Be nice. It costs nothing and it feels better than being a scrooge.

I feel like I say this every year at this time. And until I can go to a store without seeing somebody throw a retail tantrum, I'm gonna keep saying it.

Before you chew out an employee at a store because of a misunderstanding or something being out of stock, TAKE A DEEP BREATH and ask yourself, "Is this worth making a scene?"

Let's be honest - it probably isn't.

I went shopping at two different stores for Christmas presents this weekend. Yes, I wait til the last minute. I know that. And that's why I have extra patience with store employees - my last-minute emergency is not their problem.

I stood at the counter next to two people who were LOSING THEIR MINDS over one-hour photos and coupons not being applied. Legit concerns? Absolutely. But there's a way to handle it...and a way NOT to handle it. They were on the latter end.

It's not the employees' faults that they're understaffed and being pulled in a million different directions this holiday season. Name ONE TIME that you've complained up the chain at YOUR job about not having enough staff...and they actually give you MORE people to work. I can't. At ANY of my past jobs.

Of course, there's always the chance that a store employee has gone ballistic on YOU, first. Obviously, that's not okay, either.

It doesn't matter what you think of their job - retail is tough work, and it's mostly because of the customers. You'll catch more bees with honey - I had a cashier give me an extra 15% off yesterday because I was being "patient." Didn't expect that, but I'll take it.

Breathe, everybody. Christmas is almost here.