Arts & Culture News

Retail Workers Tell Us the Worst Things Customers Do During Holidays

Dallas' 14 Records is one local shop to consider this holiday shopping season. Just stop posing with the records and not buying them, you absolute freak.
Dallas' 14 Records is one local shop to consider this holiday shopping season. Just stop posing with the records and not buying them, you absolute freak. Bucks Burnett
It’s that special time of year again, when Dallasites swarm to malls, clothing stores, toy shops, post offices and city streets, all juiced-up and ready to rage after hitting the neighborhood Starbucks to load up on sugary, pepperminty caffeinated cream before pushing their credit lines to the limit. There will be yelling, fighting, panic attacks, road rage, desperation and fortunes spent. All of the chaos in the name of finding the perfect gift for the people on Santa’s nice lists.

On the other side of things, retailers have stocked stores full of newly arrived merchandise, store managers are getting drilled from corporate to outperform last year’s numbers and Karens are trying hard to go viral. And all this hell falls on the salespeople and seasonal help. When the dust settles on Jan. 2, careers will be made for some, while others will be looking for a new line of work, having quit after some old man yelled at them for not shipping a big barrel of popcorn to the right address when, really, it was taken by a porch pirate. That said, it’s the holidays, so play nice. To help make the experience as smooth as possible for everyone involved, we talked to local retail workers about their worst experiences so we can all avoid repeating history year after year.

Here are 50 things not to do when shopping for all the goodies to fuel your holiday celebration.

1. Shopping after drinking. You might think shopping is more fun while drunk, but asking the barista again for an Irish coffee isn't as cute as you think it is.

2. Taking up two parking spots on Christmas Eve, or anytime in the 48 hours before the big day, or, really, ever.

3. Speeding in mall parking lots. Santa will not visit you in jail. And if he does, it's probably not for the reason you think.

4. Bringing your own jar and helping yourself to a huge scoop of face cream so your "mom can try it." You just stole $80 worth of product. This is why your mom has all those worry lines.

5. Pooping in a dressing room on a pile of clothes. What in the Amber Heard is wrong with you? Pretend like it's 2022 and use a toilet.

6. Insisting on using outdated coupons. Coupons are meant to bring in customers during slow times. Christmas is not a slow time. You're slow, so set reminders on your phone.

7. Putting anything on hold and expecting it to be there after 24 hours. We wish the world could be more fair, but it's not.

8. Putting anything on hold, period. Are you waiting until after Christmas to buy Christmas gifts? People need to overspend now; let capitalism flow as intended.

9. Tipping poorly. We know, the expectation for tipping is getting out of hand, but don't take that out on the high-schooler serving you fries to save to go to college, only to end up serving you fries part-time to pay off their student loan. Dream crusher.

10. Asking workers to check if the merchandise they don't have is actually hidden in the back. It’s Christmas, it’s ALL OUT. The whole store is the back.

11. Bragging about how much money you spend at other stores when you’re not buying a damn thing at the one you’re at. The TJ Maxx worker does not care how much you spent at Louis Vuitton. Get your Paris Hilton fragrance for your kids' babysitter and zip it.

12. Drinking all the complimentary booze at fancy stores and walking out empty-handed. Sometimes it's like you're a Central Market soccer mom customer sampling cheeses and pretending you're in Paris.

13. Unleashing all of your family Christmas drama on the Gap sales associate. There's a big Gap in your social skills.

14. Complaining about how expensive just everything is now. Your salesperson’s auto insurance, rent and grocery bills are high too. Sorry the price went up on the neck massager at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

15. Unfolding merchandise to look for your size. Just. Look. At. The. Tags.

16. Taking up an hour of your salesperson’s precious time because you feel like chatting, just to keep looking elsewhere. They have sales goals, you know? If you want to go on a shopping date, swipe right on any suburban woman on Tinder and tell her you're paying.

17. Going to the mall without showering. The place already stinks of last-minute panic.

18. Trying on jeans without underwear. Especially if you haven't showered.

19. Returning used underwear. It's Victoria's Secret, not Scent. Some things should stay between you and your gyno.

20. Using the display deodorant stick on yourself when you think no one is looking. The cameras are looking and judging. Odds are you’re probably not the first person to use that deodorant stick either.

21. Demanding a free gift with purchase. Most cosmetic counters have goodies stashed away, but those are for established customers. Sorry, we don't make the rules. Those people are on commission and they're not giving away a full-sized Lancome mascara and lash conditioner to someone buying a $20 eyeshadow once.

