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Temporary holiday-season retail jobs are the Eighth Circle (second only to food service) in the Nine Circles of Employment Hell. Read on to discover how you can survive working a temporary retail position during this holiday season.

1. Prepare for the worst

From parents who stink up the store by not changing their kid’s dirty diaper to people who actually argue with you about the fifty cents your business charges to have a present gift-wrapped, you will have all kinds of assholes. Accept it. It helps to have co-workers who give as few shits as you do – then you can spend your (minimal) downtime complaining not-so-quietly about the absolute cunt that just brought twenty-five items to the desk, purchased one, and asked if you could put the rest back for her while the store was so slammed people can barely walk down the aisles. Bonus points if one of your coworkers states that all he or she really wants now is to crack open a beer and light up a cigarette while ringing people up at the register.

2. Coworkers are your friends – except when they aren’t

Lots of coworkers in retail bond during the holiday season. It’s similar to wartime relationships – you’ve been through a certain type of employment hell together, you’ll be closer by the end of it. Except the one asshole employee who cannot do their job. Usually, it’s one of the other seasonal workers. This is the person always asking to leave early, having “lunch dates” on days when the boss isn’t present, and mysteriously showing up late for every. fucking. shift. Reserve all your hatred of every customer for this person –  at least you take your temp job seriously.

3. Remember not to take advantage of that employee discount

Yes, you get 30% off of everything. Buying a few things using the discount? Go ahead, but really, do not abuse this power. Seriously, you’re working for about a month and a half. Taking advantage of a store that allows you to purchase some things on the cheap is a seriously dick move if you’re a temp. I don’t even have anything funny to say about this, just do not. I can’t have with people who pull this shit.

4. Don’t take your temp job too seriously

Remember the advice on taking your temp job seriously in point two? Proceed with caution. Honestly, it’s a fucking temporary retail position. You’re another warm body – that’s the sole reason you’re being paid. People who work in retail long term have real (and hard) work to do (stocking, dealing with customers) but you? Show up on time, be friendly, direct people to various parts of the store, ring things up on the register, and, if bad shit goes down, gracefully bow out with a mention that you’ve only been working there for two weeks. Now’s not the time to go all over-achiever. That just winds up getting in the way of the pros who do this forty-plus hours a week, and makes you look like an idiot.

Good luck and godspeed, brave temporary retail employees. May you make it through this next week without seeing a decrepit grandfather mace an enraged housewife to get the final Santa’s-workshop-themed Playmobile set.

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