14 In Life

What Working the Christmas Market Taught Me

Hi everyone! Welcome to another week on the blog!

Today marks one week since I stopped working at the Christmas Market, here in Edinburgh, and I think that it is the perfect time to share some thoughts on the experience.

As you may have read here and there, I did not enjoy the experience so much. I like the idea of the market and I think the team who puts it on is great! But still, I found it a very hard experience (for multiple reasons, which I will not discuss here today).

I’m obviously not here to trash anything – but working for 3 weeks in a customer focused position taught me great lessons about life, about being a more decent human being really, and I thought that I would share them with you today!

christmas market

Here are the 5 lessons working at the Christmas Market taught me:

1. People need to be more patient.

This is perhaps the biggest thing of all – because I believe I have myself been very guilty of this on multiple occasions. I understand that when you go somewhere and expect a service it is very frustrating when it’s slow, or very busy, or even just dissatisfying. However, I think most of that could be solve by having a little more patience. Especially when it’s a busy time of the year and many people are out and about trying to do and enjoy the same things as us.

2. People need to be more open/accepting.

I know that sometimes we have to wait, and we get annoyed, etc. etc. We have all had those moments, but it’s no reason to be mean. I was shocked to have been faced with so much negativity about being a foreigner working in Edinburgh. I indeed have had problems understanding some of the broader Scottish accents and I was then faced with some seriously terrible attitude. Also about my own accent and the way I pronounced some words. Yes, it makes life harder sometimes, especially for communications, but I think we could all learn to be more accepting in that regard.

3. Complaining is okay – but don’t be rude/mean.

Oh I dreaded the moments when people came back to complain or ask to be refunded, etc. I mean I think it’s okay to ask – why not ask if you can get a refund – they do say you never get anything in life if you don’t ask, right? Well if you get told no, it should still be okay – you tried! I mean I have done my fair share of complaining in life, I’m okay with it! But what got to me is people who got told no, then got personal about it.  While it’s okay to complain – you should definitely always be respectful of the minimum wage employee in front of you. The prices, the rules, etc. probably none of it is their fault! It’s worth always remembering that when we are on the other side of this!

4. Enjoy the experience.

Things are expensive. In life, in the UK, at the market. Everywhere really. I understand that it sucks to have to pay so much money to go skating or to bring you children see Santa. I get it and I agree. But I think that in certain situations, people forget why they are truly there. I was a bit shocked to see how un-festive the market was when it opened. I think perhaps people didn’t think of it as a festive experience, or as a fun thing to do with the family, but got dragged by everything else I have mentioned in the list : it’s so busy, they perhaps lacked patience, it costs lots of money, etc. Even I forgot – I started hating on Christmas. So I think it really taught me to open my eyes and to appreciate the things and experiences I got out of my way to enjoy.

5. That people are and can be amazing.

Despite not having the time of my life at this job, I was sad to leave, because after 3 weeks I started to feel this sense of community with the team. I mean truly the team behind this {chaotic-looking} event is amazing. I loved working with these people. Everyone helped, everyone was nice and friendly and doing their best. It was like a little family of sleep deprived elves.

AND – not just that, but the customers also surprised me. As much as I was faced with rude or stressed out people, I was also faced with lovely people who chatted along, who loved to hear about me being Canadian, congratulated me on speaking so well in English, who appreciated that I spoke some French or some Spanish. Some people who complimented my grandmother’s ring or my scarf. Who told me that despite being perhaps frustrated by how many people there were at the market on Saturday afternoon, that they appreciated that I took the time to help and that they were looking forward to this festive celebration.

‘Yay’ for the fact that, despite the bad in people, the good really triumphs!
And ‘yay’ for people who stay festive and friendly no matter what!

Ever worked in a customer service position? What did you take away from it?xx

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