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Working retail and surviving the holiday season


By Michael Julien – Multimedia Editor

During the holiday season many retail workers end up dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly on some of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Photo Courtesy MCT Campus
Photo Courtesy MCT Campus

Some customers can be nice and happy and others can be flat out rude.

Many Grand Rapids Community College students work retail jobs to pay for school.

“People get very angry,” said Lymariz Martinez, 18, reflecting on Black Friday horror stories. “It was very scary”.

Martinez has worked in retail for six months.

Jacob Humble, 19, has worked for Chow Hound for a year and a half.

“A ton of customers want to speak to a manager and they work their way up to the owners,” Humble said.

Bryan Anderson Robinson, 17, worked at Woodland Mall for nine months. Anderson Robinson said many disputes happen at clearance racks especially over discontinued items.

“On the clearance rack was a polo that wasn’t coming back because it was a vintage fit and design and the women were arguing about the polo,” Robinson said.

Last year shoppers spent close to $620 million during the holiday season making it hectic for last minute shoppers.

One piece of advice Humble would give to the customers who shop on black Friday is “come early, don’t be a terrible person, and if you don’t get something, don’t throw a fit.” Humble said.

Martinez suggests that shoppers “know what you want before you go, it will be faster”.

With two years of retail experience, Katherine Lewak, 18, encourages shoppers to be nice.

“Respect the workers because they are people too,” said Lewak.