Things I Wish I Knew Before Working Retail

For some reason, retail always looks like such an easy job. But in reality, it’s nothing close to being easy. NOTHING. I remember when I was younger and every time I’d walk into a retail store, I’d think about how cool it must be to work there. And honestly, I blame TV for making me, and a lot of other people think that way. Yes 6teen, I’m talking about you.

6teen you’ve deceived me// Source: GIPHY

6teen made me excited to work retail. That show made me want to find my dream job in the mall, to work behind a huge booth serving lemonade in the tackiest uniform ever, or be okay with getting fired from job to job. It made it all look fun.  Emphasis on made it look fun.

We were catfished by our retail jobs. Our retail jobs made themselves look pretty, made us want to work, spending all our free time with them. They lured us in. Then after a couple of weeks, they smack us with the hard truth: all the bullshit that comes along with the job. After those few weeks, you see how fake the job is; hiding its true identity from you. Now that’s low.

Thinking back to when I first started working in retail and comparing it to what I know now, I wish someone could have warned me what I was signing myself up for. There are so many things that people never talked about and I really wish they had.

No need to call me Superman, but I’m here to save someone’s day! Here’s some of the things I wish I knew about retail before I said “I do” and committed to a long, torturous relationship just for the money.

 I wish I knew How Rude Customers Actually Are.

Source: GIPHY

It’s sad to say that meeting a customer who is genuinely polite is extremely rare. Customers take advantage of the fact that we, retail workers, have to be nice to them. It doesn’t matter how nice you are to a customer, if they’re not happy with the service or are having a remotely bad day, they will take it out on us. You can follow the rules perfectly, give the most amazing service, but they will still treat us like punching bags. It’s like customers want to make us feel stupid and worthless because as some may see it, we’ve lowered our standards by working in retail.

I Wish I Knew How Much Lying is Involved

They’ve turned us into liars! // Source: GIPHY

If you can’t lie on the spot, or learn how to twist the truth in your favour, retail isn’t the place for you. Before working in retail, I always thought that when an associate told me about the product or told me that they were out of stock, there was a good chance that they were lying. It sounds horrible, but at times, twisting the truth is needed. I’d rather tell a customer that we’re out of a product, when it shows we have two on hand, but I know those two are long gone. It saves us from getting yelled at by the customer for not being able to find the item they wanted, saves us from the headache of all the customer complaints, and gets us away from them sooner. Sometimes little white lies don’t hurt.

I Wish I knew How Demanding Retail Actually Is

Source: GIPHY

Like I said before, retail isn’t what it looks like on TV. We don’t get to stand around for hours, twiddling our thumbs doing nothing and get paid for it. One retail worker basically does the work of five employees. We’re supposed to help customers, answer calls, do price checks, clean the department, do stock, put up labels, and do all the other tedious tasks that’s we don’t have time for. We’re lucky if we even get to breathe at some points because it gets too overwhelming.

I Wish I Knew That Working in Retail Meant You Needed to Know Everyone Else’s Job Too

Source: GIPHY

When it comes to retail, you don’t just work in your department, you work everywhere. Customers will pull you to other departments, demanding your help, and you have no choice but to help them (well you do but the outcome isn’t so nice). Next thing you know, you’re bullshiting the difference between two blenders based off what you read off the boxes and hoping it sounds believable enough to make a sale. You have to fake it until you make it, and if not, pray you can find another employee to pawn the customer off to.

Retail is brutal, especially when you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s either a hit or miss experience and usually it’s a miss because people aren’t prepared. It’s not as simple as helping customers and standing around and looking pretty. It’s a lot of mental, emotional and physical work. And if you’re not prepared for it, then hopefully after reading this post it’ll give you some insight to what I wish I knew when I started retail.

Please like and comment some things you wish you knew when you first started retail! We’d all love to hear!


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