Have you ever heard of the saying, “there’s no such thing as a stupid question?” This saying obviously doesn’t apply in retail, because some of the questions that are asked, are on a whole new level of stupid… and I’m talking, Cash Me Outside level of stupidity. Each day you enter your retail job, and every single time you walk through that entrance, you wonder how many brain cells you’re about to lose when you hear the infamous “Do you work here?”
Now, I understand that retail uniforms are diverse, but please bear with me and close your eyes and picture your work uniform (or previous one). Yes, uniforms vary, but you can instantly point out an employee just as quick as scarfing down a 10 piece McNugget combo… and in majority of cases, really damn fast.
I, personally, have the pleasure (not really pleasure) of working at Canadian Tire. And as many Canadian’s would agree, us, Canadian Tire employees have a distinct uniform. But, for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, please feast your eyes (or shield them) on this trendy outfit:
For the past year and a half, I have learnt a couple of things about our company’s uniform. Firstly, the red shirts are just as obnoxious as Donald Trump, in your face and ugly. Next, the black dress pants that we have to wear don’t help balance out the shirt, it just makes Canadian Tire workers look like moving stop signs. Thirdly, I should be lucky we upgraded from the crusty red button up tops that could easily be compared to a boy scout uniform. If CT workers still had to wear them, someone should just pass me a sash, badges and some camping gear from aisle 82 and I’d be set. And lastly, the only excuse a customer should have if they are able to miss the shirt, is if they’re colour blind… and even then, the attention whore of a shirt will find a way to show its flamboyant colour (a.k.a no one is safe). As I was saying …
But, I get it, some uniforms are misleading. Your store may not give you the unwanted pleasure of rocking an atrocious mandatory uniform. Some companies let you wear whatever you want with some guidelines, or you’re told to wear the stores clothing from head to toe. Before working at Crappy Tire, I had a seasonal job at Victoria’s Secret. Compared to the uniform I wear now, I was told to dress like a fashionable widower, all black all the time. But, some retailers like to follow what I like to call the “50/50 logic”, an illogical concept, where you keep half your paycheck and give half of it back to your employers, just to buy their clothes. This is where uniforms become tricky.
Even with a recognizable uniform on or not, all us retail workers are doing the same thing; working. We are organizing, tidying, merchandising, selling, stocking and forcefully trying to remember to smile at every customer that is within 5 feet from us. We are working to get paid. We are working because we need to, not because we want to. If customers see someone constantly fiddling around with merchandise, wearing a name tag, stocking and looking like they hate their lives when alone, they are 99.9% working, not being a good person.
After making it as evident as we can that we are here working, slaving away for our minimum wage pay checks, why must customers have to stare us down in our soulless eyes, during a grueling shift and ask “do you work here?” It’s like asking Beyoncé if she thinks she’s bootylicious. Of course, she does!
Well my dear friends, let me list some of the possibilities as to why I think customers can’t see your Beyoncé in a world of Kelly’s, why your name tag is the most irrelevant piece of identification to them.
- A Confidence Boost: Walking in the aisles more confused than a person with amnesia, they need to mask their confusion with a statement that confuses you, so in return they look like the smart ones in the situation.
- A Reaction: The dead face you give them ignites an inner tingling deep within.
- Cult Logic: They believe someone, who doesn’t work at that store will be willing to live, breathe and die for the store.
- Fashion Trends: The Canadian Tire uniform is the new black. Alert the media, Walmart vests will be hitting the Yeezy run way this spring.
- Target Practice: By bypassing the hungry employees waiting for their prey to enter the store and make commission, they stealthily slip by the vultures and pick on the weak looking. They intend to hit you with the unthinkable, keep you on your toes.
- Discovering a New Talent: By ignoring the uniform and name tag, they know you’re meant for greater things, they know you can become the next Houdini, the first great eye roller. Now you see them, now you don’t!
We must encourage customers, even beg them to think before they speak. If they need help, they just need to ask, if they have a question about something, just ask.
I’d rather be the girl with no name, then be asked if I work here, when it is more obvious then Kim Kardashian’s butt that I do. In all honesty, the motivation level to help, plummets drastically, making us, retail workers dread whatever obvious and unnecessary questions that are going to be asked.
This is the year of realizing things, and hopefully customers will realize that they are able to save their breath, our mental breakdowns and the dry tension, by just asking any other question then “Do you work here?” when trying to get our attention.
Have you ever encountered the infamous “Do you work here?”, if so leave a comment down below describing your encounter with the dreaded question and how you handled it!