So I suppose this is a little after the fact but I was wondering what others thought...
At the coffee shop I work at, we are open every single day - that means Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day and so forth. To relay this information to customers, we put up a sign the week of the holiday that says we are open and gives the store hours (we do have limited hours those days at least).
Inevitably, there are always the customers who say "Aww you guys have to work on Christmas? You poor things!" (Yes, more than one person has actually called us "poor things.) It doesnt bother me as much when a regular customer, the kind that are in there three times a day, say this but when its the unfamiliar customer who we dont know,m I find this sort of patronizing becasue to me it seems like they are sort of rubbing in that its a holiday and most people will be at home but we will be there. Also, pretty much EVERYONE who works on the holidays does so becasue they VOLUNTEER (we get time and a half for holidays, plus we have about five people who celebrate Hannukah so they had no problem helping out on Christmas). So there really is no need to feel bad for us.
So I guess my etiquette question is: Is it rude to express sympathies to employees (sympathies that always sound sort of insincere or patronizing) about working on holidays, or am I just taking this too personal? Pretty much every time someone said it to me this year, it really rubbed me the wrong way.
Also, what is the proper thing to say back? Usually I just smiled and didn't say anything, but when some of them starting to get a little long windedabout us "poor things having to work" i would say "well most of the people wanted to work."