Being a writer doesn’t really pay the bills at the moment, so I work a beautiful hodgepodge of jobs in order to pay the bills including a part-time retail gig (as my mum once said to me “paying the bills isn’t a sin,” I also think the whole starving writer look isnt cute on me so there’s that as well). Here are just some of the things I have learned (or realized) working retail.
Working retail is so much more than standing behind a counter and ringing people up. I am also responsible for restocking, pricing, making sure the dates on the food are still good, keeping clothing sorted, the sweaters folded, the shop clean as well as inventory and customer service. Please don’t read that as complaining, because I’m not- I love being busy with lots of different jobs to do through out my day.
Wear good shoes. I am as MASSIVE fan of my Chelsea boots, however when I know I’m going to be working an 8hr day I reach for my sneakers and good socks. Seriously, I tried to wear Dansko clogs because everyone and their mother wears these but I nearly crippled myself after two days because it just wasn’t the right choice of footwear for me. I have a colleague who wears heels, I literally don’t know how she does it but moral of the story is wearing comfortable shoes is crucial to not crawling back to your car.
Don’t be lazy, pack your lunch. Sure, there have been days where I was running late and had to buy my lunch from one of the restaurants near our shop. And while it’s nice to treat myself once in a while, it eats (no pun intended) up time from the 30min lunch break. Honestly I’d rather have a seat and enjoy a meal that I’ve already paid for.
Retail will teach you patience. I once spent nearly 45 minutes with a customer helping them find all of the items they were looking for, they then took the time to find me and hand me the basket stating that they didn’t want to get any of these things and walked out the door. I’ve also had people throw the items they want to purchase at me, or wander off in the middle of a transaction. The key to it all is deep breathing and keeping a running monologue narrated by Bernard Black in your head.
Working Black Friday is a right of passage. It’s like a baptism by fire, and if you’re lucky enough to work in a store where you like who you work with then it’s not so bad (I am luckily surrounded by incredibly supportive coworkers). I actually loved working Black Friday because I was busy busy busy all day.
You learn a lot about people, and how assumptions are not really a good thing. I’ve learned a lot about how people take one look at someone and make assumptions, I’m super guilty of this when someone walks into the shop and they’re decked out in designer clothes and a designer handbag dripping with jewelry. Most people won’t give me the time of day, some people see me working in the shop and assume that I don’t know anything. I’ve learned a lot about how we make assumptions in half a second and how they aren’t always true, honestly working this job has taught me to remain more open to people.
You get really good at tallying up numbers in your head.
You have a whole new respect for people who work retail. Everyone I work with works part-time, none of us work at the shop full-time. It’s amazing, we all have very different lives but each one is as full as the next. I work with a painter, a mother of a new-born, a college professor, a designer, etc. I love spending part of my week connecting with such varied and talented people.
You can’t let the little things get to you. It really bothered me when I’m ringing up a customer’s purchase and they won’t look me in the eye, or when I would extend my hand and they would slide the card over on the counter, or even just plain rudeness. I just have to remember to ask myself WWJD- What Would Jinxy Do? #wateroffaducksback
If I can be so bold, especially this time of the year, please remember to be kind to the retail workers who you interact with, make eye contact, thank them, heck even smile! Thank you for reading my post, I hope you enjoyed the change of pace for today 🙂