Summer holidays are here: the end of year present rush

The last few days at work has all been about the end of the school year. Parents have been busy buying gifts for teachers, teaching assistants, nursery staff and even the Head.  £££££’s have been spent on this which I have found rather jaw dropping.

We definitely didn’t do this when I was at school. I’m not even sure it was a big thing when my daughter attended infants, although I do recall buying one particular teacher a little symbolic gift at the end of her time in infants, because she had been extra kind and helpful to my daughter throughout the year.

This has raised a question for me which may or may not be controversial depending upon your viewpoint. When did it become the norm to buy gifts or give tips to people who are paid to do a job/provide a service?

I work in retail, where I am extremely polite, helpful and smiley to everyone, every day, whether they deserve it or not. The circumstances of our little shop is such that all of us are doing the work of 2 to 3 people on any given day; it is physically demanding and most days I am exhausted, as are all the staff.

The vast majority of customers are lovely, polite and grateful but as with any retail situation, there are a handful who are rude, demanding, disdainful, and often lacking any semblance of manners (along with hygiene!) Does anyone buy any of us a gift for being great at our jobs and going out of our way to help? No of course not, nor would I expect them to. I am doing what I am employed and paid to do. The demonstration that we are appreciated is that people come from further away towns with their own branch of our company because they like the atmosphere and the team in ours.

Surely, my repeat custom to a hair dresser, restaurant, shop etc is an indication that I am really pleased with the service and goods you provide me. To further validate that, not only am I friendly in my interactions with staff, I recommend the goods and services to others. Isn’t that enough?

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