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Things learned while working retail

January 18th, 2013

1. People suck. Some folks feel they can say anything to a service worker they feel is beneath them. One person, angry over the denied use of expired coupons, told a co-worker that her sweater would look better on someone who wasn’t so fat. Another person commented that a co-worker, who was in a horrific car accident several years ago that required complete reconstruction of her face, would be pretty if she would just fix her wonky eye. A customer told me, after I couldn’t give her a teacher discount card because she had no proof of employment as a teacher, that maybe if I had stayed in school and listened to my teachers I wouldn’t be working at SchmoAnn’s at my age. (Me with my 19+ years of education who is still paying off my student loans – I laughed.) Who says those kinds of things?

2. People are awesome. I’ve seen folks share coupons, advice, and stories in the long Christmas line. I’ve been on the receiving end of heart felt thank yous and smiles that made my day brighter.

3. There is a special place in hell for people who don’t put things back on the shelf where they found them. I used to be headed there but I like to think this experience has paid up my karmatic debt. We literally spend HOURS daily putting things back because someone couldn’t be bothered to put it back where they found it. You want to know why prices are high? The payroll required for putting stuff back is part of it.

4. A smile and honest attempt to be helpful really does go a long way. I already knew that because it is what I want when I go into a store but it is amazing how most (rational) folks can be calmed by someone just stopping and listening to what they want and then making an honest effort to help. Even if ultimately we can’t help, they were heard and someone cared.

5. Coupons rock. Seriously. Check for apps for all of the stores you shop in. It is worth downloading that app at SchmoAnn’s.

6. Stores put shit on sale a tiny bit so that you can’t use the big value coupons. That expensive thingy you want? It is on sale 10% off so that you can’t use that 50% off any non sale item coupon. Yes, it is done on purpose. They plot that shit out carefully.

7. They also price shit high just so they can put it on sale. The day the spring inventory came in, it was marked 30% off. It will never be full price.

8. Employee discounts are pretty puny. I can do better with coupons.

9. Women can be more disgusting than men. It blows my mind the things I see in our public restroom. It also makes me retch sometimes. I can’t wrap my brain around anyone doing that in public.

10. Pinterest was started by one of the crafty store corporations. I can not tell you the number of times in the past 3 months someone has said to me “I saw this thing on Pinterest…”

11. I’m a chatty cashier. Who knew? I don’t particularly like chatty cashiers. I want you to ring up my stuff then let me go home. I don’t want to bond. But being a cashier if pretty freaking dull so chatting with people is really the only way to entertain myself. Plus, I’m always curious what they are doing with that strange assortment of items. So I chit chat while ringing people up. If they don’t respond, I stop but I’ve had some great conversations.

12. The amount of money women in my town spend on purses and wallets exceeds the GDP of most third world countries. The coaches and dooney’s and prada and louis vuitton and michael kors and fendi and chanel and kate spade. It is ridiculous what we ladies spend on purses. (Yes, I include myself because I love me a classic coach or dooney and bourke…I can’t help it.) And women carrying a $2000 Louis Vuitton and wearing $20K in diamonds will fight HARD over saving $2 with her coupons.

13. Comfortable shoes are the secret to a happy life if you work retail.

14. Glitter really IS the herpes of the craft world.

15. Mommy guilt SUCKS. Tessa cries when I go to work and asks me not to go. Sabrina says she has bad dreams when I’m not here when she goes to bed. While it has been nice to have days where I am not a human kleenex, it isn’t worth the tiny amount they are paying me to miss out on so much. I have worked every Saturday and Sunday (except those we traveled north) since I was hired. That is so much time away from the girls and Steve. I just can’t justify it. So, my short career at SchmoAnn’s will be ending in the coming weeks.

16. Boys buying fabric for a toga party are hilarious. And clueless. And full of hair product.

17. It is hard to curb my smart ass ways for 8 hours. Do you know how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue and nod when someone has looked at me stocking a shelf, wearing my SchmoAnn’s apron and name tag and asked “Do you work here?”

18. Working retail at 40 is way different than working retail at 18. Nothing a customer says bothers me. Nothing (bad) that happens sticks with me. I’ve never had a bad day at work. I do my job to the best of my ability but then I go home.

19. Be nice to a cashier. We can be A LOT more helpful (and sometimes have extra coupons tucked away) for those folks who are kind. I never give bad service but I am not inclined to go the extra mile if you are growling at me.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 18th, 2013 at 10:31 am and is filed under Misc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Things learned while working retail”

  1. Yo-yo Mama Says:

    From working retail, I learned when I’m getting good service and when it sucks and I am so appreciative of the more rare good service.

    Just today I was in a well-known department store in the boys’ department looking for some jeans. They had two tables stacked two piles deep and 10+ jeans high, all different styles, colors and sizes. When I asked if there was some kind of order to the tables, the clerk just said “I don’t think so! *giggle*” I worked as a clothes retail clerk when Levi jeans were at their peak (early 90s) and there was a wall of jeans that as the supervisor, I made sure was IN ORDER by size and style, and my staff was responsible for it in my absence. Today it was like going through a table at a rummage sale. I deliberately tore the table apart.

  2. heather Says:

    Yes…to every single thing on this list!!

    And I had thought that working “mall retail” was the worst, but then I went into fancy stationery/paper & let me just tell you, Mothers of the Brides are totally crazy (and can scream for days)!

  3. Brigid Says:

    Great list.
    Every once in a while I decide I might need to get a “more regular” job other than freelance and once-a-month gigs, and I mentally debate between retail and restaurant work (both of which I’ve done my fair share.) Then I go into a store or a restaurant and see the people I would be serving and I decide I need to get more free-lance work… There’s something to be said about clocking in and out, though.


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