WHAT’S the best thing you watched this year?

Maybe it was It’s a Sin, Succession or Bo Burnham’s Netflix special Inside.

You could also make a good case for literally everything Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini did at Wembley on the night of the Euro 2020 Final.

All valid choices, but there’s only one contender for me.

Scott Seiss.

You probably don’t know his name and, in fairness, I had to google “moustache TikTok Ikea guy” to find it out for this article.

Back in April, the comedian and former Ikea worker went viral with a series of videos skewering the attitudes of shoppers.

Instantly becoming a godlike figure for anyone who’s ever worked in retail, New-York-based Seiss gave voice to the honest answers we’ve all thought but had to push down within ourselves in order to make it to our next payslip.

READ MORE: Adam Miller: Think you could handle call centre life?

In one video, he responds to a hypothetical customer asking him to “just check in the back” by saying: “Can you just accept we don’t have it? The back ain’t some magical place.

“What do you think is back there, Santa’s workshop? The only thing back there is a clipboard with our schedules and some brownies Darcy brought in.”

For anyone who’s had the simultaneously character-building and soul-destroying experience of working in retail, this is highly relatable. Like Wayne Campbell of Wayne’s World, I had an extensive collection of name tags and hairnets.

In my time working for Asda, I would often be asked if we had a specific item “in the back”.

The answer was almost always no, because if it was in stock it would be “in the front”.

After I’d checked in the warehouse and confirmed that their obscure Mr Kipling Bakewell tart spin-off was unavailable, they would roll their eyes, tut and turn away before telling their friend at a volume loud enough for me to hear that “I guess I’ll have to take my custom to TESCO”.

A hammer blow for 20-year-old me, who spent eight hours a day pushing cages purely out of love for the company.

Two million years of human existence, evolution and discovery and what do we have to show for it? Priti Patel and middle-aged people sneering at minimum wage workers in supermarkets.

Actually, Priti Patel is almost certainly a middle-aged person sneering at minimum wage workers in supermarkets.

You can learn everything you need to know about someone by watching them interact with service staff, and December is the World Cup, Glastonbury and new Adele album of finding out you’re related to a d**k.

If you’ve waited a while to be served at a bar, guess what? It’s Christmas. It happens.

There’s no need to give the bar staff grief, particularly when they’ve been on their feet for six hours in a hot, sweaty, cramped, windowless environment.

When you do get a chance to order your round, at least mention the Guinness first.

Also, if she’s young enough to be your daughter, don’t shout “did you know Kirsty MacColl died in a boating accident?” over Fairytale of New York.

She knows. She knew it when a different 50-something guy came in last night and told her, and she’ll know when her own dad mentions it during Christmas dinner.


If you’re angry about a product not being in stock and feel like you have to complain, tag the company online.

The 19-year-old Asda shelf-stacker had nothing to do with that decision, and he’s got enough on his plate after hearing Paul McCartney declare “the moon is right” and “the spirit’s up” for literally the 24th time this week.

When a complaint gets enough traction on Twitter, the company have to address it.

If you shout at a 19-year-old in a shop about granary bread, you’re just an idiot shouting at a 19-year-old in a shop about granary bread.

This being winter, there’s a chance your train could be delayed or cancelled. Berating an assistant at Central might make you feel better, but you’re making someone else’s day that much worse while achieving precisely nothing.

Just type “more like ScotFAIL lol” on Facebook and stare at the five or six likes coming in while you wait for the train.

Ruining an underpaid worker’s day won’t get you served quicker, make your food taste better or resolve a signalling problem 30 miles away.

It is, however, going to make your family hate you or your date start planning their excuse for going home early.

Your tantrums and passive-aggressive gestures put the people you’re with in an awkward position. They’re mortified by you, but the employee you’re abusing now thinks the worst of your companion based on the fact that they’re associating with you.

This month, workers in pubs, shops, restaurants, train stations and beyond are commuting – during a pandemic – to low-paid jobs where they serve customers who refuse to respect their personal space, who talk down to the people serving them, then go home and post #BeKind.

The least you can do is make it through Christmas without someone you’re out with having to say “I’m so sorry about him”.