This summer is my first time working in retail, and let me tell you, it is not a walk in the park. There are angry people, there are crazy people, and there are not enough hours in the day nor ounces of patience for me to please all of them. I’ve been a retail shopper since I could walk, and probably even before that, but being on the other side for the first time has taught me a couple things. There are some things I will never do again now that I’ve worked in retail, like:
1. Put something back on a random shelf. Yes, I know where the Benefit mascaras go. No, I do not appreciate having to put one back because you shoved it on a shelf with the OPI nail polishes.
2. Spray ALL THE PERFUMES. I used to be so bad about this. One time at Bath and Body Works, I sprayed so many on my own arm that I needed more smell space, so I sprayed like 20 on my sister’s arm and caused her to break out in hives. Now, I curse the people that cause me to suffocate every time I wander by the fragrance aisle. Karma smells like a huge cloud of Katy Perry’s newest fragrance.
3. Complain when people ask me if I need help twenty times. It turns out, retail people are told by their bosses to check up on people. It’s not our desire to take you out of your shopping zone every five minutes by asking if you need anything or stalk you so we can sell you things.
4. Complain when register service is slow. There is probably someone ahead of you in line that has asked to exchange five things, wants to use fifty coupons, and refuses to pay in anything but arcade tokens. Please be patient. We are actually trying as hard as we can.
5. Ignore those stupid receipt surveys. I get my name circled on our break room bulletin board with a smiley face every time I get good reviews, and I get super excited when that happens. Or at least I will when that happens (no one has written in to sing my praises yet). If we were awesome, please tell us. You will put a smile on a short blonde girl’s face for a whole hour, and that’s worth five minutes of your time.
6. Fail to appreciate small lengths of time. I look forward to my 15-minute breaks like I’d look forward to a vacation in Jamaica. Fifteen minutes seems like two hours of bliss when you have been on your feet all day. I’ll never look at the clock and say “I only have half an hour…” because half an hour is actually forever in retail time. In a half an hour I can drive to Subway, order the exact same sandwich I always order, eat said sandwich, and sprint back to work.
7. Buy any more black business casual clothes. Where I work, we’re only allowed to wear solid black or solid white tops, with no patterns allowed. Do you know how bored this makes me? My wardrobe cried when I found this out. I had to actually go buy solid black things. Nope, never again. I will be embracing bizcaj color in all future jobs. You don’t know what you have ’til it’s gone.
8. Bring my children into a store if they cannot behave. I haven’t actually done this yet, seeing as I don’t have any children, but I will never, ever do this. I get that you want to shop, but please do not bring your five-year-old to run through our store and knock things off of all of the shelves. I think the reason why that is totally unacceptable speaks for itself.
Have you worked in retail? What are some things you’ve learned?