22. Begging for additional discounts. The Macy's employee is not actually the Macy. They will not steal for you by changing prices.

23. Shoplifting. Don't make us take you back to the store and make you apologize.

24. Expecting to get all of your Christmas shopping done in one single day for your family, extended family, office friends, colleagues and boss. Maybe at Target.

25. Picking up merchandise and leaving it all over the store while you're still “deciding.” Don't drop that fancy necklace in the toy section; it's a choking hazard.

26. Begging even harder for discounts while you’re flashing your new Gucci leather goods. Only Billie Eilish can pull off the homeless-but-make-it-designer aesthetic.

27. Asking to speak with the manager unless it's a real shopping emergency. Seek therapy for your constant need for validation.

28. Asking the retail workers what they really do. "Yeah, sir, I'm a heart surgeon. I just work at Walmart on weekends to fill all my extra time."

29. Parking in the handicap space if you’re not handicapped. This could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Piss off the wrong do-gooder vigilante and you could get a broken leg this Christmas.

30. Hooking up in the dressing room. We know, you're trying to save your failing marriage by hitting items on your kink list, but we just want to try on a stupid sweater without hearing a stranger sex-moaning in the next stall.

31. Asking one salesperson to ring up items in several departments. Cosmetic counters have individual sales goals and commision-based pay, as do other departments. No, you can't ring up a diamond ring in the children's clothing department just because you're going there next.

32. Visiting the local record shop with the sole intention of posing with vinyl records. These are places of business, not the background for your Instagram story.

33. Dressing your car up with reindeer antlers and a nose. Wait, never mind. We love a good bit of Christmas cheer. Carry on.

34. Returning that deodorant stick we talked about earlier. Being a bum is not the vibe.

35. Forcing your kids to get a picture with Santa when they're scared. This is a terrible lesson in bodily autonomy.

36. Going to a vintage toy store, showing them photos of every single toy you used to have and insisting that you’d be a millionaire today if your mom had kept them. Look, if we'd invested in bitcoin we'd be millionaires too. What are you saying?

37. Dropping off notes at customer service for the retail worker who was only friendly because that's part of  the job. "Your beautiful, call me" is even less of a compliment when you misspell "you're."

38. Wearing too much perfume or cologne, with no regard for the asthmatics of this world. If you're gonna kill us with your fragrance, at least make it Armani Code.

39. Bragging about the paradise you'll be visiting over Christmas break to your salesperson, who is probably going to be working Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Your affluenza stinks more than your cologne.

40. Buying Christmas gifts for people you damn well know will be returning them on your salesperson. And keeping the free gift with purchase!

41. Taking pictures of yourself while trying on clothes and posting them to your stories, then waiting until your followers have responded to each poll asking whether you should buy the items before you get out of there. There are limited changing rooms. Nordstrom Rack is not the film setting to your rom-com makeover montage scene.

42. Presenting the gift-wrapping stand with unwrappable gifts. Don't make them call an engineer to figure out how to wrap up that pokey, shape-shifting, 16-sided object with varying lengths. Get a box, bro.

43. Bringing small, destructive and moody children to stores — especially after they've just been forced to sit on the lap of a strange man dressed in red and giving a really sus vibe.

44. Bringing kids in the store with giant, dripping ice cream cones or any kind of food. You explain to Mrs. Highland Park why there's cheese puff mush matted into the mink coat she just unwrapped.

45. Raising your voice at anybody preparing, handling or delivering your food. If you want to eat saliva without paying for it, Chipotle is not it.

46. Touching the ornaments on stores' Christmas trees. These are mere displays, and they're hanging by a thread – like the workers' sanity.

47. Giving a fanatical speech when someone says "Happy Holidays." This is not just a perfectly apt, blanket "happy whatever you celebrate personally" statement, which is LOVELY — it's also a shortcut that embraces Thanksgiving and New Year's. Not only do Walmart workers not know what you celebrate, but they don't know when they'll see you again, Carl.

48. (This is worth two slots on the list.) Being constantly hypervigilant about the "War on Christmas." If there's a war on Christmas, Christmas is winning. Look at the money spent on all this crap.

49. Buying things in chains that you know can be found at local stores. Support small businesses before we become entirely dependent on Amazon. They never deliver when they say they will!

50. Forgetting the fact that you get to buy presents, have food and enjoy your family at Christmas. Not all are so lucky. Happy Holidays. 
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio

Latest Stories