Lessons in Retail

This holiday season, I had the opportunity of working seasonally at one of the major retailers.
They shall remain nameless but if you know me, then you already know. They experience was a brand new world for me. I had never worked in retail. Hell, I had never even worked on a cash register in my life. I have always worked in an office environment. From my high school job until now, I’ve always been a corporate drone. Outside of the cafeteria in college and my work as a reporter, I’ve pretty much been in a chair for most of my career.

The best thing about that is that I’ve never had to really interact with customers. That all changed the first day I started at let’s call it PlayMart. I quickly learned the top rules everyone should know in order to survive as a retail associate.

Rule # 1 Retail Associates Don’t Know Everything

We don’t know everything. You have no idea how many people were mad at me because while I was working in the accessories department, I didn’t know what was on sale in the men’s department. Listen. I don’t know. Also, no I don’t know what 20% off your total purchase is. I’m not a mathematician. I can ring you up and let you know. I can’t add up your total purchase and in the discount in my head. I’m not a damn accountant.

Rule #2 – Customers aren’t always Right. As a matter of fact, they aint shit.

Y’all ain’t shit. No for real. Y’all ain’t shit. The customers have the worst attitudes. How are you already pissed off before you get to the register? On Christmas Eve, a lady told me to piss off. I simply told her to have a Merry Christmas. Had we been in the streets, it would’ve been a different story.

Rule #3 – Just because you found a shirt on a wrong rack doesn’t mean it’s on sale.

If you have questions I can’t answer, I will gladly call a manager. I don’t have the time because you have a question about a wrong sign. Just because you find a shirt on the clearance rack & when we check the price and its full price, that doesn’t mean we’ll give it to you for the percentage off. It just means that someone put it on the wrong rack. BUT if you were nice enough, you can receive that discount. If you have a nasty attitude, you could also receive a discount or get shut down by a manager.

Rule #4 – The Managers ain’t Shit Either.

Some of the managers ain’t shit. I’ll preface this by saying that some of the managers work really hard. But some of y’all aint shit and will gladly walk around the store watching everyone else work. I guess they figure “Hey, I put in my work. Now you have to.” Yeah. Y’all aint shit.

 Rule #5Obviously, Wear comfortable shoes.

My feet hurt. The first day I was there, I had a 4 hour shift. I wore heels. Big mistake. That was my 1st and last day wearing them. Not like I’ve never been in heels for several hours but that was different. Even when I didn’t have on heels, my feet were sore. I can see why so many older women working in retail have issues with their feet when they’ve been working in retail for 20+ years. I’ve been sitting down for at least 10 hours a day for 2 ½ years. That’s 8 hours of work plus the 2 – 2 ½ hours of sitting in traffic each day. With the exception of the gym and walking to the car or bathroom, I’m literally never on my feet. My dogs barked the entire 6 weeks I worked there.

Rule #6 – Remember Your Purpose

If you were a seasonal worker like I was, it’s important to remember your purpose. There’s no need in getting upset at anyone or acting a fool. I was there to do a great job and earn some extra money. I didn’t let anyone else’s attitude get in the way of that. I came to work and that’s what I did.

Mission Accomplished

My goal going into my seasonal job was to make extra money for several reasons. Reason #1: My car has been acting a fool lately. It’s been something wrong with it every week. I literally saw my mechanic every week in the month of November. That’s my car’s daddy.
Reason #2: Bills- I was behind on several bills and medical bills, it was ridiculous. Reason #3: Savings- Because of reason number 1; my savings had dwindled down to almost nothing. That’s never good. You always have to have a little something for emergencies. As it often happens, shit could get real. I’m happy to say that my car is still up and running, I’ve caught up on all of my bills, paid off nearly all of my medical bills and my savings is back to looking like a savings account instead of the remaining link card balance at the end of the month.

I think I neglected to say that I enjoyed retail. Even though my feet hurt, you’re tired as shit working late nights after working all day, being overworked and underpaid, I still enjoyed it.  There were many times where customers were genuinely grateful for my help and service. I was very happy to provide it. I’m definitely open to working in other retail positions part-time.

If you hear something, let me know.  


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