How was your Thanksgiving? I know, who cares? The stores are open. The deals are hot. You have to get to the back of the store on the other side of the mall in the next ten minutes to get your hands on that thing that is so discounted that you might as well grab more than you need. I get it, I’ve been there – well actually I’ve been on the other side.

For nearly a decade, I worked in retail and was responsible for making sure shoppers had the experience of a lifetime and got all of the things they wanted. Just kidding. I was responsible for “upselling” customers and making sure that damn near everyone bought an extended warranty and the cables with the gold tip so that our margin would be high and our profits even higher.

As someone who worked on “Black Friday,” I have a few tips and suggestions for shoppers:

TIP: Don’t freak out if you aren’t one of the lucky shoppers that got a $1 dish towel. It really isn’t that good of a deal.

SUGGESTION: Treat workers with respect and patience. Most of them are trying to treat you the same while barely making enough to raise a family.

TIP: Take a friend and have them get in line while you grab the few things you want. Trust me it’s a time saver.

SUGGESTION: Treat workers with respect and patience. Many workers get less than 10 minutes to eat cold pizza for lunch and going to the restroom is highly frowned upon.

TIP: Don’t push. Don’t shove. People have died – not to give you the right to shop, but simply because some people value “deals” over human life. So just wait four seconds for the door to open.

SUGGESTION: Treat workers with respect and patience. Some workers may be sick and unable to take time off, either because they are threatened with discipline for missing “Black Friday” or because they don’t have paid sick leave and can’t afford to miss work.

TIP: It’s good to be thankful that you have the money and time to shop for gifts for your loved ones. I find that people feel better about their experience when they focus on this fact than the people that go home pissed that someone else grabbed the last Red Rider BB Gun/Cabbage Patch Doll/Tickle Me Elmo/(Insert this year’s “hot toy”).

SUGGESTION: Treat workers with respect and patience. Even if you are shopping at a store that was closed yesterday, many workers still missed the holiday because they were locked in the store overnight preparing to the make the day profitable for shareholders an enjoyable experience for shoppers.

TIP: Don’t let salespeople convince you to buy things that you don’t need. You don’t need the most expensive cables. You don’t need an extended warranty in most cases. No, joining the “super duper saving savers” program at a store you hardly visit isn’t a good idea that will lead to future savings.

SUGGESTION: Treat workers with respect and patience. Don’t blame them because the sales are confusing or the store doesn’t have enough of that thing that you could live without until you saw it in the circular in the paper yesterday.

I hope that these tips are useful and that you take these suggestions to heart. Now, what are you waiting for? Those $3 teapots aren’t going to buy themselves.

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