A myth: Consumers hate holiday shopping

Nov. 17, 2011 at 7:09 PM
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- It is a myth that U.S. consumers don't like shopping during the holiday season, a U.S. retail expert says.

However, Richard Feinberg of the Purdue University Retail Institute, said stress on employees this year could start at midnight the Friday after Thanksgiving when some stores will open their doors.

"Most retail sales associates I have met want to do a good job, but they often feel the strain of the holiday season," Feinberg said in a statement.

"The customer enjoys the hunt and loves coming home to tell the story of their catch. So, too, the vast majority of employees have more stories of happily served and friendly customers than the half of 1 percent who are grumpy and angry."

However, stress for employees is likely to increase this year as retailers keep stores open longer hours, and get more aggressive with promotions and sales. Retailers also have lowered inventories, which can mean more frustrated shoppers who can't find what they want, Feinberg said.

To help retail employees deal with holiday stress, Feinberg recommends they:

-- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

-- Do your own shopping done early.

-- Find a quiet place to relax during breaks, even if it's a couple of minutes. Take as many breaks as allowed.

-- Don't take it personally if a customer is difficult.

-- Offer a smile and a word or two to acknowledge a waiting customer if you're busy with another customer.

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