What It's REALLY Like To Work Retail At Christmas

Illustrated by Bella DiMarzio
If you think waiting in line for hours to purchase gifts is demoralising, take a second and think about what kind of day the person on the other side of the counter is having. While plenty of retail employees love the Christmas season for the heftier commissions it brings, there still can be some downsides in the form of rude customers, strict schedules, and a demanding workload.
We reached out to readers who have done it to hear their thoughts on the biggest negatives to working retail during what's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. We can say one thing: All of these individuals definitely earned an extra commission check from their experiences.
Click through to hear their horror stories. More importantly, smile at the next clerk you come across this month — chances are, they're also in the middle of dealing with this BS, too, and will appreciate a friendly face to offset the demanding, rude, or just downright absurd customers they have to deal with on the regular.

More from Work & Money


R29 Original Series

Watch Now
A look at the subcultures around the world that colour what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Explore the world's most vibrant cultural and culinary centres—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.