Through coming into contact with the general public more than most other jobs, those who have worked in retail know it can be one of the most irritating and trying jobs. But let’s try and put a bit of humour behind it.
Watching something you have just tidied get destroyed
Sometimes I think people do it on purpose. I’m working away putting everything in size order and keeping the floor tidy. But no go ahead and make it far worse than it was before.
“Can I speak to your manager?”
I don’t think there is any better feeling than a customer confronting you about an issue, getting an explanation, demanding to speak to your manager, and your manager repeats exactly what you said in the first place. I think the smugness is too much and satisfying to hide.
“Do you work here?”
No sorry I actually don’t work here. I just like to come into the shop in a shirt and tie with a name badge on and love to spend my spare time sticking out women’s clothes. Also happens when I walk into other shops which is even more annoying. A couple of occasions I have just pointed people in the complete opposite direction in Sainsburys for a laugh. Not sure maybe I just have a retail look about me.
Telling a customer their card has been declined
I think everyone who works in retail has a special sort of face saved for when this happens. Awkward enough.
The customer is always right = MYTH
From our first shift in retail you are always told, “the customer is always right”. I think everyone bar most customers knows that this really isn’t true. But to keep everyone happy I usually just go with the flow and agree with everything. Apart from the time a customer complained about me calling him ‘Mate’. That wasn’t cool.
When you’re about to go on your break and a customer asks for help
The part of the day you’ve been waiting for since you started your shift. Customers have other plans. I’ve never seen some people move so fast.
Customers telling you about the vouchers they left at the house
Parents letting their kids run riot
Fair enough I understand shopping is boring for kids, but at least pretend to act like you don’t want me to suffer.
When a customer forgets their receipt
The last minute “Oh here I have the 10p”
Once everything has been put through the till all GCSE Maths goes out the window and I have literally no idea what change I’m supposed to give you.
You’re closed in 10 minutes? Plenty of time!
For some reason these are always the ones who want you to do the most. Checking the stockrooms, ordering clothes, changing their mind and restarting again, leaving things down in wrong places. Please just let me go home.
Not much to say here. People are maniacs.
5p for a bag? Are you mad!
Somehow it’s my fault that bags are 5p now. Then you get the rant about how it’s a disgrace and that we are probably pocketing it ourselves.
Reading down through this it really looks like I hate my life when I’m working but I’m actually an absolute delight to be served by if I don’t say so myself!
All joking aside there are actually a lot of positives I have taken out of my 5 years working in retail. It’s a great way to meet and socialise with new people and 100% improves your interpersonal and communication skills. It has helped me experience how to keep my cool in stressful situations like sales or when complaints are put in (there’s only been a couple I swear).
Sure it can be frustrating and labourious but isn’t that the same for every job?
Oh yeah and the discount isn’t bad either!
Daniel McGrenaghan is a Final Year Public Relations student at the University of Ulster Jordanstown. He can be found on Twitter @danielmcg132