I started my first retail job when I was 17 and coming from an apprenticeship wage I was so happy with the pay increase. All was fine and dandy at the time, I had the most amount of money out of my friends as they all stayed on at sixth form and I was able to go on holidays and purchase my own things so I felt pretty good.
However, I soon realised that it was not all it was initially cracked out to be for the following reasons!
Employees are undervalued by their employers– in larger stores the turn around of staff is so fast and quite frankly if you do not want to work there , there are another ten people who will take your job.
Employees are undervalued by the customers- I have had many experiences where the customer I am serving has not used their basic manners ‘thank-you’ ‘please’. Instead it is “get me this in size ten”. Some times I would try to say hello to customers and they would just blank me=/
The customer is always right- No the customer is not always fucking right! Some customers are absolute wankers and they try to squeeze everything out of you before they leave because they know that some companies will lick the bottom of their shoes to keep their customers happy.
Undermined- Don’t you just hate it when you’ve been given clear instructions in the staff meeting in the morning to follow a certain protocol. For example, ” we have a special give away if you spend more than £125. It is strictly one per customer irrespective of separate transactions” . GOT YA!
Later on you are serving a lovely customer and when you get to the till and they have racked up money to get 7 free items (but of course, it is one per customer). What was once a lovely customer quickly turns into the wicked witch in a matter of minutes when you tell her it is strictly one per customer. You stand there until you are blue in the fucking face saying “its one per customer, that’s our policy”. She says she wants to speak to your manager. You swoop into the office, explaining the situation to your manager. They come out to the customer all lovely and say ” We will do it for you this once” ARE YOU JOKING ME??? what was the point of the team meeting this morning?? I could of had another 15 minutes in bed because quite obviously the team meeting was a load of bullshit! Then you have a smug customer in front of you thinking that I am the jobs worth when in actual fact you couldn’t give two shits about the fucking give away, take them all!!
Stepping stone- People that hear you are working in retail think it is just a stepping stone or a bridging job. People do forget that some people build life long careers within retail.
Unsociable hours- I was always the one on the weekends coming straight from work, dreading work in the mornings after a heavy night, working bank holidays and around Christmas time and usually on my birthday!
High expectations- Your managers expect the world from you. You get paid barely the minimum wage and you are expected to stay an extra 15 minutes after your shift has finished, come in to work extra hours at the drop of a hat, have some sense of responsibility for the companies takings when really you are just a drop in the ocean and the owners don’t care or know who you are.
Lunch breaks- You are expected to eat as fast as you can so you can return to the shop floor and over busy periods such as Christmas a lunch break is an absolute myth!
Invasion of personal space- For some reason, when you serve customers, they think they can touch you. Sorry mate, get your filthy hands off of me.
Holiday- Your holidays are restricted, no holiday during the Christmas period. I get that, I honestly do. But if you work in retail you know that the Christmas rush does not start at the beginning of bloody November. I have always had to work my birthday as apparently there are no exceptions (I am a Scorpio).
Calling in sick- If you ever call in sick, you are hounded down by what feels like ten guard dogs. “Have you been to the doctors about your diarrhoea?” Erm No, its the shits and probably because I drunk my body weight in jagermeister last night!
Nothing is safe- You can no longer have your socials open! Fuck the thought of you managers snooping through your stuff to find clues about your last sickness!!!
Customers get way too familiar- Customers return to be served by you. Wicked. Extra commission for me. But honestly, just because you have shopped in here does not mean you are eligible for discount.
Closing time- Don’t you just hate it when you are about to close in five minutes and a customer walks in. No one approaches, we all hope that they are gonna sense that she is ignored and leaves quickly lol.
Customers think you lie- A customer comes in a day before a busy event (mothers day, valentines) and requests the most popular item that is sold. Only to find out it sold out three weeks ago. They ask if there are any out the back and when you reply that there are not they genuinely think you are bullshitting.
Never thanked- You work your absolute arse off, irrespective of how you feel towards the company and the customers, you’ve come in extra days and have worked all the days in the week but you never feel it has been enough. Retailers always want more and more and more yet they never thank you. Never appreciate that you are at work instead of putting your children to bed. I think that retailers have the wrong mentality. They think that you need them. Yet I think that actually they need you just as much, if not more! How would their stores run without you all.
People who are currently working in retail, you deserve to be treated nicely and fairly . You work very hard and are shown little appreciation.
Stand up for what is right!