What it’s really like to work in retail over Christmas – by shop workers themselves

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Workers in REX told the ECHO what it is like working during Christmas

 

As expected, Christmas is a very busy time for those who work in retail, with long hours and stressed customers the demand on them tends to be huge.

Following the support for the petition to encourage stores to close on Boxing Day , we’ve spoken to a group of shop workers to find out what working over Christmas is like.

Next week will be particularly busy, as shopping centres extend their opening hours to meet the needs of shoppers.

This means longer days for those working in retail.

Speaking to five workers from REX: Concept Store , located on Bold Street they discussed the 10 things guaranteed to happen in stores every Christmas.

Their list includes the endless amount of Christmas songs, dealing with stressed customers and of course the post- work party shame.

REX owners, Gary Carney and Matt Bell told the ECHO this year they tried to make working fun for their staff.

Matt said: “We understand our workers have families they want to see over Christmas , which is why we let our staff decide when they want to work over Christmas.

“We’ve has a lot going on a REX this year, from Father Christmas to our Snow cannon outside- it all helps working during this period.”

Sophie, Eve and Brianna are pictured with owner Matt Bell

Sophie, Eve and Brianna are pictured with owner Matt Bell

Here’s our round up of what retail workers deal with during Christmas.

Listening to Christmas songs far too early

Shop workers were unanimous in telling us about the Christmas music in stores. With the festive songs starting as early as November.

Meaning by the time the rest of us start feeling festive, those in retail tend to be sick of them.

The need to wish every customer a Merry Christmas (and smile each time)

They say you should always deliver service with a smile but during the Christmas period there is also the need to say Merry Christmas.

After spending all of December wishing it to customers, by the time Christmas Eve arrives you end up wishing you will never have to say it again.

Obligatory fancy dress

Yes, there are times when workers are forced to put on their best Christmas fancy dress.

Workers in Liverpool’s Lunya are dresses as Father Christmas today.

Learning the ability to get through your shift with a hangover

Christmas is often referred to as the party season.

One of the consequences of accepting all the invitations during this period is the hangovers which go with them.

As Christmas is one of the busiest times for shop workers, there is no hiding from customers no matter how bad your hangover is.

There are occasionally the few who had such a heavy night they will still be sporting last night’s make up the next day.

Workers claim being put on the same shift as a friend can help working over Christmas

Workers claim being put on the same shift as a friend can help working over Christmas

Having to face your colleagues after being a show at the work’s Christmas party

So this one could apply to nearly all work places, however the workers we spoke to all agreed this was common in retail too.

Walking in with flashbacks from the work’s do, when you may have had one too many drinks and praying no one remember most of the night either – we’ve all been there.

Dealing with customers who expect everything to still be in stock on Christmas Eve

Despite the promises of last year when we all swore we would be organised next year, most of us do leave our shopping to the last minute.

And I for one was glad to hear I wasn’t alone.

It is almost tradition for shop workers to deal with stressed customers who believe everything will still be in stock despite it being 3pm on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas rota

Nothing says Christmas like the dread of finally seeing what days you will be working over the festive season.

Workers are often in until late on Christmas Eve preparing for the sales and then early on Boxing Day too.

One of the positives of this we’re told is being put on a shift with your friends, which makes the day that little bit quicker.

REX: The Concept Store

REX: The Concept Store

Always being cold because of the open door policy

Due to the open door policy most stores have means workers on the ground floor tend to spend the day trying to avoid the cold.

Men who will buy anything because they’ve left their shopping to late to care

We’re sure there are women out there too who are guilty of this, but the workers we spoke to claimed majority were men.

Staff can guarantee seeing men of all ages spending their Christmas Eve panic buying almost anything which will keep them out of the dog house.

Customers who buy a ridiculous amount of the same item

Some customers have mastered the art of Christmas shopping, with the answer being just buying one good present for every single relative.

This happens a lot more than you might think as well.

So any popular items in stores are likely to go quick.

REX, located on Bold Street, is home to many Independent retailers and brands, including a pop-up Kilner store which stocks a range of home ware products and The Leather Satchel Company

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