How the Grinch Can Steal Christmas Creep

Christmas Shopping 1919
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“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” 

 

~ Dr. SeussHow The Grinch Stole Christmas!

 

According to the idealized vision many of us have of the Christmas holidays, 'tis the season of joy, peace and goodwill. In reality, for many years the season has trended toward a time of frantic shopping for the latest "in" toy or other specialized items and bargains. Retailers even began encroaching on the sacred family day of Thanksgiving, jumping the gun on so-called "Black Friday. Thus, I was relieved to see that this year more stores opted to close on Thanksgiving Day, allowing customers as well as store employees some traditional time with their families and friends. Not that this was an entirely altruistic move on the part of the stores; apparently the effort of opening on Thanksgiving Day simply wasn't worth the trouble. According to Gallup, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are two of the happiest days for Americans, so why mess with that? Isn't there enough stress in people's lives without disrupting the enjoyment of these two revered days?

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Holiday Etiquette Reminders

 

What we have to do... is to find a way to celebrate our diversity
and debate our differences without fracturing our communities.
~ Hillary Clinton

To make it through the holidays with your professionalism and dignity intact, there are some etiquette rules and concepts to keep in mind. I've elaborated on them in the past, so the following are reminders of these best practices in business and social etiquette, with links to my previous entries on the topics and the holiday etiquette involved:

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Black Friday


He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
~ Roy L. Smith

Guest Post by Santa Claus

This post is for all the Virginias and everyone else who share my concern about Christmas decorations and paraphernalia in stores, restaurants, streets and even houses before other holidays have been celebrated, including Halloween. And now our beloved Thanksgiving Day is being turned into a bargain shopping day! In my humble opinion, that’s just plain wrong.

Black Friday Etiquette

"If you get up early to go Christmas shopping today,
you can save a ton of money.
Of course, if you roll over and say, 'Screw shopping this year,'
you can save even more.”
~ Maxine

Maxine may be on to something. Black Friday is a day that has become infamous in the annals of consumer shopping, so maybe it's better if everyone just turned off their alarm clocks, went back to sleep and skipped the madness.

The Department Store Job

Would Macy’s Tell Gimbels?

The time-honored adage above refers to the legendary rivalry between two great New York-based department stores. In the end, Gimbels-- which owned Saks Fifth Avenue, was where Lucy Ricardo shopped, and which started a Thanksgiving Day Parade four years before Macy’s did -- closed its doors. Macy’s, of course, is still around. And, while stores can go out of business because of mergers, acquisitions and poor management, the deciding factor in a department store’s success or failure is its ability to attract, retain and increase the numbers of customers who shop there. 

It’s in the Bag

 

 

 

 “Anybody who’s ever worked in a grocery store or shopped in a grocery store knows that bagging is the heart and soul, the very lifeblood, of the American food industry.” ~ David Letterman

Knowing how to bag properly is one of the most important skills that anyone who works in a supermarket can possess. And, although the above quote by the illustrious talk show star might be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the supermarket bagger might well be the unsung hero of the industry.

Supermarket Job Savvy

“A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith, U.S. Economist

The observation that an ordinary task can be an emotional experience is a concept that anyone who works in a supermarket should understand about its customers. Developing empathy for and respecting customers is key to the success of all retail enterprises. But why is this especially so for a supermarket? 

National Etiquette Week 2013

“O, Times! O, Manners! It is my opinion
That you are changing sadly your dominion
I mean the reign of manners hath long ceased,
For men have none at all, or bad at least…

~ Edgar Allan Poe, Poetry, Tales and Selected Essays

If Mr. Poe was bemoaning the decline of manners in the 19th Century, perhaps there has always been an element of incivility in society. We are most certainly hearing an outcry about the widespread lack of common courtesy in the early 21st Century. However, we know now, as the learned knew back then, that those who master etiquette skills generally are more successful in their social and business lives. 

And, now there is something in which Mr. Poe most likely would have been happy to participate: National Etiquette Week (NEW), which is being observed during this week, May 13-17. 

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Holiday Shopping

12 Steps to Shopping Civility

Generally speaking, everyone is both a buyer and a seller at various times.  We are all consumers of goods and services, and many of us also sell goods and services as part of our jobs.  Thus, everyone must be sure that his or her manners are in good working order in both roles. 

Certainly as a buyer, you are correct to assume that the products and services you purchase will be as advertised and come with no unpleasant surprises.  You also should anticipate customer service to be courteous, prompt and helpful and for any questions problems to be resolved swiftly and pleasantly. 

As a seller of products and services, you should expect that sometimes there will be problems that result in complaints from customers.  Naturally, this can be disconcerting; especially when the customer is upset and you had nothing to do with the problem but are merely representing your retail store or company.