“I thought that it would be easy.” A customer says as I try not to show despise through my friendly smile.
I wanted to talk to you about a topic which has been bothering me for a while, but instead of just talking about this one topic, I wanted to share a collection of things which working in retail has taught me.
Retail is not easy
As you may have seen above, a customer said that to me in my first month of working.
It’s everyone’s assumption that retail is an easy job sector, but this assumption is far from being true.
Although it may not be as hard compared to working in a hospital or as a government official, it is hard in the sense that there are many rules and expectations which need to be met; as well as the customers which we are faced on a day-to-day basis.
For example, we have to ensure that we give the perfect customer experience, which not only includes being friendly but giving every customer the same deals, discounts and conversations. And if we don’t abide by those rules, we can easily find ourselves out of work.
Time goes slow
Although retail is a fast pace environment, the time does go awfully slow.
I don’t want time to go away quickly, but when your the type of person who has done everything that needs to be done, and there are no customers needed to be served, time just goes slow.
Like your waiting for death to come.
Overworked and Underpaid
When I first started retail, I was so happy to receive my first paycheck as a school student. I could buy my own clothes, save my own money and buy my own food.
But, similar to every other job sector, such as hospital nursing and a nursery nurse, retail is a job sector which gives low hourly rates.
Luckily, I am only a student and have my family to support me, but when you have bills to pay, such as rent, car bills and other essentials, the hourly rate doesn’t cover a lot compared to higher-paying job sectors.
This made me feel even more worst seeing my colleagues being paid less than they should, especially for what we deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Consumerism is a big problem
This is something which I strongly agree with.
Despite it being nice buying the latest fashion trends or updating your home every year, sometimes a few simple essentials are better than buying a bulk of stuff.
After working at a homeware store for a year, I realised how much consumerism is a major problem, especially during the Christmas period.
Sometimes, it’s okay to have a few clothing essentials, such as those two pairs of jeans and simple black and white T-shirts. It doesn’t mean that you have no fashion sense or have no money to spend, but it just makes you more aware of your environmental impact.
Life is too short
Although it’s an overused cliche line, it is somewhat true.
After seeing customers on a daily basis shouting at us simply because the latest homeware item is not in stock, or because a food item will take another 20 minutes to bake. It made me realise how much people take things too seriously nowadays, over simple things which are out of our control.
That’s why, if you are working in a retail store, never feel ashamed or humiliated when a customer shouts at you. Just smile and remember that they cannot leave the store with their item until you have served them.
If you are reading this section, please don’t shout at store colleagues, because most of the time problems are out of our control, and we are all human at the end of the day.
That is the end of this post, but you can read more content on my blog here.