The holiday shopping season has breezed right by me so far. I haven’t bought one single Christmas present yet. It’s starting to stress me out a bit. I don’t know where the first 14 days of December have gone. But I need to get on it this week and get my shiz together. And that’s the thing that causes people stress this time of year—running out of time, and wanting to get the absolute perfect gift for everyone on their list that they lose their damn minds at Christmas shopping time. And do you know who takes the heat for it? The cashiers and staff in the stores.

People, your stress over the holidays is no reason to be nasty to people who are just trying to do their jobs. It’s not the cashier’s fault if a store policy doesn’t go your way. Here’s an example. Yesterday I was in a store in Pompano Beach, FL. I was standing in line so I could return a pair of shorts that I had bought for Todd. There was a lady at the register in front of me also returning something.

Cashier: You don’t have a receipt. I will have to give you store credit.

Lady: But I want cash, I don’t want credit.

Cashier: The policy is that I have to give you credit if you do not have a receipt.

Lady: You are giving me a hard time because I am Jamaican.

At this point my ears perked up. I looked behind me and the line was starting to get long. Just about everyone behind me groaned when they heard the Jamaican bit.

Cashier: Are you kidding me? I am Jamaican too. Being Jamaican has nothing to do with this. It’s the store policy and I can’t control that.

Lady: *mumbles and fusses for a bit and relents*

I have to hand it to the cashier. She put the Jamaican lady in her place with a smile. The Jamaican Lady left with her credit, despite the conspiracy against her, and I stepped up to the counter.

Me: I am Polish. I need to return this. But I do have the receipt. Are we cool?

At this point the cashier busted up laughing. She thanked me for making her laugh and for making her day. We both acknowledged that the Jamaican Lady was being ridiculous. She gave me my money back, and then I moved to leave. The lady behind me stepped up to the counter and said the most amazing thing I heard all day.

“I’m American. I’d like to buy this stuff, OK?”

The cashier then doubled over with laughter. Slapping her palm on the counter as she howled with laughter. Everyone in the line behind us joined in, as well as the other cashiers.

This holiday season a smile goes a long way. Manners are a must. But to make a retail employee double over in laughter is a win for everyone.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.