SCV retail employees express relief, gratitude after holiday shopping rush

Last-minute shoppers at the Valencia Town Center mall on Sunday afternoon. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Last-minute shoppers at the Valencia Town Center mall on Sunday afternoon. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

Cashiers, representatives, managers and other retail employees across the Santa Clarita Valley began bringing another holiday season to a close on Tuesday as the final wave of holiday customers arrived at their stores to make late holiday purchases and return gifts. 

“It’s like my seventh or eighth year in retail doing holidays, so I already know how crazy it could be,” said Finish Line store manager Jamaal, who declined to provide his last name. “When we get past that part of the season, it’s always like a relief, because you never know just how busy it’s going to be.” 

While Christmas Eve itself was marked by a relatively small surge in customers, the days and weeks preceding the big day saw stores across the SCV flooded with patrons. 

“I’ve just been training and expecting a busy holiday from either Black Friday and coming close to Christmas,” said Best Buy sales representative Louie, who declined to provide his last name. “It met my expectations for the amount of business is going to be in here at the store, with Black Friday being a little bit more than I expected.” 

Jamaal was working his first holiday shift at Finish Line and noticed a sharp rise in customers starting in November. 

“I didn’t expect it to be that busy because it was so slow, you know, the months prior,” Jamaal said. “But November, December, they went crazy. It went crazy.” 

Many stores also saw a high demand for specific items, such as JCPenney selling large numbers of Nutcrackers and Best Buy doing the same for gaming computers and headsets. 

“This is my third Christmas here,” said Cotton On keyholder Michelle Weideman, who mentioned her store seeing a large increase in sales for women’s pants and knit sweaters and jackets. “It feels less hectic, but our sales have gone up. So, I don’t know if it’s just that post-COVID craziness being in the past now, but it went smoother this year for sure.” 

During the hectic holiday period, company staff often relied on each for support and to ensure that each customer interaction went as smoothly as possible. 

“The team handled it really well,” Louie said of his time working on Black Friday this year. “We had a lot of associates on the floor. So, any questions anyone else had, we weren’t short-staffed at all.” 

“I got a good staff here, and we’re all on the same team and we’re all helping each other make good sales and take care of people,” said JCPenney jewelry supervisor Eric, who declined to provide his last name. 

The various employees also remarked on how the Valencia Town Center did a great job of putting everyone in a festive mood, making for a pleasant environment to work in during an otherwise-stressful period. 

“It definitely has its perks,” Loft assistant manager Lauren Davis said of working during the holidays. “Especially when you see a little kid singing throughout and walking by your store, that’s always sweet.” 

“We had the carolers outside by the tree,” said Weideman. “Everyone’s always in a pretty good mood … We didn’t have any issues with customers this year. It was definitely a different vibe, and in a positive way, for sure. 2021 was miserable, but ‘22, a little better. This year was solid. It was a lot of fun this year.”

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