Customer service should be expected, good, or great customer service should be rewarded.
This time if year is a little hard on everyone.  Shopping for the Holidays is always stressful.  Traffic, no parking, cold weather, long lines, the list goes on and on.  Then,  after all that you go through just to get to the store, the item you wanted to spend too much on for someone you don't even like that much isn't even there!  It's enough to drive a person insane.    Certainly at that point you are more than justified when you lash out at the girl behind the sales counter.  Right?

I say no.  In all the craziness of the shopping I think we tend to forget that the people who are working in retail and customer service are just that, people.  Try to remember you may be the fourth person to sneer or complain or get angry with them this morning, and its only 9:30 am.  Try to remember, they just work there and usually have no control over what has made you angry.  And try to remember that while they are there at that store maybe 60 hours a week, they also need to do all their holiday shopping as well.

I know your thinking, "Hey that's what they get paid for.  And in this economy they should be happy to even have a job. "  And you would be half right.  I'm sure they do know they are lucky, and they are happy that this job will help them buy their 3 kids a couple of Christmas presents this year.  But having to deal with your anger , is not what they get paid for.  They get paid to try to help you find what you need,  answer your questions, and try to keep people moving through the store.

My point is, once in a while put yourself in someone else's shoes.  Try to imagine having to work twice as fast for twice as long everyday and still getting attitude from people you don't even know.  Often when your the first person people see, or "on the front lines" in the retail world, your the one who has to take the most abuse for things that you were never in control of.  I think you can imagine what that would be like.

Are there people who are clerks, or sale persons, or cashiers who are just plain rude or sour?  Yes.  I either just get as happy and sweet with them as I can , or I seek out the Manager, who is actually prepared to hear my complaints and can actually do something to help the situation. Getting into a confrontation or exchanging bitter attitudes with the cashier isn't going to help anything, and really only effect the next 50 people who go through that line.  And I know I'll be one of those 50.

So as we get through the last few days of the stress of holiday shopping.  Try to keep in mind that EVERYONE is under stress, and we are all trying to get the impossible accomplished in just a couple of days.  If you find yourself in a situation where someone worked extra hard to make you feel helped.  If they made you feel like your business was important to them.  If they smiled and made just that one moment of your long day a little easier. Let them know!  Or better yet take a moment to ask for the Manager and tell him how impressed you were with the service you received.  It may even have a positive effect on the next 50 people going through that line!  (Of which, I know I will NOT be one.  I'll be in the other line 4 people behind the guy who just made the cashier cry and want to quit.)  DAMN YOU EXPRESS LINE!

So in closing, if you get great service, don't be afraid to tell a person they were appreciated.  Thank them for going above and beyond, or even doing what you expected but in a warm and friendly way.  Knowing that "Joe Bad Attitude" costumer is probably five minutes  behind you, maybe you can make the difference in their day, that they just made in yours.

Merry Christmas friends.