‘There is a person behind the screen’: an etiquette guide for holiday shopping

Understanding service workers’ current challenges, and adjusting your expectations accordingly, can ease shopping frustrations

As we approach our second Christmas at the mercy of a virus that just won’t quit, one would think people would have accepted that supply chain issues and other Covid-related problems might mean low stock and delayed deliveries, as has been the case for going on two years. But after speaking to business owners and frontline retail staff, it seems this is far from true.

Most said customers were perfectly gracious and well-behaved, but all reported a small group that continued to be hostile – even aggressive – in-store, online and on the phone over matters that were quite clearly out of the service worker’s control. The word traumatised came up more than once.

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