What *Not* to Get a Retail Worker This Holiday Season

by Katie Sawyer, 3 minutes read
HOME blog what not to get a retail worker this holiday season

Retail employees are often the ones who often put it extra hours during the holiday season. And even if this year that shopping experience looks different, for retailers, it's just as stressful.

During this holiday season, be nice to all the retailers in your life. One easy way? Don’t fall for these cliche gifts.

Read on for a few ideas to make a better gift choice for retails. Here’s what not to get a retail worker this holiday season.

A gift card to their own store

When someone works in retail, their store might be where they spend all of their time. They adjust displays, ring up merchandise, and patiently recommend products to picky grandmothers. It’s work.

And even if they love their job — and their store — they need a break. Plus, they already have a discount, so even if there’s anything left that they could possibly want, they grabbed it on sale already.

Anything company-branded

Even if you’re a novice manager, you must know the most important rule of giving a gift to your staff: it’s about them, not you (or the company).

Don’t be offended that your team doesn’t want to look at the company logo for one second outside of their clocked-in time. No thanks to the coffee mug, the umbrella, and the facemask branded with your company’s logo. And, to be totally honest, it’s pretty unfair to expect them to flash your logo around for free advertising when they're off the clock.

Leftover holiday merchandise that didn't sell

Another way to send your employees the message that they’re undervalued and underappreciated is to give them a gift with no real thought or value.

While they found joy in helping others select holiday gifts, you can bet that they’re sick of your inventory. As much as they like their job, now might not be the time to gift them with an item that they literally know everything about...item number, available colors, number you sold last week….

An alarm clock

They’ve got one, thanks. Even for the employee that is habitually late, the alarm clock might send the message that after all their hard work, it still wasn’t good enough. Not the way to boost their morale during an already hard season. Unless you’d be willing to let them bring it to work to play over the loudspeaker for those still-browsing-five-minutes-until-the-store-closes customers...


Should you really be giving anyone fruitcake for a gift? It’s controversial for sure — you either love it or hate it. But leave the fruitcake giving to their grandparent or neighbor down the street. A nostalgic gift such as this is much better accepted from the love of a home kitchen, not the grocery store bakery.

Anything 2020

It’s certainly healthy to look back and count our blessings rather than our difficulties. But, 2020 is going down in the books as the year it all went wrong. Even with finding the rainbows after the rain, 2020 will for the rest of our lifetimes be a year that is associated with lots of ups and downs. Don’t send a subliminal message with a 2020 commemorative gift. If they want something special to remember this year by, let them get it themselves.

Give the right gift this season

The holiday season turns retail workers into heroes. These staff members have the knowledge and expertise to help customers find just what they didn’t know they were looking for, make them feel special by giving them a heads up on next week’s sale, and apply that store coupon to their purchase when they left it at home.

Use this season to give a gift that sends the right message: you value and appreciate them. Give your retail workers a free trial of Deputy to help them manage workflow.

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