We all love Christmas, but you should always spare a thought for those behind the till this year.

It’s bad enough working retail at the best of times, but every little nuisance or annoyance that comes with the job are are only made worse with the arrival of December.

What is supposed to be a holiday of joy and friendship turns into one of rage and psychotic thoughts; all just because you’re trying to do your job.

With this in mind, this article is for everyone on the other side of the counter this Holiday season. Please do your best not to do or say any of the following things.

It’s worth noting that it’s probably never a right time of year to do anything in this list, but we don’t want to ask too much of customers. Just do the right thing this Christmas.


Not scanning through. I suppose that’s free?

A classic; so well-known you think people would know better by now. You’d be wrong.

There’s always one. Maybe they think they missed their calling as a comedian back in the day, or maybe they really really don’t want to spend that €7.52.

Regardless, the cashier will be thinking nothing but “are you as thick as two planks?”. People are aware of the fact that scanners will malfunction and barcodes will be wrong at times?

They’ve heard it enough already. If you say this under any circumstances, you deserve all the dirty, disapproving looks you get.

Are you sure you don’t have any of them in the back?

If there’s any possible chance that an item is in the back of the store, the employee will offer to check. Don’t ask.

After all, if they think there’s any conceivable chance that it could be there, it’s the perfect excuse to get away from the mania of the shop floor to the tranquil stock room.

Most of the time though, they do their job well and make sure it’s on the shelves. Customers tend to believe though that there’s some magic portal to a dimension of newly ordered products in the back of the shop.

Spoiler alert: there isn’t. Don’t ask and make us bluntly say no. It’ll only annoy everybody a lot more.

This card should be working, can I try it again?

This can be a bit embarrassing, especially around the busy Christmas period. No retail employee wants to shame you like this.

However, when the card is declined, it’s declined for a reason. You’ve ran out of money and no matter what you do, it’s not coming back.

That doesn’t stop some persistent, queue-holding pillocks though who will insist that a highly-advanced 21st century banking system has made a ‘mistake’.

If you ask to try again, you’ll probably be allowed but only to avoid getting in argument someone deluded as yourself. Just cut your losses and get out of the way.

It’s awfully bitter out there isn’t it?

This isn’t anywhere near the rudest or most egregious things on this list, but you have to put yourselves in the shoes of the employee.

They know it’s -2 degrees out. You know it is too. Everyone knows when it gets cold, especially when no one will shut up about it.

You have a conversation about this common Winter occurrence once or twice, you think nothing of it. You have it every 5 minutes with different customers, your brain turns to mush.

Your friendliness will be appreciated but don’t be surprised if the cashier sounds like a robot when replying “ah yeah it’s gotten very cold lately.” 

That dear? That’s a rip-off.

The person who you are making this complaint to has no control over setting prices whatsoever, and will not be able to change this.

They will not care in the slightest whether you buy the product or not (unless they’re on commission, in which case have some sympathy!). 

There are more than likely dozens of different stores stocking the same item which you are free to explore in search for a cheaper deal. The cashier will happily see you leave to do so.

Seriously though, if you complain about prices like this, you deserve to step on a piece of Lego. 

Were these not (insert cheaper price here) the other day?

A lot of the points from above also apply here. Prices change, get over yourself.

We live in a turbulent world on inflation and deflation, with Brexit and Trump threatening to blow up the planet etc.

Therefore, don’t be shocked or offended if something you bought a few weeks ago is all of a sudden a few euro dearer. That’s the way it is.

The person you shout at will neither be able or want to change this. If anything, shouting and causing a fuss will only tempt him or her to add a few cent on if they can.

Would ye not smile?

Retail is a miserable and often thankless role. Job satisfaction is rarely that high.

Despite this, workers will do their best to put on a smile and act friendly to make your experience all the more pleasurable. Fair play to them for it.

Occasionally though, the mask will come off and a frown might appear. If this happens, please don’t ask them to smile. 

Would you be happy slaving away behind a till talking to gobshites for hours on end complaining about a million different things? I didn’t think so.

Be friendly by all means, but don’t say this. It doesn’t help.

Do you have any plans over the Christmas?

It’s Christmas, they work in retail. Guess what their plans are?

Seriously though, can we get retail workers Stephen’s Day off or something this year? Are the sales really that important?

Long story short, please don’t remind a retail employee miserable in work about the impending miserable work ahead of them.

Are yous closing? I’ll only be a minute!

They don’t leave until you leave. 

You had all day to do your shopping, why wait till now?

Don’t be a p**ck. Get lost.