Here at the SF Globe, we love nostalgia pieces. If you’ve worked retail, you’ll grimace and laugh as we walk you through memory lane in hell, (cough, cough), we mean retail.
1. The Berating Customer
We’ve all experienced it: customers who think it’s a-okay to verbally assault the staff. “You work in retail. You’ll never amount to anything. You can’t even help me find the Ketchup!” or “You can’t even make a decent cup of coffee! I asked for four hazel nut pumps and two espresso shots. This is clearly three pumps of hazel nut!”
2. Being Treated Like A Stripper
I absolutely love it when customers throw their money at me like I’m a stripper. It makes my day. I also love it when they tap their credit card on the counter when I’m ringing their purchase. Am I going fast enough for you?
3. The Best Form Of Birth Control
Do you remember when you thought kids were cute? That was before you witnessed that little girl in a deceiving flowered dress who threw herself onto the floor in aisle 9 and screamed her lungs out.
4. Oh, Are You Closing?
When a customer comes in at 8:59pm, and the store closes at 9:00pm. Am I open? What do you think?
5. Your Store Turns Into A Daycare
If you worked in a bookstore, then you also remember being a babysitting service. When I was at Barnes and Noble, I got berated by a parent who’s child tore all of the pages from a book. I didn’t realize I was supposed to put on hold the responsibilities I was being paid for to watch her child.
6. Being Appreciated For All Of Your Hard Work, What? Wait. That Happens?
After working 9 hours on your feet all day, your boss tells you that you’re not doing enough. You’re not meeting your quota. Is customer service not part of my quota? Because that’s where all my time went.
7. The Great Pay – Gap.
Don’t you just love the pay from your retail job? With all the money you make you can afford to pay your student loans, your rent, utilities, food – wait, that doesn’t sound realistic.
8. Being On Your Feet, All-Day Long
You won’t believe the disgusting things you’ll find in a women’s fitting room, unless you’ve worked retail. The protective stickers that lace the crotch of bathing suits, yup – stuck to the fitting room walls. Grosser than that, I almost puked the first time I saw a used pad lying on the fitting room floor. Dressing rooms aren’t bathrooms, ladies.
10. Mind-Numbing, Zombie-Like Slow Days
I love it when there’s absolutely nothing for me to do at work, and I can’t bring a book – or be on my phone. Those days are so much fun when I get to stand around from 9 to 5, watching the clock as it ticks second-by-second with nothing else to do.
12. When Customers Pay You In Change
Don’t you love it when customers take out a bag of change – taking the time to count it out, penny by penny, nickle by nickle? Once a customer paid $15.00 in unrolled change – at the end of my shift.
13. New Guy Trauma
Being the new guy in a retail job is great. The dirty looks people throw your way when you tell them you’re not currently hiring; regulars refusing to talk to you because they don’t know you; and being ignored when you ask someone if you can help them, only to have them find your manager to ask for help.
14. Clean Up In Aisle 10
Cleaning up anything on Aisle 10, 9 or a 1,001 is never fun, but I had the unpleasant experience of cleaning up an impressive sized pool of dog vomit in the pet aisle on my first day of work because my coworkers couldn’t handle cleaning it without almost vomiting themselves.
15. Seasonal Affective Disorder
What is the weirdest environment you’ve worked in? I worked part-time at a Halloween store one October and fake impaled bodies decorated the stock room. That was also the break room.
16. Dealing With Dirty Money
One thing I do not miss from retail work is handling dirty money that comes from the most ungodly places. Are you really pulling that twenty from beneath your sock to pay me? No thank you.
17. The Out of Stock Armageddon
All hell breaks loose when you tell a customer that what they want is out of stock or that you don’t carry it anymore. “But you had it last week. I can easily take my business elsewhere!” Please do, being rude to me won’t magically make what you want appear.
18. Being Dehumanized Feels Great!
I love being treated like a second class citizen. When I was a cashier, people would take the pens right out of my shirt pocket without asking. It was random, but also degrading. Did they not see me?
19. Returning Purchases
You don’t have a receipt? I’m sorry, I can’t *is interrupted by incessant yelling.*
20. When Working At A Clothing Store
Nothing is more infuriating than finding packages of Fruit of the Loom underwear and shirts torn open, thrown about and misplaced. Really? Must you rip it open?