Last night my wife and I were out doing some shopping. We got a head start, but some last-minute decisions had us out in traffic looking for some last-minute ideas for loved ones, and friends. I have worked in retail before, so I know how people want what they want, and sometimes forget that these employees are already overworked, and stressed out. The last thing they need is people in their faces over things beyond their control.

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If you are going to the mall or any department store, here are some things to be aware of. First of all, keep in mind that traffic is going to be heavy regardless of the time of day that you go. On any given day Ryan Street, Prien Lake Road, and Nelson Road are some of the heaviest traveled roads during the holidays. You have to also understand that Nelson Road is adjacent to the casinos, so there is also that to be concerned with. Be cautious of other drivers. Everyone is trying to get to the sale, and searching for those last-minute gifts. Some of the stores will be heavily stocked, while others will have just enough. The roads are the busiest right now, and from small fender benders to unfortunate devasting accidents, we need to be careful now more than ever.

Holiday Shopping Season Begins
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When you are going to the stores, be considerate of other shoppers. There is absolutely no reason why we should be arguing, or fighting over a flat-screen television when there are others in the back waiting to be brought out. Also keep in mind that now more than ever, the employees are working long hours, and have to shorten their lunch breaks, or even time with families to work. Now we are in a computer age, and we all know that computers are far from flawed. Don't take out your frustrations of having to wait a little longer on the employee who has no control over a malfunctioning computer. Your coupon is outdated or the gift card has been all used up, this is not their fault. Ask to speak to a manager, but also keep it polite, and respectable when doing so.

Post-Holiday Shopping
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Everyones' anxiety is high, and sure, tempers are surely flaring during the holidays. But taking it out on others, when some of the initial problems began with you is not the right thing to do. Instead of getting frustrated because of the driver who cut you off, or the extended waiting period to check out. Take a minute to breathe, and think about why you are out there in the first place. In most cases, it's because you are looking to put a smile on someone's face for Christmas. That should be enough to put a smile on your face and help you realize the good in what you are doing. Be careful, safe, and most of all respectable to others as well as yourself this Christmas.

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