someone for you to the aisle.

3. Stay Home, Sniffles
If you don’t like it when co-workers come in sick to the office, don’t go shopping and spread your germs to other shoppers and store clerks. They have to handle all the items you just sneezed and coughed on to scan and they don’t deserve to work the holidays and be sick while doing it. JUST STAY HOME.

4. Empathize
No one likes getting scream at. Store employers handle multiple screamers a day and they have to do it in public with a whole line watching. If you witness someone else’s bad behavior, consider stepping in the store clerk’s behalf. If this seems like a dangerous confrontation to insert yourself into, wait until your turn and then say something like “Don’t let that jerk bother you. You’re doing a great job.” If you’re feeling extra generous, tell their manager the same thing.

5. Be Neat
Don’t unfold 10 sweaters and then leave them strewn all over the display, or deposit your empty Starbucks cup on the nearest counter. Store associates already have a hard enough time waiting on customers, they don’t need to be cleaning up after you because you don’t have the patience to find a garage can, or carefully look for your size. Want to be an extra good customer? Throw away other’s trash when you see it out, and take all the clothes you brought into the dressing room back to where they belong on the floor.