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An industry that doesn’t acquire much of a skill, retail experience is on people’s CV in one way or another. One in four people has experienced the soul-sucking industry in a given year. Between fashion, grocery, furniture and pet care, it’s understandable that the industry will change the way you view the world and people living in it. Unfortunately, it took almost two years of my life, an optimistic view that slowly turned into a heart filled with hatred for the human race. If you want to test how much of an extroverted person you are, then try working in retail for a year.
Working in retail was a result of the desperate need to avoid gaps in employment history and money to sustain me while searching for a job that will pave my career path. It was the perfect option to work part-time, make money and pursue my creative passion. A non-commital job that won’t require much from me, only to mind my business, get my job done then go home to continue my daily routine. Within those two years, I’ve learnt ways to pick my battles, argued with customers, put co-workers and managers that step out of bounds in their place, and learnt to put my mental health first.
Now that I am out of the toxicity that’s retail, I’m going to talk about my experience coming across the sociopaths, compulsive liars that roam the earth. In retail, you tend to see it all.
You’re Not Right, Asshole
One of the quickest things I gauged working in retail that’s true is the self-entitled people that demand respect in the guise of ‘Customer is always right’. Everyone that has worked in retail or service job know that this is further from the truth. And that motto needs to change. There have been cases of the customer acting rudely towards staffs for following policies and sometime will escalate to threatens and violent. To which I feel like the government need to have laws in place that protect workers that are forced to tolerate the abhorrent behaviour. Calling the security and “banning” them, a term I’ll use loosely, from the store or mall is not enough. It should carry a prison sentence.
No one in the world is that important to override basic human decency, and respect. Using the ‘customer is right’ as a way to look down on workers is the worst way to make yourself feel better.
Change In Policies
One of the major issues I have with the retail industry is the constant change in policies. The changes have a massive implication on the workers that have to deal with customers who are used to some rules, only to be upset that they won’t be able to return an item a certain way or at a time frame. It’s a frustrating situation to experience. Carol, Sharon and other customers that demand to see the manager, the employees don’t make the rules, the HQ does. You have a complain to make about the changes write them via email or phone. Don’t start yelling at those trying to make money and juggle life. You imbecile.
Women Are Dirty!
The fitting rooms are the best place for workers to take breathe from customers and gossip, and for shoplifters to get their five-finger discount, but it’s also the worst place. In this area, I’ve seen used pads and tampons on the floor and pee in a bottle. I can’t fathom why people think that the fitting room is their second living room to leave waste on the floor, the number tags and hangers, expecting you to clean up after them. Some don’t bother to hand the clothes instead they leave it. When asked they utter the ‘isn’t that your job” well the clothes didn’t take a slow romantic walk into the room, you put them there. So bring them back out.
Payment and Returns
There should be a strict rule with processing huge returns twenty minutes before closing. It’s time-consuming and slows down the recovery time for the workers. I am aware that life gets in the way which enables you not to return your items, bringing them after the return date policies won’t guarantee a full refund without the receipt. Or if it’s not in a returnable condition. It’s best to sell clothes on Depop. The worse offenders are those that have worn the outfits on nights out to return the items smelling of body odour, alcohol, smoke and perfume demanding full refunds, quit it. We can see through your bullshit. Don’t even bother arguing to wear down the managers.
At the store I worked, the communication between managers and the workers are poor. I’ve had instances of putting managers that step out of bounds with me in their place. The manner and tone of which they speak to the staff member are degrading and downright unacceptable. You’re expected to work a lot for minimum wage especially when understaffed, a frequent reoccurring issue in the store. If the managers can’t get away with treating you like a slave, be prepared to have a target on your back.
Because of the high stock loss, they always feel like most of the staff are culprits. So mandatory search takes place frequently. It got to the point that I would go in to work with nothing but my phone. The senior managers walk around with an air of arrogant, ignoring other workers unless you’re part of their clique.
The free uniforms and 40% discounts that staffs receive every 6 weeks?
The retail is like high school, and it’s not an environment you want to get stuck in especially when you’ve outgrown the petty shit. I believe in work hard, play hard and get recognised. If you’re expecting a work-life balance in this industry, you’re in for a rude awakening. Perhaps, I should turn this into a series or have a depth talk on my channel. What are your thoughts?