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Surviving the Holidays: Creative Tips For the Service Industry.

November 17th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

It may be just over a month away, but if you work in the service industry, Christmas is here, and Thanksgiving is just a little stop along the way. Perhaps you’re a server, or you work in retail… or both. You have been on your feet for hours, and they are killing you. You do your best to smile when two independent people interrupt your conversation with a customer you are currently helping–to help them–each… You think to yourself, “Something funny is happening… All of the adults in the world have suddenly turned into little children… Weird!” It will appear as though many folks have lost their minds… or their manners… or both. The snooty get snootier, the greedy get greedier, and the needy… needier. And then you think, “Hey! This is exactly the opposite of how it’s SUPPOSED to be. Even weirder.”

I was never really a Dead-head, but the phrase, “Nothing to do but smile, smile, smile,” couldn’t ring truer than at this time. CreativeBeasts Rule no. 1) Kill ’em with kindness. It’s what the Whos of Whoville did to the Grinch. It’s what Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius did to the Abominable Snowman. And yes; ’tis true, these are merely cartoons, but the lessons, here, people, are priceless and timeless! And if all else fails, just start singing Fah Who For-aze to the offender. I promise you, he or she will simply stare at you blankly… and powerless, not knowing what to do (at least until it snaps to, and calls your manager to the scene, but at that point you just pretend like nothing happened. “I started singing? Ma’am, perhaps you’re just tired from all the shopping. Would you like to sit down? I’ll get you a glass of water.”). See, that’s the thing about “Fah Who For-aze…” nobody knows what it means. Powerful stuff!

Rule no. 2) When smiling becomes difficult, imagine that the guy who just insulted you is Burgermeister Meisterberger, and you are Kris Kringle.

Burgermeister Meisterburger

Burgermeister Meisterburger


Kris Kringle

You won’t believe how your heart will fill with laughter. You will, in fact, laugh out loud as though being insulted is the funniest thing in the entire world! And as Kris Kringle, you gotta fight the power. Fight the powers that be.

Rule no. 3) Empathize with your needy, ornery, spoiled customer (because hey–we’ve all been there at some point in our lives–like about thirty or so years ago). When they ask you to throw away their garbage for them, smile sweetly, and say “Certainly!” And then become Olivia Newton John from Xanadu. Straight guys, you too.

Rule no. 4) Gently try to remind the customer of the holiday spirit. You could say something like, “We’re simply having a wonderful Christmas time.”

Last but not least, Rule no. 5) Don’t Stop Believing. Dreams do come true, and if you had a rough day–or week–this, too, shall pass. Dare to dream… even if it’s just to soak your feet in baking soda at the end of the day!

Go ahead. Sing it at the top of your lungs. Play a little air guitar, even. Enjoy. And from all of us here at CreativeBeasts.com, Happy Holidays!

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  1. Ben Collins
    November 17th, 2009 at 19:04 | #1

    Ah Ha! The Burgermeister technique is very good advice. I think that animated Chris Kringle looks like a clean shaven Brett Farve in a Redskins uniform.

    Ah yes, the holidays. Good will toward men indeed. It seems only if that man is behind you in line. If they are leaving their parking spot just as you arrive. If they get the second to last of whatever it is your shopping for. If they get up from the bar just as your arriving. If they give you a local disount without asking. If they recognize you from somewhere and treat you unusually nice. And maybe give you their front row concert seat stubs. Otherwise, it seems like all bets are off.

    Christmas is not a big deal in Hawaii. None of the Maui municipalities put up any decorations. No Corona commercial lit up palm trees. Kaanapalli resort puts up a Santa being pulled by eight + 1 tiny dolphins; but that’s pretty much it. Halloween is the biggest holiday on the island.

    Happy Christmas! Merry New year!

  2. thaus
    November 17th, 2009 at 21:18 | #2

    Brett Favre… I didn’t think of that. You’re right; he does look a little like him. Funny! …I still love those old stop-animation Christmas films, cheesy and dated as they are. I think Heat Miser is my favorite character (from Year Without a Santa Claus).

    …Yeah, the whole “Good Will Toward Men”-thing… That’s my biggest bone to pick this time of year, and you just get a very good picture of it (though not necessarily a pretty one) working in the service industry. If people would just try to remember a little bit about why they’re out shopping in the first place, some of them might be a little kinder and gentler. It all gets muddied by notions of greed and competition, among other things. Some people might not enjoy getting gifts for others at all–they only do it out of feelings of obligation… On a separate note, where I work, we ask customers if they would like to give a contribution to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, which is famous for its oncology research. You know… to help fight childhood cancer. Customers can round up their purchase to the nearest dollar. Frankly, I find it almost astonishing just how many people don’t rise to the occasion. Add a dollar to your purchase. Fifty cents, even. And while many people do give–and that’s wonderful, there are so many who don’t for whatever reason. Often, people will give a reason as to why they won’t contribute, oddly. It’s not as though we ask for an explanation. But I can’t help thinking sometimes, “Gee. Maybe you could skip your second trip to Starbucks today, and give a little something instead.” But I guess that’s being unfair and judgmental and lacking in holiday spirit, right?

    Regarding HI: I think I would miss seeing decorations; especially the lights at X-mas… 🙁 I bet fir trees cost a fortune there, too. *sigh* Do you put up lights? …I think I would.

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