Nine things never to say to a sales assistant during Christmas. Ever.

Similar to those in the hospitality industry, shop assistants bear the brunt of the absolute worst parts of humanity come December.

The festive season brings out a weird ‘tick’ in people where courteous shopper folk turn into inpatient, demanding harbingers of misery, determined to make the lives of shop assistants joyless, confronting and sad.

Instead the brave souls at the front line of this pagan holiday – more commonly known as ‘Christmas,’ harbour a complex relationship with the celebration for many years to come, long after their forgotten log-in pins and faded customer service’ smiles.

For many the mere riff of a Michael Buble Christmas song, or over-crowded, wreath-ridden shopping mall can bring the onset of faint PTSD, in which The Walking Dead-esque scenes of shoppers barge into stores demanding discounts and gift wrapping.

In honour of the battlers in customer service that help your irrational, stress-ridden selves over the Christmas holiday, this is a simple PSA – these are the things you don’t say to shop assistants from now to the end of December… lest they crack, and attack you with a scanner.

You have been warned…

1. “Wow, it’s very busy in the store today.”


Yes, the period in which everyone is out and buying presents for their loved ones is surprisingly busy. Thank you for alerting me to what I can evidently see.

2. “I’m in a hurry, could you make it quick?”


The short answer is “No”. The long answer is “Do you see that line of people that are also wishing to get served asap, do you see me moving at the speed of light trying to keep up with the very long line of people who have all decided to come in store at the same time? The answer is still no.”

3. “Can you bring one in from another store?”


Do not expect to have this question answered in earnest or sincerity past Decemeber 20th. You don’t deserve it.

LISTEN:Small Talk For People Who Hate Small Talk At Christmas. Post continues after audio.

4. “Can you hold this for me until Boxing Day?”


The same goes for any mention of Boxing Day, which is cruel because if there’s anything more soul draining then starting a shift with five customers making a b-line towards you the moment you enter a store, is the expected carnage that is Boxing Day.


5. “Are you sure you’re out of stock?” or “Can you check that again?”


Hot retail tip – perhaps consider ringing up before hand, and checking the availability of said product, before driving to the other store / trekking to another suburb / moving your family inter-state / whatever sob story you’ve decided to tell the store clerk to make them feel bad for something that they have absolutely no power on.

6. Responding with “this is why brick and mortar stores are going under” when you don’t get what they want.


Number one, that’s rude, number two, that’s really rude. As a human with personal autonomy to buy on whichever platform they so to choose, please feel free to leave right now and go home. In fact, just leave this store. Just leave.

7. “Can I get a discount on this?” or “If you can’t find a price for this can I get it for free?”


*insert the fakest of laughs as my eyes literally roll to the back of my head.*

This is the seventh time I’ve heard this line in an hour and my resolve is getting weak.

8. “Can I please come in, I’ll be quick,” they say running in-store five minutes before close.


Please don’t go into a store unless you already know exactly what you want. And if you’re shopping at a place with trolleys, and run into the store, say said excuse, and head to grab a trolley you will be glared at. Just think of the poor shop person dying to go home and drown their tears with Aldi wine.

9. “Do you gift wrap?”


Is there a sign that says we gift wrap? Do you see people currently in the process of gift wrapping? Are there any clues that would lead you to think that this store offers gift wrap?

Then chances are we don’t do gift wrap.

This is only succeeded by a shop assistant wrapping something out of goodwill / straight-up coercion to only be told that it’s not good enough. To which they have the complete right to throw it back in your face because you are an awful person and deserve to be publicly maimed.

Now if all of this festive talk has you reliving horrifying retail experiences past, why don’t you share your story below? This is a safe space.

LISTEN: Listen to Holly Mia and Jessie discuss helpful things to do for people in hospital, how to avoid awkward Christmas conversations and the death of glitter on the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud.