Holiday jobs: Stores' fervid fans ready for blue-collar Christmas

Polly Kruse worked as a seasonal worker at Williams-Sonoma in Denver in the 1990s and was drawn in large part by the 40% discount that applied to all of the company's divisions, including Pottery Barn.

"I would definitely work in retail again," she says. "Not only did I walk away from the job with some great discounted merchandise, but I was able to learn a lot about cooking and entertaining. Not a lot of retail stores allow you to transfer your skills from work home with you and apply them to everyday life and vice versa."

The Container Store is one of them. Close to half of the full-time staff described themselves as regular customers, which the retailer believes is one of its keys to success.

"Customers are our greatest evangelists and ambassadors," Priest says. "Recruiting is one big public relations opportunity."

Ever been a department store Santa? Worked a Black Friday? Wrapped or stocked amid the biggest crowds of the retail year? Tell us about your part-time holiday job experiences.

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