Currently it is 5:15 in the morning and I have not slept even a wink from the previous night. Working two retail jobs is slowly, but surely, taking over my life. Though exhausting and sometimes irritating, I’ve learned a lot from working with the public in a retail setting. I believe everyone should give retail a try at least once, because you truly won’t understand it until you’ve done it. With that being said, here is what I have learned from working in retail.
1. Not everyone is a kind person. Do not take it personally.
I go into one or both of my jobs everyday and do my best to be nice and helpful to customers out of pure sincerity. You could be the most helpful, wonderful employee in the world and there will always be someone who treats you worse than dirt. At first it might come off as shocking, but unfortunately it is a part of life that you will just have to get used to. This is a great experience, however. Nothing will teach you to be a kinder person in everyday life more than being treated like you are below standard.
2. Remain calm in stressful situations
Hell hath no fury like impatient customers. More often than not, retail stores are understaffed for the amount of people they cater to. If there is a large sale going on with only two registers and three employees, there is bound to be delays. Unfortunately, people want attention and they want it now. It is important to remain calm even if the line is out the door and each customer has the look of death. If this is their worst problem in life, they have it pretty good. Keep calm and scan on.
3. Some customers will never be satisfied (and that’s okay!)
Between how the store looks, or the amount of products you carry, or if you’re similar to me and work in food also, someone will always have a problem somewhere with something. I know it seems annoying, but it is a part of the job. Doing your best to be as kind and considerate as possible makes a huge impact on your character, even if it goes unnoticed by the customer. Don’t look for anyone to praise you, 9 out of 10 times nobody will notice how hard you’re trying. It is vital that you try your best anyway.
4. Effort is important
Though some might think retail work is menial, it ensures a great work ethic, people skills, and job experience. So while even if it seems mindless to constantly ask customers for a rewards card, or ask if they need help, or even dusting a shelf; it all means something and it is important to always take pride in the work you put forth. One day it’ll all be worth it.
So don’t for a single second thing that your job doesn’t matter. It absolutely does. You should be undeniably proud of what you are doing. Being a productive member of society is never a bad thing! Good luck and never give up.