From the long hours, to horrible bosses, rude customers, minimum wage, lifeless sullen eyes and overly ambitious colleagues who think you might be after their positions that pays a pathetic percentage above yours (yes, these are some of the perks of working in a retail store). If you have never found yourself in a retail job before consider yourself as one of Gods favorite kids however if you are considering pursuing a job in the in the industry please do not take this the wrong way i am just sharing both my pleasant and not so pleasant experiences within the industry.
To my surprise when i did a little research on which industry has the highest amount of smokers and people who abuse alcohol, it was not retail but the food and accommodation sector. I was startled by this new information because i have seen people smoke over twenty cigarettes in one day on their ten hour shift but obviously i have not seen the worst of it all. fortunately for me niether alcohol abuse or smoking is an issue that i have to deal with but i have worked with a couple of colleagues who cannot spend more than fifteen minutes without going for a smoke break (crazy i know). Working in a retail store is not for the faint hearted. everyday comes with new possibilities. I don’t know how many times i have walked all the way to the stockroom only to realize that i have no memory of what the customer i am assisting is looking for(the most embarrassing thing that can happen). There are days where you greet a customer and they straight up ignore you only to come back five minutes later and ask for your assistance (this is one habit that people have i would never understand). On good days you get customers who expect you to know why the prices on products have gone up since two weeks ago (uhmm, ma’am i am just an employee here i am as clueless as you are). You are lucky if you don’t get a mumbled curse after that response but of course you become immune to such as time goes by.
If there is anything worse in the world is being judged by someone who knows absolutely nothing about you. One thing i have learnt about working in retail is that people are vile. They will need your assistance but don’t want you standing too close to them, you cant be standing too far either because that way you wont be able to hear a word of what they are saying, there could be a million other customers that needs your attention but that one particular customer who hates being asked if they need assistance or being followed around might need help and when they do you obviously need to drop everything and everyone before you’re called out for neglecting them or for being too slow. Having to switch and adjust to different personalities every five minutes used to be an extreme sport but you get used to it, so much that that you don’t even realize you’re doing it. In most cases if not all, people walk in shops with the notion that they are about to receive bad service so why not retaliate before it happens but what they don’t know is that we know exactly what our jobs entail so whatever ideas you might be coming in with, you would probably have to deal with that all by yourself oh and yes we adore your beautiful rascals but they are more adorable when they are kept under control. Also if you walk in a store five minutes before closing time, yes we am very much annoyed with you and the smile you’re seeing on our faces is probably as fake as Vusi Thembekwayos fake Patek watches on Instagram (still have mad respect for the mans work though)what i actually want to do however is scream my lungs out. And also “no, i am just standing here assisting strangers and tiding up the space for banter”. “yes, i do work here.
Thank you for coming to my pep talk.