Some of you might not know this but I worked in retail for 12 years. Over the course of my time working I also worked every holiday season. Now that I am not working in retail anymore I have been reminded of the best times to go into stores as I am out and about shopping. I figured I would share some of my knowledge about this so hopefully your shopping experience this holiday season can be as stress free as possible.
An hour or so after the store is open
When planning on what time to go into a store most people think the earlier the better. Get there when the store opens. I will tell you that if you need any assistance this is not the time to go. A lot of times corporate offices have a list of things that employees need to get done and have emailed back to them within the first little bit of the store opening. Some stores start off with only a few people right at opening and bring in some more people an hour in for a chance to overlap scheduling during really busy times as well. That means if an employee oversleeps, etc they are running the store with only about two people.
If you go in about an hour after a store opens, most of the time everyone is free and they have not started working on any projects or stocking shelves yet. You will have a pleasant person to talk with and help you out. I know that for a lot of people this is not the ideal time but it really is the best time to go.
Around 1:30 pm
Most people tend to rush into stores on their lunch hour and are always in a rush to get in and out. This makes it difficult for employees of the store to keep up with what everyone wants and needs. It is also around the time that everyone is hungry and emotional because of that.
If you are able to push your lunch break back a bit and then run out to do your errands you will have less people and a shorter wait time. Everyone around you will have most likely eaten and are not cranky and hungry either.
Beat the after work, after school rush.
If you are able to get into a store around 3:30pm this is another ideal time to shop. Usually a new crew is coming in to replace the morning crew. They are fresh and not wore out from helping people. You will also be beating the after work rush or people that are just trying to get something before going home. Most of the time stores are a little slower and have more people on staff that are able to help you.
Times to avoid shopping altogether
- Right when the store opens
- Lunch time
- Right after work
- An hour or so before closing
An important thing to remember is that there are going to be other people in the stores around this time of year. Some people are going to be less than pleasant and some employees are going to look and act like they do not want to be there. However, for everyones sake the best thing to do is remember that everyone around you is a person as well and may be going through something you know nothing about.
I hope this helps a little bit when you are planning your shopping. Sometimes it is best to pick a better time to go if you need a lot of assistance. In my experience a lot of stores seem to be cutting hours and still trying to run the same volume of products through them each year. When a store is only able to work a few people at any given time it is difficult for the employees to help everyone as they should be helped.
Please remember, tis the season to be merry and bright. Even if your shopping experience is less than ideal keep the spirit of Christmas in your hearts.