A friendly reminder to shoppers in Iowa this holiday season

I truly believe that everyone should work in retail or hospitality at some point in their life. I think it gives you a greater appreciation for the people who do these jobs, which in turn makes you a little kinder.

I spent my first year as a crew member at Cold Stone Dairy when i was 16 i ended up working for a big grocery chain (Kroger). It was there that I spent my first year working as a digger and cart pusher before being transferred to a department and that’s where I spent the next 3 years. While there I got a second job in retail forever 21. I continued to work there for about four years until I moved to Iowa in 2014.

I’ve spent almost every Thanksgiving at the grocery store and every Black Friday and day after Christmas at Forever 21, and I can tell you that the holiday season is a tough time to work in customer service. People seem a little more stressed and a lot less patient. I understand it’s easy to get frustrated when it’s very busy, but please remember: most of the time the staff do their best. they are human Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes things don’t go as planned or don’t move as fast as they would like. But do you know what doesn’t help? Shout out in front of everyone. Embarrassing them in front of their peers and other buyers. Especially if it’s something out of their control. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been scolded by people trying to return unwanted Christmas gifts because of our store’s return policy. In my head I always thought “Sir/ma’am, I earn minimum wage. You’re yelling at the wrong person.”

Basically I just want to send a little love to all the retail workers and hospitality workers who are heading into another crazy busy holiday season. Please note that many of us have done what you are doing and understand what you are going through. I hope people are kind and respectful and that you get through the season as stress free as possible! We appreciate you!

25 local small businesses to shop this holiday season

If you would like to support some small businesses here in the Cedar Rapids area this holiday season, you have a LOT of options! This week we asked Iowans on Facebook which local stores are their favorite for choosing Christmas gifts. Here are 25 of the answers:

The ABC of Iowa

I know Iowa may not be the most popular state, but we still have a lot to offer! Using countless articles, websites, lists, and maps, we’ve compiled a list of some of Iowa’s best and biggest events, venues, and attractions, using every letter of the alphabet (which wasn’t easy)! Unfortunately, we couldn’t include EVERY great place in the state (there aren’t enough letters!), but here are our Iowa ABCs: